The Arizona Coyotes’ point streak came to an end last week. The Coyotes had been playing exceptionally well this month, but last Wednesday, they ran into a ready Calgary Flames who promptly beat the Coyotes 6-3.
Wednesday’s game was an inverse of the recent Coyotes game. They allowed an early goal in the first period only to mount a comeback in the second period and fall in the third.
The Coyotes fell against the Flames thanks partly to too many penalties and a horrible penalty kill. The Coyotes took five penalties, already a bad start, and gave up three power play goals. All three came after the Coyotes had taken a 3-1 lead, including the first goal of the comeback and the eventual game-winner.
The Coyotes have struggled with both aspects of their game all season. Arizona averages 10 minutes and 50 seconds of penalty time per game, the seventh most in the NHL. They also have the eighth-worst penalty kill, which is not an ideal combination.
But Wednesday’s game wasn’t all bad. They managed a rare power play goal, and any game where they hit the three-goal mark is good. Clayton Keller, Nick Schmaltz, Juuso Välimäki, and Matias Maccelli all registered points, and they are the players you want generating offense even during a tank season.
With 62 points in 56 games, the Nashville Predators are currently eight points out of a playoff spot. They have a few games in hand compared to the teams in front of them, but they aren’t likely to make up that difference.
And the Predators know that and have adjusted accordingly. They already sent Nino Niederreiter to the Winnipeg Jets for a second period, and it looks like their roster is mostly available for trades.
The Predators switching to sell mode may be a recent move, but it isn’t due to any recent poor play. On the contrary, they have been good since they last played the Coyotes’ on the 13th, with a 3-2-0 record which saw an impressive 7-3 win over the Florida Panthers. The other two wins were against the lowly San Jose Sharks and Vancouver Canucks, but they fell against teams above them, like the Minnesota Wild and Boston Bruins, so selling is still probably the best move.
While the Coyotes’ got their butts kicked when it came to special teams in their last matchup, the Predators had a solid game against the Sharks. They had two power play goals and a short-handed goal on the way to a 6-2 win over San Jose, but it should be noted Niederreiter had two of the goals, including one of the power play goals.
Players to Watch
Arizona: Clayton Keller - Keller had a goal and an assist in the Coyotes’ last game and comes into tonight’s game riding a three-game point streak. He had two assists the last time the Coyotes and Predators met.
Nashville: Mikael Granlund - Granlund had two goals and an assist in the Predator’s last game and had a goal in the previous game. This season isn’t one of his best, but he does have 34 points in 56 games and had an assist the last time these teams met.
Arizona: Josh Brown (upper body), Shea Weber (ankle), Bryan Little (ear), Andrew Ladd (knee)
Nashville: Ryan Johansen (leg), Filip Forsberg (upper body), Alexandre Carrier (upper body), Mark Borowiecki (upper body)
Tonight’s game will be in Arizona with a 5:00 pm start time. It will air on Bally Sports Arizona and on 98.7 FM.