Coyotes Corner: Team Wraps Up February With Homestand

In this week’s edition of Coyotes Corner, the Arizona Coyotes returned to action to close out the final week of February, hosting the rival Los Angeles Kings for the second time in four days looking for revenge, in addition to welcoming the Vegas Golden Knights and Winnipeg Jets to the Valley before beginning the new month this week with a matchup against the top team in the league, the Colorado Avalanche.

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

This past week and a half for Coyotes included a last-minute, heartbreaking loss to the Kings, a dominant 3-1 showing over the Vegas Golden Knights, a highlight-reel play from forward Barrett Hayton before a second-half period collapse against the Winnipeg Jets, and a strong, hard fought win against the Avalanche.

Central Division Standings (As of 3/4/2022)

Colorado Avalanche40-11-484
St. Louis Blues32-15-670
Minnesota Wild32-17-367
Nashville Predators30-20-464
Dallas Stars30-20-363
Winnipeg Jets24-21-957
Chicago Blackhawks20-27-848
Arizona Coyotes15-35-434

The Week That Was

Coyotes vs. Los Angeles Kings (Feb. 23, 3-2 Loss)

The Coyotes’ week kicked off with a heated matchup against the Los Angeles Kings, looking to avenge a 5-3 loss four days prior. After tying things up late in the second period thanks to a goal from Hayton, the Coyotes could not overcome their recent streak of late-period woes, allowing Kings forward Victor Arvidsson to break the tie with under four minutes left to secure his team the victory.

What Went Right

The Coyotes corrected the mistakes they made in their last meeting against the Kings, avoiding a second/third-period collapse. Keller collected his 21st goal of the season thanks to Schmaltz and forward Hayton picked up his third of the season. Goaltender Scott Wedgewood, who was making his second straight start, looked solid in the crease making 32 saves in the loss. Arizona excelled on the penalty kill, stopping both Los Angeles powerplay opportunities.

What Went Wrong

The Coyotes failed to generate shots on net, being heavily outshot 35-19. For the second time in as many games against the Kings, they struggled to maintain early momentum, allowing a game-tying goal 18 seconds after Keller broke the scoreless drought midway through the first.

Related: Coyotes Daily Download – Recap, Stats, Injuries & News

Top Coyotes Performers

Keller recorded his 21st goal of the season and seventh point in his last five games.

Key Takeaway

The Coyotes for once managed to control the faceoff circle, as well as capitalize on the penalty kill, two areas which have heavily affected the team this season.

Coyotes vs. Vegas Golden Knights (Feb. 25, 3-1 Win)

Coyotes’ forward Schmaltz picked up his 10th and 11th goals of the season in the team’s 3-1 win over Vegas Friday night. Wedgwood, who was making his third straight start, picked up 43 saves in the win. Shayne Gostisbehere added a goal, capping off a bounce-back effort 48 hours removed from a 3-2 loss to the Kings.

What Went Right

Unlike the other night against the Kings, the Coyotes put continued pressure on the Golden Knights, not once looking back after tying things up late in the second period. The team played physical, out-hitting them 41-17, while goaltender Wedgewood was strong in the crease, seemingly making stop after stop like it was nothing. For the third-straight game, the Coyotes penalty kill stood tall, killing off both Vegas powerplay chances.

Clayton Keller Arizona Coyotes
Clayton Keller, Arizona Coyotes (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

What Went Wrong

The Coyotes struggled in the faceoff circle, winning just 40.4 percent of their draws. They also continued to have trouble generating shots on goal.

Top Coyotes Performers

Schmaltz, who recorded a two-goal game, boosted his point total to seven in the past five games, and now has 25 on the season.

Key Takeaway

Despite some issues, the Coyotes played a solid 60 minutes, seemingly shutting down any offense Vegas tried to generate while adding some of their own as well.

Coyotes vs. Winnipeg Jets (Feb. 27, 5-3 Loss)

The Coyotes received some much needed scoring from Chychrun, Nick Ritchie, and Hayton, along with forward Keller almost pulling off the newest trend in hockey, “the Michigan.” Despite the positives, they were not able to hold off the Jets, losing 5-3, all while ending Winnipeg’s four-game losing skid. Goaltender Wedgewood, who was back in the crease for his fourth straight start, made 33 saves in the loss.

What Went Right

The Coyotes continue to get better in the faceoff circle, while being more disciplined, going 60 minutes without allowing the Jets to go on the powerplay. Defensemen Chychrun picked up a goal for the first time since Nov. 18 against the Columbus Blue Jackets, while newest forward Nick Ritchie scored his first goal as a Coyote.

What Went Wrong

The Coyotes’ inability to hold or maintain a lead.

Top Coyotes Performers

Hayton pulled off a highlight-reel play, picking up his second goal in his second straight game.

Key Takeaway

Second-half collapses continue to drag the Coyotes down, which has prohibited them from holding onto leads and picking up wins.

Coyotes vs. Colorado Avalanche (Mar. 3, 2-1 Win)

In a night filled with excitement from rookie Matias Maccelli making his NHL debut to goalie Karel Vejmelka making his first start since Feb. 17, the Coyotes for the second time in four games this season found a way to shut down the league’s best, Colorado Avalanche Thursday night by a score of 2-1. Goals from Schmaltz and Loui Eriksson along with 42 saves from Vejmelka helped cap off a perfect night for the Coyotes to start the week and month of March.

What Went Right

The Coyotes held their own in the faceoff circle and managed to keep Colorado off the scoresheet on two powerplay opportunities. Vejmelka seemed to be on a different level, robbing Nathan MacKinnon and Cale Makar on multiple chances throughout the game.

What Went Wrong

The Coyotes, despite the win, found themselves in a hole when it came to generating shots as they were heavily outshot 43-29.

Top Coyotes Performers

Vejmelka, who made 42 saves in his first start in almost a month.

Key Takeaway

The Coyotes did everything right in terms of shutting down the dynamic offense of the Avalanche by playing physically and scoring goals.

Looking Ahead

Saturday, Mar. 5 vs. Ottawa, 2:00 PM

The team will continue their homestand, welcoming Brady Tkachuk, defenseman Thomas Chabot and the Ottawa Senators Saturday night. This is the first matchup of the season between the two, with the second and final meeting coming on Mar. 14 in Ottawa. Goaltender Anton Forsberg heads into the matchup with a 11-8-2 record, 2.79 GAA, and .917 SV%.

Brady Tkachuk Ottawa Senators
Brady Tkachuk, Ottawa Senators (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)


“They are a volume-shot team. They put a lot of pucks on net. Our guys were pretty urgent around the net. Did a pretty good job.”

– Coyotes head coach André Tourigny on Los Angeles following a 3-2 loss.

He’s such a smart hockey player. ‘Schmaltzy’ has all the talent. He is always one play ahead. It’s not about his intensity. Right now, he’s tuned in. When he has that mental urgency, you see the result right now. It’s really good.”

– Coyotes head coach André Tourigny on forward Nick Schmaltz’s play as of recently following a 3-1 win over Vegas.

“What I really liked about his game tonight was his play without the puck. He cut plays in our zone, he was good on the breakout. He was really good for us.

– Coyotes head coach André Tourigny on rookie Matias Maccelli’s debut performance against Colorado.

On the Hockey Twittersphere

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