The Coyotes will be playing the Wild for the next three games.
The Arizona Coyotes left Colorado having earned three out of a possible four points. Considering the issues the Coyotes have had when playing against the Colorado Avalanche, it was a great result.
In practice, not so much. The Coyotes looked unprepared for the Avalanche, especially in the last game where they were outshot 46-14.
But there is nothing they can do about that now. The Coyotes are going to need to focus on tonight’s opponent, the Minnesota Wild.
These two teams have met twice, and we have gotten widely different results. The Wild won the first game 5-1, only for the Coyotes to bounce back and win the following day 5-2.
Arizona had an issue starting on time with both games. The Wild scored first, and the Coyotes didn’t get their first goal until after the first period. Slow starts and inconsistency have been an issue for the Coyotes, sometimes they can overcome it, and sometimes they aren’t.
The best part of the Coyotes’ game in their last meetings with the Wild, and their previous game against the Avalanche, may have been their penalty kill.
This should hopefully hold true tonight, as the Minnesota Wild has the worst power play in the league. They can score decently well, and the 75 goals they have scored in 24 games puts them at 16th in goals scored. But they are terrible with the man advantage, converting only 7.9% of the time.
Goaltending is also going to be a huge factor in tonight’s game.
The last time the Coyotes split their starts, Darcy Kuemper getting one game, and Antti Raanta getting the other. With Kuemper sidelined with injuries the team is going to be relying on Raanta more, although Adin Hill may get some starts.
Minnesota also split their starts. Kaapo Kahkonen was in net during the Wild’s win, while Cam Talbot started the game that the Coyotes won. Kahkonen gets more starts, 15 compared to Talbot’s 10, and has the better goals-against average (2.19) and save percentage (.922).
Players to Watch
Arizona: Tyler Pitlick – Pitlick had the lone goal in the Coyotes’ last game and has been playing his best hockey since arriving in the desert. He has three goals in his past three games.
Minnesota: Joel Eriksson Ek – Joel Eriksson Ek was a big part of the Wild’s last game, a 4-3 win over the Vegas Golden Knights, where he had two goals. The first was scored 19 seconds into the game. He leads the Wild with 10 goals this season.
Arizona: Darcy Kuemper (lower body)
Minnesota: Ryan Hartman (lower body), Marcus Johansson (upper body), Marco Rossi (upper body)
Tonight’s game will be at 6:00 pm Arizona time and will air on Fox Sports Arizona and Fox Sports 910 AM.
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