With two shutout losses to start the season, the Coyotes want to end the early speculation of their season with a win, or at least a goal.
Even though they are the final team in the league to score, there are still some promising things for them.
Antti Raanta‘s performance so far
In his first game against a hot Dallas team, he allowed three goals, which is understandable considering Dallas has converted eight goals in two games on only 60 shots.
Other than that, Raanta’s four goals allowed is below the league average of six. In his most recent game, he earned second star honors for stopping 19 shots and registering a .950 save percentage. His performance so far is keeping the Coyotes in the game, which is all that they need from him.
Penalty kill is good
The Coyotes have killed all four of their penalties, which is not a big number to celebrate, but that shows their discipline from last year carried over.
The penalty kill unit killed two opportunities against Dallas, one of three teams tied for the second best power play percentage in the league (42.9). Anaheim was limited to only 3 shots on goal on two opportunities. The Coyotes had a few shorthanded opportunities in that game vs. Anaheim, but could not capitalize on them.
Can’t blame the offense for lack of trying. Derek Stepan leads the Coyotes with 12 shots, ranking him tenth in that category for the league.
With 71 shots on goal in two games, the offense is spending more time in the opposing team’s zone than average (62 shots). Though their efforts are not in the right place of the score sheet, they looked better in their previous game and can be on the verge of an offensive breakthrough.
Defense is where it’s at
While the offense is struggling, the Coyotes can thank their defense for remaining solid. Opponents were only allowed 45 shots against, while the rest of the league is at 61.
Captain Oliver Ekman-Larsson ranks sixth in the league for time on ice per game (26:01) and leads the team’s defensemen with five shots on goal. Other honorable mentions on defense are veterans Alex Goligoski and Jason Demers, who both contribute with blocked shots and big minutes on the ice.
The power play is a focus area for offense
Six opportunities are not a big number, but one of those awarded them a six-on-three chance. In that opportunity, there were three shots on goal and one missed shot.
Top power play producer Clayton Keller registered only four shots so far. Once Keller finds his groove, the rest will follow.
The missed six-on-three chance could jump-start a brighter future for the power play unit, especially with some of their best forwards returning soon.
It is not panic time for the Coyotes at all because two games are not enough to tell about their future. They have some good components right now, but they need other important parts to work as well.
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