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Coyotes Game 52 Preview: Coyotes return home for Valentine’s Day matchup

Mandatory Credit: Matt Blewett-USA TODAY Sports

Game Preview

After two losses on a brief road trip, the Arizona Coyotes return home tonight to face a division rival. The Coyotes are likely out of contention for a playoff spot, but there is no reason not to try to finish the season on a high note and give the fans at home something to cheer about.

The Coyotes fell in overtime against the Nashville Predators then lost 5-3 to the Philadelphia Flyers. Both goals saw the Desert Dogs give up three unanswered goals late in the game, securing their defeat.

Arizona has had problems playing a full 60-minute effort, and they seem to be getting worse as the season progresses. Maybe it is because the off-ice drama is getting to the players, or maybe other teams have just found another gear that the Coyotes can’t access. Either way, it can lead to some genuinely disheartening defeats.

While the Coyotes have been dealing with a losing streak, the Wild have strung together an impressive number of wins. They haven’t lost since returning from the All-Star break, beating the Chicago Blackhawks (2-1), Pittsburgh Penguins (3-2), and Golden Knights (5-3).

All three matches were relatively close. The win over the Golden Knights was the only two-goal win and featured a late empty net goal from Eriksson Ek.

Two of the three victories saw the Wild net a power play goal, which isn’t surprising. The Wild don’t have the best power play in the league, but they don’t have the worst. Converting 20.% of the time and ranked 16th in the NHL, the Wild’s power play is thoroughly average, but clearly, it can get the job done.

Also not surprising the Wild have given up two power play goals in the past three games. The Wild’s penalty kill is awful. With a 74.3% success rate, they are tied with the Montréal Canadiens for 29th in the league. You would almost expect the Wild to give up more power play goals, but that could be an area that the Coyotes exploit tonight.

But the big thing the Coyotes need to focus on tonight is staying out of the box. Penalties have been a persistent problem for the Yotes, including in their two losses on the road. Even when they don’t directly affect the game, allowing your opponents to build momentum is not a great idea. 

Players to Watch

Arizona: Clayton Keller – Keller had three assists on the road trip and has registered a point in every game since returning from the All-Star break. When these teams met in January, he had two goals and an assist.

Minnesota: Matt Boldy – Boldy had a three-point night against the Golden Knights and a two-point night against the Penguins. He has 38 points through 45 games this season and is on his way to another impressive season with the Wild.


Arizona: Travis Boyd (pectoral), Troy Stecher (lower body)

Minnesota: Caedan Bankier (Achilles), Marcus Foligno (lower body), Sam Hentges (undisclosed), Pat Maroon (back surgery), Jared Spurgeon (various)

Puck Drop

Tonight’s game will be at Mullett Arean with a 7:30 p.m. start time. It will air on Scripps.

Talking Points