Even though their homestand ended with a loss to Philadelphia, the Coyotes have been on a roll lately. Winning five of their last six, they have a winning record – a change from last season’s start.
This upcoming road trip will help them catch up in the standings with their Pacific Division peers.
The last road trip the team had helped build momentum that they’ve carried into the homestand. If they can repeat their success on the road from last time, they can come out in a good position.
11/8 at Philadelphia Flyers
11/10 at Pittsburgh Penguins
11/11 at Washington Capitals
11/13 at Detroit Red Wings
Players to Watch:
Claude Giroux (PHI): 17 P (6 G, 11 A)
Closing out their series against the Flyers, the Coyotes face them two days after their first matchup. One of the league’s best faceoff teams (54.9 percent), Giroux leads at 105 wins this season. The captain was named first star in his previous victory over the Coyotes.
The penalty kill unit for Philadelphia has not been successful – only 63.1 percent of penalties were killed at home. They also lead the NHL in power play goals against (17). Arizona’s power play isn’t the best on the road either (20 percent). They need to take advantage of this to improve in this area.
Evgeni Malkin (PIT): 20 P (7 G, 13 A)
Pittsburgh’s offense is their biggest asset right now as they’re tied for the league lead of 3.75 goals per game.
Arizona seems to be the Pacific opponent that Malkin does the best against. His 20 points against them (6-14) top his totals against other Pacific teams. This season, he’s off to a good start and is ranked in the league’s top four in scoring. He also has one of the best averages for points per game (1.54).
The Penguins are among one of the few teams to surrender three shorthanded goals this season, which is good news for the Coyotes. Their seven shorthanded goals give them a nice edge over the rest of the league.
Evgeny Kuznetsov (WAS): 18 P (6 G, 12 A)
The Coyotes penalty kill unit will face the top power play unit in the league. Washington leads the NHL in power plays (36.6 percent), and is even better at home with 12 goals this season (48 percent). The biggest threat on their unit is Kuznetsov, with six of his seven power play goals scored on home ice. Kuznetsov leads the team with ten power play points, tied for best in the league. Arizona’s top road penalty killing unit paired with Washington’s top home power play unit is a matchup worth watching for.
Dylan Larkin (DET): 15 P (6 G, 9 A)
This season is not off to the best start for Detroit, but they’re slowly improving. Detroit’s offense has scored 11 power play goals this season (four at home). They also rank ninth on the power play (25 percent).
Larkin’s consistency and multipoint games have allowed him to lead the team in scoring. Even though his goal scoring is better on the road, Larkin’s passing improves at home. The team’s 18 goals in seven home games puts them at 2.57 goals per game. Arizona’s solid goaltending can take care of Detroit’s offense at the end of the road trip.
Arizona’s Top Performers:
Clayton Keller, the usual suspect:
Keller is once again leading the team in scoring (5-5-10) and in game winning goals (2). The center’s also had a point in each of the last four games. In his career, he’s performed slightly better on the road, so expect him to not disappear in this four-game trip.
Antti Raanta, saving grace:
One of the key reasons to Arizona’s recent success lies between the two pipes. Raanta ranks among the top goaltenders in wins (5), goals against average (2.10) and save percentage (.929). He survived his toughest test yet when he faced the Carolina Hurricanes at home and had 48 saves, a career-high. Not allowing any goals in overtime showed that he can win close games.
Michael Grabner, shorthanded maestro:
As mentioned above, Arizona leads the lead in shorthanded goals with thanks in part to Grabner and Brad Richardson. Grabner’s performance this past homestand included an overtime winning goal vs. Carolina and two shorthanded goals vs. Tampa. The veteran has stepped up in close games, giving a great example for the young team.
Arizona was the first team to score a shorthanded goal in four consecutive games since the New Jersey Devils in 2011-12… The last time the Coyotes won five in a row was in 2013-14 when they were the Phoenix Coyotes… The team had not been .500 or better since 2015-16…
*Stats are accounted for 11/7
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