Coyotes Finish First Week Empty-Handed

Another season, another disappointing start for the Arizona Coyotes.

Through two games, the ‘Yotes have yet to score a goal, and are the only team in the NHL who have failed to do so after one week of play. However, to be fair, the Coyotes played well enough to win in both of their contests – they’ve just had absolutely no puck luck whatsoever.

Let’s take a look back at the week that was:

Coyotes Weekly Recap

After finishing up the preseason with a 4-2-1 record, the Coyotes got their regular season started last Thursday night at the American Airlines Center with a tilt against the Dallas Stars. After a scoreless first period, the Stars’ potent offense struck quickly during the middle frame, as Devin Shore, Alexander Radulov and John Klingberg all scored in a span of 1:36 to open up a three-goal lead for the home team. Despite throwing 30 shots at Ben Bishop, the ‘Yotes were unable to beat the Dallas netminder and dropped their season-opener by a 3-0 margin.

Stars defenseman Marc Methot
Ben Bishop and Marc Methot both had a hand in their squad’s opening night shutout of the Coyotes. (Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports)

The Coyotes then returned back to Arizona and hosted the Anaheim Ducks in their home opener at Gila River Arena on Saturday night. As was the case on Thursday, the game was again scoreless after 20 minutes. In the second, Max Comtois broke the ice for Anaheim with a breakaway goal, and, despite a late 6-on-3 chance for the Coyotes, his goal would stand up as the only one of the contest in a 1-0 Anaheim victory.

Looking Ahead

Following their disappointing loss on home ice on Saturday night, the Coyotes will travel to Anaheim and will be seeking revenge against the Ducks. John Gibson stymied the Coyotes all night at Gila River Arena – will things turn out different for Rick Tocchet’s squad this time around? Puck drop is scheduled for 7:00 P.M. at the Honda Center.

The ‘Yotes will then return home for yet another Kachina Saturday, when they’ll host the much-improved Buffalo Sabres. The Sabres have a winning record for the first time since January of 2013 and they owe a lot of their success to new goaltender Carter Hutton, who has stood on his head since coming to Western New York as a free agent over the summer. Puck drop is scheduled for 6:00 P.M. at Gila River Arena.

Carter Hutton
Carter Hutton has given Buffalo Sabres fans a reason to be hopeful in 2018-19. (Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports)

Arizona’s hectic early-season travel schedule will continue on Tuesday in Minnesota, when the Coyotes will visit the Wild and goaltender Devan Dubnyk. The Wild, like the ‘Yotes, have struggled early on this season – they’re winless in two tries and have scored just two goals in 2018-19. This one will get started at 7:00 P.M. local time (5:00 P.M. in Arizona) at the Xcel Energy Center

Pacific Division Roundup

One week of the 2018-19 season is in the books, and the Ducks find themselves at the top of the Pacific Division on the strength of their goaltending.

Anaheim Ducks (3-0-0, 6 points)

  • Last week: 3-0-0 (5-2 W at SJ, 1-0 W at AZ, 3-2 SOW vs DET)
  • Analysis: Last week, we said in this space that the Ducks didn’t do much to improve the roster over the summer. Turns out they didn’t need to. Goaltender John Gibson has been absolutely outstanding this season – he’s stopped all but four of the 95 shots he’s seen this year and is playing out of his mind at the moment. How far can he take this team?
  • Player of the week: John Gibson – 3-0-0 record, 91 saves on 95 shots (.958 SV%, 1.30 GAA), 3 saves on 3 shootout attempts
  • This week: Wed vs AZ, Sat at DAL, Sun at STL
John Gibson Ducks
John Gibson has emerged as an early-season contender for the Vezina Trophy. (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Calgary Flames (2-1-0, 4 points)

  • Last week: 2-1-0 (5-2 L at VAN, 7-4 W vs VAN, 3-0 W at NSH)
  • Analysis: After allowing five goals in the season opener in Vancouver, the Flames bounced back in a big way, scoring seven goals against the Canucks at home on Saturday before shutting out the Nashville Predators on ‘Regular Season Western Conference Champions‘ banner-raising night on Tuesday. This team can score (12 goals in three games), but will they score enough to support Mike Smith?
  • Player of the week: Johnny Gaudreau – Goal, 6 assists
  • This week: Thu at STL, Sat at COL

Edmonton Oilers (0-1-0, 0 points)

  • Last week: 0-1-0 (5-2 L vs NJ)
  • Analysis: It’s only one game, but boy oh boy, the Oilers were pretty awful during their season-opening 5-2 loss to the New Jersey Devils on Saturday in Gothenburg, Sweden. The Connor McDavid line was the only one to get on the scoreboard, and Edmonton mustered just 19 shots on Devils goaltender Keith Kinkaid. We’ve said it before but we’ll say it again – if the Oilers can’t get offensive contributions from someone other than McDavid, they’ll never go anywhere as a team. If only they had a scoring winger like Taylor Hall in the lineup…..
  • Player of the week: Connor McDavid – 2 assists, won 12 of 18 faceoffs
  • This week: Thu at BOS, Sat at NYR, Tue at WPG

Los Angeles Kings (1-1-1, 3 points)

  • Last week: 1-1-1 (3-2 OTL vs SJ, 4-2 W vs DET, 2-1 L at WPG)
  • Analysis: The Kings are at the .500 mark through three games, but they may have trouble keeping their heads above water during the next few weeks, as they lost goaltender Jonathan Quick to a lower-body injury. Los Angeles hasn’t done much offensively yet, so Peter Budaj and Jack Campbell will have to hold down the fort until Quick is healthy enough to return.
  • Player of the week: Alex Iafallo – 2 goals, 2 assists, +5
  • This week: Thu at MTL, Sat at OTT, Mon at TOR
Alex Iafallo
Alex Iafallo is the Kings’ leading scorer through three games. (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

San Jose Sharks (2-2-0, 4 points)

  • Last week: 2-2-0 (5-2 L vs ANA, 3-2 OTW at LA, 4-0 L at NYI, 8-2 W at PHI)
  • Analysis: The transition into the Erik Karlsson era hasn’t exactly been seamless through one week, but give the Sharks some time. Tuesday’s 8-2 demolition of the Philadelphia Flyers proved what San Jose is capable of this season.
  • Player of the week: Evander Kane – 4 goals
  • This week: Thu at NYR, Sun at NJ

Vancouver Canucks (1-2-0, 2 points)

  • Last week: 1-2-0 (5-2 W vs CGY, 7-4 L at CGY, 5-3 L at CAR)
  • Analysis: One would have assumed that the Canucks would have trouble scoring goals following the departures of Henrik and Daniel Sedin over the offseason, but, so far, the defense and goaltending have been the problem in British Columbia. Vancouver has scored 12 goals through three games but has just a single win to show for it as goaltender Jacob Markstrom has struggled badly. He needs to up his game, or he could lose his starting gig to Anders Nilsson. Although he’s injured as of this writing, Thatcher Demko is also waiting in the wings – will he get a chance this season?
  • Player of the week: Elias Pettersson – 3 goals, 3 assists
  • This week: Thu at TB, Sat at FLA, Tue at PIT

Vegas Golden Knights (1-2-0, 2 points)

  • Last week: 1-2-0 (5-2 L vs PHI, 2-1 SOW at MIN, 4-2 L at BUF)
  • Analysis: After an unexpected 8-1-0 start during their inaugural season, the Golden Knights have so far failed to recapture the magic of last year – they have only a single shootout victory through three games and Marc-Andre Fleury hasn’t stolen the show like he did last season. Could Vegas regress this season? It’s early, but they may have lost the chip on their shoulder that took them so far in 2017-18.
  • Player of the week: Jonathan Marchessault – 2 goals, 2 assists, +3 rating, 14 shots
  • This week: Wed at WSH, Thu at PIT, Sat at PHI, Tue vs BUF

Despite playing well enough to win during both of their first two regular-season contests, the Arizona Coyotes remain winless and goalless. Will they be able to get back into the win column this week and get the season back on track? Or will we be talking about yet another disastrous month of October at this time next week?