After two scoreless games to start the season, center Dylan Strome’s goal 17 minutes into their third game changed that. His power play goal led to the first win of the season, and it took the obvious pressure off the Coyotes.
Not only was that goal important for the Coyotes, but it also showed Strome’s offensive contributions to the team so far. Arizona currently has 146 shots on goal in four games and have outshot their opponents in every game, including their last contest against the Buffalo Sabres where they finished with 36-23. Even though Buffalo finished with three goals to Arizona’s zero, there are still signs of positive direction.
Strome helping the struggling offense in the first four games is proof of that.
More Ice Time
Strome’s increased ice time this season has shown a positive result. In their only win so far, the center logged his career-high time on ice (17:28). In that span, he dominated in face-off circles and scored on the power play. Against Buffalo, he was on the ice less (15:46), but shot a season high of three.
The Coyotes have had great puck possession this season and that is due to their success in face-offs (53.3 percent). Strome leads the fifth-ranked team in face-offs at 38 wins (66.7 percent), which is a good change from his previous season (43 percent).
Another thing to note was he won five out of his six face-offs vs. Ryan Kesler in their first victory this week. Kesler has a career 55.5 win percentage in 943 NHL games.
Strome is usually placed on the second power play unit, but joining the first unit proved to be a payoff for the Coyotes.
To prepare for this opportunity, the center watched video on another popular young center in the game: Auston Matthews. Matthews prefers to score on his forehand side and Strome worked with Tocchet to design the play that brought the Coyotes’ offense back to life.
So far he’s scored the lone power play goal for the team, but his contributions on the ice can help change that with more games.
Stepping up when the team needs him most is a good example that other players need to follow to get the offense going.
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