On the road, the Coyotes found the back of the net in each of their games and won their first game in regulation. Their improvement against Central Division teams is the shift that the Coyotes needed. Against Minnesota, Chicago and Winnipeg, they scored eight goals in that span.
In their 5-3 loss to Winnipeg, they made one of their best comeback efforts of the season. Down 3-1, Clayton Keller scored twice in the third period to make it a one-goal game. They eventually lost their chance on an empty net goal from Blake Wheeler, but their efforts showed a change from the beginning of the season.
Their homestand features mostly Eastern Conference that will give them a challenge at home.
10/25- Vancouver Canucks
10/27- Tampa Bay Lightning
10/30- Ottawa Senators
11/2- Carolina Hurricanes
11/5- Philadelphia Flyers
Players To Watch:
Bo Horvat (VAN): 6 P (5 G, 1 A)
The center scored in last two games vs. Winnipeg and Boston. Horvat also has the seventh-best for faceoff wins at 88. In comparison, Derek Stepan, Arizona’s top center, only has 66. Arizona has the edge as a team in faceoffs, winning 52.9 percent of draws versus Vancouver’s 47.2 percent.
Anton Stralman (TB): 3 P (1 G, 2 A)
Good news for Arizona: Tampa Bay’s offense ranks nineteenth, the lowest out of their home opponents. The bad news is that Stralman, their scoring lead on defense, is part of the league’s top penalty-killing unit. The Lightning were perfect through 29 attempts and surrendered their first power play goal last night at Chicago. While Arizona has scored a few power play goals already, this is a big test for their offense.
Chris Tierney (OTT): 9 P (2 G, 7 A)
The former San Jose center knows his former Pacific Division opponent well. In 17 games vs. Arizona, he totaled seven points (4 G, 3 A) and is a plus-nine, tied for the best against all teams. Ottawa’s second line cannot be underestimated with their contribution of eight goals to the fifth-ranked offense.
Sebastian Aho (CAR): 13 P (4 G, 9 A)
The young right winger leads Carolina’s offense and has scored in all eight games this season. His best performance so far was at Minnesota where he scored the game-winning goal in overtime and collected four points. Arizona can catch a break on the power play with Carolina ranking last on the penalty kill (65.4).
Wayne Simmonds (PHI): 7 P (6 G, 1 A)
Philadelphia’s offense is ranked third in the league partly from Simmonds’ start. Another thing to look out for besides the right winger is the top-ranked face-off unit (56.9). Both Stepan and Dylan Strome need to step up to not allow the Flyers to put more pressure in their zone.
After a slow start for the Coyotes offense, key players like Keller have come back. The center leads the offense with five points in seven games after scoring his first goal vs. Chicago last Thursday. Against Winnipeg, Keller logged his season-high minutes (23:09) and scored two goals with four shots on goal.
Even though he does not have a goal yet, captain Oliver Ekman-Larsson has still found his way on the score sheet. The defenseman leads with four assists. If he scores a goal against Carolina, it will be the first against that team in his career. Carolina, along with Pittsburgh, are the only teams he has yet to score on.
The penalty kill remains one of the top in the league (88.2) and suffered their first goal before going on the road. The team ranks second against penalties on the road and is continuing their success.
While the Coyotes can kill power plays, they still struggle on the power play. Their two power-play goals tie them for the worst in the league. If it helps, they cannot draw as many power plays as other teams can. Their struggle in this department will be tested against teams that do not have good numbers on the penalty kill.
The Coyotes will face tough opponents at home, but their strengths from the recent road trip will make them competitive.
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