The Arizona Coyotes are currently in a bit of a slump. They have been outworked and outplayed their last few games and are now riding a five-game losing streak after dropping their game last night against the Winnipeg Jets. But they did steal a point in that matchup, so maybe things are starting to look up for the Desert Dogs.
Though they didn’t get the outcome they would have liked, the Coyotes’ game against the Jets showed improvement in some key areas.
They were perfect on the penalty kill, killing both Winnipeg penalties and limiting them to just one shot on goal with the man advantage. Compare that to last Friday’s game, when they gave up two power play goals to the Calgary Flames, and how the Flames used those goals to establish control over the game.
Last night, Winnipeg was the better team, but the Coyotes didn’t give up complete control. After two okay periods, the Coyotes responded with a tremendous third period, tying the game up and outshooting the Jets 11-8 in the final frame. The Coyotes need to find a way to play like that for a full 60 minutes, but they have shown this season that they won’t go down without a fight.
After playing the number one team in the Pacific last Friday, the Coyotes will face off against the number three team tonight. The Edmonton Oilers are 6-3-1 in their previous ten games and could move up or down a spot before the season is over.
The Oilers have been in a weird situation for the past couple of seasons. They have two of the best players in the world in Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl, but they have nothing to show for it. Both players have over 90 points already, but the Oilers are still far from a lock to win anything this season.
But two players isn’t enough to win a championship, and the Oilers still have a lot of gaps. The team made the smart move of acquiring depth players like Brett Kulak and Derick Brassard at the deadline instead of going all in, but the Oilers will need to figure something out moving forward.
After the Flames beat the Coyotes on Friday, they went on to rout the Oilers with a 9-5 victory. It was the fifth game this month where the Oilers have reached five goals, which should make the Coyotes nervous considering their recent problems scoring more than two.
Players to Watch
Arizona: Nick Schmaltz - Schmaltz continues to pick up points and had an assist on Nick Ritchie’s goal to give him points in his last three games. Last night, Coach Tourigny experimented with Schmaltz, Ritchie, and Clayton Keller on a line, and it will be interesting to see if that sticks moving forward.
Edmonton: Leon Draisaitl - Draisaitl had three goals and an assist in the Oiler’s loss against the Flames, and he has six goals in his last three games. He had two goals and two assists in one game against the Coyotes this season and was held pointless in the other.
Arizona: Christian Fischer (lower body), Jack McBain (ankle), J.J. Moser (upper body), Jakob Chychrun (lower body), Antoine Roussel (lower body), Liam O’Brien (upper body), Andrew Ladd (lower body), Dmitrij Jaškin (lower body), Conor Timmins (knee)
Edmonton: Josh Archibald (COVID-19)
Tonight’s game will be the final game on the Coyotes’ Canadian road trip and will air at 6:30 pm Arizona time on Bally Sports Arizona, SN1, SNW, and 620 AM.