The Arizona Coyotes went to Canada one last time this season last week, and the results were not encouraging. The Coyotes were outscored 16-2 in two deflating defeats.
Right now, the Coyotes’ biggest problem is the second period. The Coyotes gave up four goals in the second period against the Canucks, and six goals against the Calgary Flames. It has been a trend all season, but you can practically set your watch by it now.
More than anything else, the Coyotes need someone to step up. The Coyotes can get their first goal, but they struggle to get their second, and they have scored three goals once this month, and that was in overtime.
Equally important, the Coyotes will need to find some way to respond when giving up goals. It has been an issue all season, but injuries have exacerbated the problem, and the Coyotes continue to give up multiple goals in a short amount of time.
Unfortunately, the Coyotes may be short another player tonight. J.J. Moser missed the end of Saturday’s game with a lower-body injury, and it is currently unknown if he will be available tonight. Moser had recently returned from an injury, and he hopefully won’t miss too much more time.
The one thing you can say about the Coyotes right now is there are plenty of opportunities for players to show what they can do. And we have started to see that a little, with Jack McBain getting his first NHL point against the Calgary Flames. Things are definitely bad for the Coyotes right now, but they can make a game competitive if they can string a few good shifts together.
The Carolina Hurricanes are currently on top of the Metropolitan Division as of this preview. The Hurricanes and the Rangers have played 76 games and have 104 points, but the Canes have 42 regulation wins compared to the Rangers’ 41.
But you wouldn’t necessarily know that looking at their April. They have lost their last two games, falling 7-4 to the Colorado Avalanche and 3-0 to the Detroit Red Wings. They have also dropped games against the Anaheim Ducks, New York Islanders, and Buffalo Sabres, teams you would expect them to beat.
The Hurricanes may have struggled recently, but they still have some highly skilled players. They have two 30+ goal players in Andrei Svechnikov and Sebastian Aho and have the league’s best penalty kill.
Carolina has plenty of familiar faces for Coyotes fans, including Derek Stepan, Jordan Martinook, Tony DeAngelo, and Max Domi. But the player who may make the most significant impact tonight may be Coyotes’ old netminder, Antti Raanta.
With Frederick Anderson currently down with a lower-body injury, Raanta has played the last two games for the Hurricanes. He dropped those two matchups, but he has a 2.44 goals-against average this season, and a .913 save percentage. Raanta can make some big saves, and if he does get the start expect him to want to show what he can do against the team that let him walk this past offseason.
Players to Watch
Arizona: Nick Ritchie - Ritchie had his 11th goal of the season against the Flames, his second point in three games. The Coyotes don’t have a lot of offensive weapons, but Ritchie has shown that he fits well with André Tourigny’s system, and hopefully, he can get on the board again tonight.
Carolina: Jordan Martinook - Former Coyotes have had the Desert Dogs’ number all season, and Martinook had an assist in the Coyotes and Flames’ first matchup. He had a primary assist on Aho’s 35th goal of the season in the Flames’ last game against the Avalanche.
Arizona: J.J. Moser (questionable, lower body), Clayton Keller (leg), Lawson Crouse (hand), Christian Fischer (lower body), Jakob Chychrun (lower body), Antoine Roussel (lower body), Liam O’Brien (upper body), Dmitrij Jaškin (lower body), Conor Timmins (knee)
Carolina: Jordan Staal (questionable, upper body), Frederik Anderson (questionable, lower body)
Tonight’s game will be at 7:00 pm Arizona time and will air on Bally Sports Arizona Extra and 98.7 FM.