NHL planners have done the Arizona Coyotes a disservice this season. Little did they know that the Coyotes would start their season with a 0-7-1 record, but they had to know this road trip was going to be tough.
The Coyotes didn’t look bad against the Capitals on Friday. They did a good job narrowing the capitals chances and getting a phenomenal goalkeeper from Karel Vejmelka. But unfortunately they couldn’t attack and were excluded for the second time this season.
Arizona have improved their penalty shoot-out numbers. The Coyotes’ penalty shoot-out has been a major weakness this season, and while killing five out of six penalties will improve their numbers, it’s not a good strategy for winning games.
The one power play goal they gave up would ultimately prove to be the game winner for Washington. It also destroyed any offensive energy the Coyotes might have built and was a big part of helping them defeat 32-16.
The coyotes have to find a way to put it all together. If they can have a decent offensive, a solid goalkeeping lead from Vejmelka and a solid penalty shoot-out, they should get away with two points. But who knows how long it will take them to find a way to put it all together.
The Carolina Hurricanes have been a good team for a while, but they were unreal at the start of the season.
It’s a bit of a surprise how well the Hurricanes are playing this season given the tumultuous off-season. The Hurricanes caused some furore, including a rarely-seen Jesperi Kotkaniemi bid sheet, but they didn’t ignite the world.
Gone is Alex Nedeljkovic, who finished in 23 games with 1.90 goals against average and 0.932 save percentages in 23 games, and the former coyote Antti Raanta. Dougie Hamilton left the team as a free agent and is replaced by another former coyote, Tony DeAngelo.
But somehow that resulted in a perfect 7-0-0 record at the start of the season. Carolina recently faced the Boston Bruins and Chicago Blackhawks in a back-to-back, knocking out the Bruins 3-0 and beating the Blackhawks 6-3.
Unfortunately, for the Coyotes, part of Carolina’s success is due to their specialty teams. You are fourth in the league on power play (29.6%) and seventh on penalties.
Player to watch
Arizona: Barrett Hayton – People weren’t sure if Hayton was ready for this calling, but he’s looking good so far. He had an assist for the goal from Lawson Crouse, but otherwise has no offensive effect. But his line looks great and hopefully he will be rewarded today.
Carolina: Sebastian Aho – Aho had a goal and assist in the last game at the Hurricanes and has scored a point in every game he has played this season.
Arizona: Nick Schmaltz (questionable, not known), Carter Hutton (lower body), Conor Timmins (lower body), Ryan Dzingel (upper body), Alex Galchenyuk (upper body), Kyle Capobianco (lower body)
Carolina: Nino Niederreiter (questionable, lower body)
Today’s game is another early game and starts at 10:00 AM Arizona time. It airs on Bally Sports Arizona and on ESPN 620AM.