The Arizona Coyotes enter tonight’s game with a surprising amount of momentum. The Desert Dogs are undefeated in March, having beaten the Colorado Avalanche, Ottawa Senators, Detroit Red Wings, and, most recently, the Toronto Maple Leafs. But things aren’t going to get tonight as they face off against the Boston Bruins.
Thursday’s game against the Toronto Maples continued a recent trend we have seen lately, a high offense Coyotes. So far, the Coyotes have averaged 2.54 goals per game, yet they have averaged 7.33 goals per game in their last three games.
Part of the Coyotes’ offense is likely because of the goaltending competition they have been facing, but the team, in general, is playing a lot better. They have gotten a lot of luck (the Jakob Chychrun and Alex Galchenyuk goals against the Leafs both saw a lucky bounce), but they are also making their own luck. The Coyotes are going hard to the net, their passes are crisper, and they seem to have fully bought into Head Coach André Tourigny’s system.
But will that be enough tonight against the Boston Bruins? The Coyotes have done a good job at catching their opponents by surprise, and the other teams think it will be an easy win and give up a few goals. But that can only work for so long, though, at a certain point, someone will catch on that you need to take the Yotes seriously.
With only 24 games left to play, it’s safe to say that the Bruins will make the postseason barring a spectacular collapse. They are currently fourth in the Atlantic Division and are 20 points ahead of the 5th place Detroit Red Wings and 14 points ahead of the fifth-placed team in the Metropolitan Division, the Columbus Blue Jackets.
It’s not hard to see why the Bruins are finding success this season. They have a decent offense, do not give up many goals, and have great special teams.
Boston allows the fifth-fewest goals per game, allowing on average 2.69 (nice) goals per game. The last time they played the Coyotes, they allowed just one goal.
The Bruins’ offense is nothing to sneeze either. Boston comes into tonight’s game having scored four or more goals in three of their five games this month and have been kept to two only once. The Coyotes aren’t the only ones who have had recent high offense nights either; Boston ended February with a 7-0 win over the Los Angeles Kings.
Boston also has a top-five power play, converting 25.3 percent of the time. Their penalty kill is less effective, but it is 11th in the NHL, 20 spots higher than the Coyotes’ penalty kill.
Players to Watch
Arizona: Nick Schmaltz - Schmaltz was quieter against the Maple Leafs, only recording one assist, but he comes into tonight’s game with 13 points in his last four games. He also had the Coyotes’ lone goal against the Bruins the last time these two teams played.
Boston: David Pastrnak - Pastrnak had two goals and an assist in his last game and currently leads the Bruins with 33 goals in 58 games.
Arizona: Christian Fischer (questionable, undisclosed), Antoine Roussel (lower body), Liam O’Brien (upper body), Andrew Ladd (lower body), Johan Larsson (hernia), Jay Beagle (lower body), Dmitrij Jaškin (lower body), Conor Timmins (knee)
Boston: Matt Grzelcyk (questionable, illness), Urho Vaakanainen (undisclosed), John Moore (upper body), Jakub Zboril (knee)
Tonight’s game will be at 5:00 pm Arizona time and will air on Bally Sports Arizona and 98.7 FM.