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Coyotes Game 51 Preview: Coyotes return from break and host the Wild

The Arizona Coyotes return from their break to host the Minnesota Wild.

Arizona Coyotes v Minnesota Wild Photo by Bruce Kluckhohn/NHLI via Getty Images

Game Preview

The Arizona Coyotes needed a break in the worst way. The Coyotes played 15 games in 26 days last month, including multiple back-to-backs. So it’s no wonder they were 3-11-1 in January.

Arizona did look to start to turn things around before the week-long break. They were 2-1-1 in their last four games, including wins over the Vegas Golden Knights and St. Louis Blues.

Unfortunately, they are facing extremely tough competition in their first game back. The Coyotes haven’t had a winning record against the Wild since the 2018-19 season, and the Coyotes have only beaten them twice in the last two seasons.

Making the night even more challenging, the Coyotes will be without rookie Dylan Guenther, who was re-assigned to the WHL yesterday. In his place will be Jean-Sébastien Dea, who has been having a great season with the Tucson Roadrunners. He has 19 goals and 18 assists in 46 games in Tucson and may have a chance to show what he can do tonight.

After beating the Coyotes midway through January, the Wild had a decent two weeks. They were 3-3-0 over six games, beating the Washington Capitals, Philadelphia Flyers, and Buffalo Sabres.

The Wild are currently third in the Central Division, but they are not in a position to ease up. The Colorado Avalanche and Calgary Flames are both one point behind the Wild, and they don’t have an easy month.

The All-Star Break gave both teams a significant amount of rest, but the Wild were hot before play stopped. They won back-to-back games, beating the Flyers in overtime and the Sabres in the shoot-out.

Special teams were a big part of both Wild wins, which could be a problem for the Coyotes. The Wild have a stellar power play, ninth in the NHL. They scored a power play goal against the Coyotes in their last match-up, and they have scored a power play goal in every game since then.

Players to Watch

Arizona: Nick Ritchie - Ritchie had a goal in the Coyotes’ last game and two assists in the previous match against the St. Louis Blues. He comes into tonight’s game with nine goals and 12 assists in 47 games, on the way to what could be the best season of his career.

Minnesota: Kirill Kaprizov - Kaprizov comes into tonight’s game riding a five-game point streak, which saw him register two goals and five assists. He had a goal the last time the Coyotes and Wild met and notched a goal and two assists in the first meeting between the Coyotes and Wild.


Arizona: Shayne Gostisbehere (upper body), Liam O’Brien (upper body), Bryan Little (ear), Andrew Ladd (knee)

Minnesota: None

Puck Drop

Tonight’s game will be in Mullett Arena with a 7:00 pm start. It will air on Bally Sports Arizona and 98.7 FM.