Coyotes Corner: Team Returns From League Wide Pause

Happy New Year, readers! In this week’s edition of Coyotes Corner, the Arizona Coyotes and the league returned to action after a pause over the Christmas week due to the rising number of COVID cases. This past week the team traveled to southern California to face off against the San Jose Sharks, before having Sunday night’s game against the Dallas Stars postponed due to COVID.

Arizona Coyotes Corner Jakob Chychrun & Clayton Keller
Jakob Chychrun & Clayton Keller (The Hockey Writers)

The most interesting story from this past week was the team’s wild 15-goal game against the San Jose Sharks last Tuesday, resulting in Phil Kessel and Lawson Crouse each registering four points, while rookie defensemen Janis Moser recorded his first two career NHL goals.

Central Division Standings (As of 1/2/2022)

TeamRecordPoints
St. Louis Blues19-9-543
Nashville Predators20-11-242
Minnesota Wild19-10-240
Colorado Avalanche18-8-238
Winnipeg Jets15-11-535
Dallas Stars15-12-232
Chicago Blackhawks11-17-426
Arizona Coyotes6-21-315

The Week That Was

Coyotes at San Jose (Dec. 28, 8-7 SO Loss)

After having last played Dec. 28 before the pause, a thrilling 6-5 overtime win, the Coyotes returned to action against San Jose. After coming from behind two three separate times throughout the course of the game, Arizona was unable to capture the win, and ultimately fell 8-7 in a shootout.

Related: Coyotes’ Road to the Future Begins in Tucson

What Went Right
For the second straight game, the Coyotes showed resilience despite the loss, coming from behind two three separate times. In addition, the team dominated in the face off circle, shots on goal, and special teams play, successfully killing off three Sharks power plays while scoring two power play goals of their own.

What Went Wrong
Penalties once again continue to plague the Coyotes, as the team went on the penalty kill three times in Tuesday’s game, despite killing all three off. Goaltending recently has been an issue, with the team allowing 24 goals in the past five games, and just 13 alone in the past two games.

Top Coyotes Performers
Phil Kessel and Lawson Crouse — who’s continuing to have a breakout season — both registered four points, and rookie defenseman Janis Moser, who registered his first two career NHL goals in his second career game.

Key Takeaway
Despite the loss, the Coyotes played well offensively, capitalizing on the power play, as well as strong play from the team’s youth and veteran core.

Looking Ahead

Upcoming Games
Tuesday, Jan. 4 vs Winnipeg, 7:00 PM
After Sunday’s postponement against Dallas, the Coyotes return to action this Tuesday to kick off a four game home stand against the Winnipeg Jets, led by red-hot forward Kyle Connor, who leads the team with 34 points, and goalie Connor Hellebuyck, who’s registered a 12-9-4 record with a .915 save percentage and 2.69 goals-against average.

Thursday, Jan. 6 vs Chicago, 7:00 PM
On Thursday the Coyotes welcome the Chicago Blackhawks to Arizona for the team’s second matchup of the season, looking to avenge a 2-1 loss back on November 12 at United Center in Chicago. The Blackhawks are led by Patrick Kane’s 25 points and Marc-Andre Fleury’s 9-10-1 record. The Blackhawks come into the matchup with a record of 4-4-2 record in their past ten games.

Patrick Kane Chicago Blackhawks
Patrick Kane, Chicago Blackhawks (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

Saturday, Jan. 8 vs Nashville, 6:00 PM
Arizona closes out the upcoming weekend with a matchup Saturday against the recently red-hot Nashville Predators, looking to avenge a 4-1 loss in the team’s first meeting back on Nov. 13 at Bridgestone Arena. The Predators, who are 8-1-1 in their last 10 games, will be led into Arizona by defensemen Roman Josi and forwards Filip Forsberg and Mikael Granlund. Goaltender Juuse Saros comes into the matchup with a save percentage of .925 and a record of 16-9-1.

Quotables

“I’m just glad that I could help the team. Those pucks, or at least one of them, will be at my apartment or maybe I’ll ship it home.”
– Coyotes rookie defensemen Janis Moser on his first two career NHL goals.

I liked the way we played. We put a lot of pucks on the net, we were relentless on the forecheck, we generated a lot of offense. Obviously defensively we were not as sharp, one of the areas we need to improve.”
– Coyotes coach André Tourigny on team’s performance against San Jose.

“Matt was always making kids happy. It doesn’t matter if you’re six years old or 24 or 50 years old, I think every single person could learn something from Matt and how he is as a person and everything that he stands for.”
– Coyotes forward Christian Fischer on the impact Matt Shott had on youth hockey in Arizona (From: ‘Arizona Coyotes, community remember Matt Shott for his extensive work in growing hockey’, azcentral.com, Dec. 23, 2021).

On The Hockey Twittersphere

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