In this week’s edition of Coyotes Corner, the Arizona Coyotes returned to action after an eight-day break to play host to the rival Los Angeles Kings before welcoming the Dallas Stars to Gila River Arena for a back-to-back two-game home weekend stint. See how they fared in this weekend’s matchups.
This past weekend was a crazy one for the Coyotes, including falling to the Kings in a 5-3 loss after blowing a two-goal lead over the last two periods before responding with a bounce-back 3-1 win over Dallas, ending the Stars’ six-game road winning streak in the process.
Central Division Standings (As of 2/22/2022)
|St. Louis Blues||24-14-6||64|
The Week That Was
Coyotes vs. Los Angeles Kings (Feb. 19, 5-3 Loss)
The Coyotes kicked off their weekend homestand against the Los Angeles Kings. After securing a 3-1 lead midway through the second period thanks to Clayton Keller, Anton Stralman, and Lawson Crouse, the Kings came alive, scoring four times over the last period and a half to cap off a 5-3 comeback win.
What Went Right
The Coyotes started Saturday night’s game off perfectly by all standards. Three goals in the first period and a half showcased the team’s recent strong play and competitiveness. Goaltender Karel Vejmelka played well in the early half, tracking puck after puck, seemingly keeping the Coyotes in the game, something that’s been a common occurrence this season.
What Went Wrong
Penalties and the penalty kill once again continue to plague the Coyotes, as the team went on the penalty kill four times in Saturday’s game, allowing two power-play goals in the process while going 0-for-3 on the power play. The team also struggled to maintain a lead and apply pressure, allowing the Kings to counter back after going down 1-0 and four times after going down 3-1. They struggled in the faceoff circle as well, winning only 38.6 percent of faceoffs.
Top Coyotes Performers
Keller recorded his 19th goal of the season and sixth point in his last five games.
As the season rolls on, the Coyotes continue to make strides as a team, remaining close in games, but they struggle to continue with keeping maintained pressure and holding a lead.
Coyotes vs. Dallas Stars (Feb. 20, 3-1 Win)
After a Lawson Crouse goal to kick off the game, Roope Hintz tied it at one-a-piece for the Dallas Stars before Nick Schmaltz and Keller put the game away in a dominant showing Sunday night, 24 hours removed from a disastrous collapse against Los Angeles the night before. Goaltender Scott Wedgewood, who was back in net for the first time since early February, stopped 32 shots to pick up the win.
What Went Right
For the second straight night, the Coyotes started the game off well, scoring first. But unlike Saturday, they did not buckle after allowing Dallas to tie the game. Wedgewood kept the team in the game with some highlight-reel stops. Crouse, Keller, and Schmaltz continue to keep up the hot play, combining for 15 points in the team’s last five games. The Coyotes also capitalized once on three power-play opportunities.
What Went Wrong
The Coyotes continue to struggle in the faceoff circle, only winning 39.6 percent of their draws.
Top Coyotes Performers
Schmaltz, who’s recently been on a hot streak, recording four goals and two assists in the last five games, and Crouse, who notched three goals in the team’s last five.
Despite the faceoff troubles, the Coyotes played a full, solid 60 minutes, never once buckling, in a competitive bounce-back effort.
Wednesday, Feb. 23 vs. Los Angeles, 8:00 PM
The Coyotes return to action tomorrow night, as they take on the Los Angeles Kings for the second time in five nights, looking to avenge a 5-3 loss last Saturday. Anze Kopitar and Adrian Kempe lead the Kings into Glendale, having gone 4-1-0 in their last five games. Jonathan Quick leads the team with a 13-10-6 record with a goals-against average (GAA) of 2.61 and a save percentage (SV%) of .911.
Friday, Feb. 25 vs. Vegas, 7:30 PM
The team continues their homestand, welcoming Jack Eichel and the Vegas Golden Knights Friday night. Vegas took the team’s last matchup, 7-1, on Dec. 3 at Gila River Arena. Vegas is led by Chandler Stephenson’s 40 points and goaltender Robin Lehner’s 19-13-1 record, 2.86 GAA, and .907 SV%.
Sunday, Feb. 27 vs. Winnipeg, 2:00 PM
The Coyotes close out the upcoming week with a matchup Sunday afternoon against the struggling Winnipeg Jets, who are 2-3-0 in their past five games. The two teams have met twice this season, with Arizona taking the first game, 1-0, on Nov. 29 and Winnipeg taking the second game, 3-1, on Jan. 4. The Jets are led by Kyle Connor’s 54 points and Blake Wheeler’s 28 assists.
“I didn’t like the way we played in the third. I thought we froze, kind of. We forced things and got out of our structure a little bit.”
– Coyotes head coach André Tourigny on his team’s effort in a 5-3 loss against Los Angeles.
“It was exciting to get back out there.”
– Coyotes goaltender Scott Wedgewood on first game back since sustaining a concussion.
“When we are moving our feet and making plays, I think we’re a pretty good line. We read off each other really well and I think we all think the game the same way. Just trying to contribute to the team.”
– Coyotes forward Nick Schmaltz on playing on a line with Clayton Keller and Travis Boyd.
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Mr. Evans is originally from Greenville, SC where he currently resides. Mr. Evans has been involved in hockey for the past 17 years now, following the Arizona Coyotes and St. Louis Blues. During his free time, Mr. Evans enjoys spending time with his family and girlfriend as well as being up in the mountains or taking pictures. Prior to joining The Hockey Writers, Mr. Evans previously worked for The Puck Authority, covering the South Carolina Stingrays of the ECHL and FanSided’s Bleedin’ Blue, covering the St. Louis Blues. You can find Mr. Evans on Twitter at @HaynesPEvans.