On Wednesday, the Arizona Coyotes snapped a six-game losing streak, beating the San Jose Sharks 5-2. It should have been one of the high points of the season, but late in the third period Clayton Keller went awkwardly into the boards and broke his femur. As a result, the Arizona Coyotes will be playing without Clayton Keller for the first time since April 8th, 2017.
So while the Coyotes will be going into tonight’s game with some momentum after a win, they will also be without their best forward.
Arizona has seen several injuries to important players, including one of the Coyotes’ top penalty killers Lawson Crouse. But as we have seen throughout this season, an injury can be an opportunity for a player vying for a spot next season to show what they can do.
Recent injuries have given opportunities for several players to get called up from the Tucson Roadrunners to show what they can do. Jan Jeník had his first two goals of the season playing in his second game of his call-up playing with Phil Kessel, and Barrett Hayton and Travis Boyd showed phenomenal chemistry on Hayton’s seventh goal of the season.
Tonight will be a tough one for the Anaheim Ducks. They played last night in Dallas and dropped their 11th straight game with a 3-2 overtime loss. Anaheim’s last win came on March 6th when they beat the San Jose Sharks 3-2 in overtime.
Anaheim is an interesting team because, at one point, it looked like their rebuilding was progressing fine. Previously, they were winning some games, and the Pacific Division is notoriously weak this season, so it looked like they may be able to squick in.
But a losing streak has seen them drop to the second to last place in the Pacific Division ahead of only the Seatle Kraken. They have the same number of points as the Coyotes’ opponents from Wednesday, the San Jose Sharks, but have played in two more games and have two fewer wins.
Players to Watch
Arizona: Phil Kessel - After the Coyotes’ last game, Kessel went straight to check on Clayton Keller. Before showing what a great person Kessel is, he had two primary assists on Jeník’s goals. The Coyotes need everyone to stand up with Keller out, and Kessel seems like the player who will answer that call.
Anaheim: Kevin Shattenkirk - Shattenkirk had a goal for the Ducks yesterday, his eighth of the season. He also comes into tonight with a two-game point streak, having recorded an assist in the Ducks’ previous game against the Stars. This season, he has a goal and an assist in two games against the Coyotes.
Arizona: Lawson Crouse (hand), Christian Fischer (lower body), Jack McBain (ankle), J.J. Moser (upper body), Jakob Chychrun (lower body), Clayton Keller (leg), Antoine Roussel (lower body), Liam O’Brien (upper body), Andrew Ladd (lower body), Dmitrij Jaškin (lower body), Conor Timmins (knee)
Anaheim: Adam Henrique (undisclosed), Jakob Silfverberg (leg), Max Jones (pectoral)
Tonight’s game will be in Arizona at 7:30 pm Arizona time and will air on Bally Sports Extra and 98.7 FM.