Monday Morning Howl: Coyotes Dominate Capitals, Eliminate Kings

After a disappointing road loss to the Washington Capitals at the Verizon Center on Mar. 25, the Arizona Coyotes headed westward to St. Louis last Monday to finish out their road trip against the Blues. Highly-touted prospect Clayton Keller would play in his first career NHL game on the night, but the Blues spoiled his NHL debut as they defeated the Coyotes in regulation for the 10th consecutive game by the score of 4-1.

The Coyotes and Blues would then head back to Arizona for a grudge match at Gila River Arena on Wednesday night, but the result would turn out the nearly the same, as St. Louis shut down Arizona’s offense en route to a 3-1 victory.

The Coyotes remained at home on Friday night as they hosted the Washington Capitals for the second time in less than a week. After being defeated by Washington in the earlier matchup between the teams, the Coyotes exacted a bit of revenge as they dominated reigning Vezina Trophy winner Braden Holtby and the league-leading Capitals in a resounding 6-3 victory.

On Sunday night, the Coyotes made their final visit of the season to the Staples Center and officially eliminated the Los Angeles Kings from playoff contention with an exciting 2-1 victory.

The Final Week

After their victory over the Los Angeles Kings at the Staples Center on Sunday, the Coyotes will head to Dallas on Tuesday night to take on the Stars in the team’s final road game of the season. After finishing with the best record in the Western Conference last season, Dallas has taken a significant step backward in 2016-17 and will finish the season with a losing record. Puck drop is scheduled for 7:30 P.M. local time at the American Airlines Center (5:30 P.M. in Arizona).

On Thursday, the Coyotes will return home for their final matchup of the season against the Vancouver Canucks. Vancouver has won three of the four previous matchups against Arizona this season, but the Coyotes won the most recent contest between the two teams back on Jan. 26 by the score of 3-0. Puck drop is scheduled for 7:00 P.M. in Glendale.

The Coyotes will then finish out their 2016-17 season on Saturday night against Martin Hanzal and the visiting Minnesota Wild. Hockey fans from around the country should consider tuning in for this one, as this could potentially be the final game of Shane Doan’s brilliant 21-year NHL career. Puck drop is scheduled for 6:00 P.M. in Glendale.

Domingue Standing on His Head

Coyotes’ backup goaltender Louis Domingue got off to a rough start to the season, but he’s really turned things around over the past few weeks in Arizona. Over his last seven appearances in goal for the Coyotes, Domingue has a 5-1-0 record and has stopped 239 of the 253 shots he’s faced over that stretch.

Domingue has played arguably the best hockey of his brief career over the past few weeks, and his play could give general manager John Chayka some pause when it’s time to decide which goaltender to protect in the upcoming expansion draft. Will the Coyotes protect 35-year-old starter Mike Smith and risk losing Domingue, or will they protect the 25-year-old Domingue in the hopes that Vegas will balk at taking on Smith’s $5.66 million cap hit?

Pacific Division Roundup

With just one week to play, the Anaheim Ducks are clinging to a two-point lead in the Pacific over the Edmonton Oilers. Here’s how Arizona’s other division rivals fared last week:

Anaheim Ducks (43-23-13, 99 points)

  • Last week: 2-0-2
  • Analysis: The Ducks picked up six more points in four games last week, and are now 8-0-3 in their last 11 games. They suffered an overtime defeat in Edmonton on Saturday night to momentarily lose the lead in the Pacific, but a victory over the Flames on Sunday put them right back in the driver’s seat.
  • Player of the week: Antoine Vermette – 4 assists, +4
  • This week: Tue vs CGY, Thu vs CHI, Sat vs LA

Calgary Flames (44-31-4, 92 points)

  • Last week: 2-2-0
  • Analysis: The Flames are just 5-5-0 since their 10-game winning streak from Feb. 21 to Mar. 13, but they’re still in good shape in the Western Conference’s playoff race. They’re one point ahead of Nashville with three games to play and will likely want to stay ahead of the Predators in order to avoid the Chicago Blackhawks in the first round.
  • Player of the week: Sean Monahan – 2 goals, 4 assists
  • This week: Tue at ANA, Thu at LA, Sat at SJ

Edmonton Oilers (44-25-9, 97 points)

  • Last week: 3-0-0
  • Analysis: The Oilers won three more times last week, and are now 9-1-0 in their last ten games. They’re just two points behind Anaheim for first place in the Pacific Division and have a game in hand as well.
  • Player of the week: Connor McDavid – 3 goals, 3 assists, +5, 18 shots
  • This week: Tue at LA, Thu at SJ, Sat at VAN, Sun vs VAN

Los Angeles Kings (37-34-7, 81 points)

  • Last week: 2-2-0
  • Analysis: With their 2-1 defeat at the hands of the Arizona Coyotes on Sunday night at the Staples Center, the Kings were officially eliminated from playoff contention. Since winning the Cup in 2014, the Kings have missed the playoffs twice and have just a single postseason victory.
  • Player of the week: Jarome Iginla – 3 goals, assist, +2
  • This week: Tue vs EDM, Thu vs CGY, Sat vs CHI, Sun at ANA

San Jose Sharks (44-28-7, 95 points)

  • Last week: 2-2-0
  • Analysis: The Sharks got back on track last week with victories against the Rangers and Canucks, but they could potentially have suffered a huge loss in Sunday’s game in Vancouver, as Joe Thornton left the game in obvious discomfort. If Thornton’s injury is serious, the Sharks could be in deep trouble.
  • Player of the week: Jannik Hansen – 2 goals, 3 assists, +3
  • This week: Tue vs VAN, Thu vs EDM, Sat vs CGY

Vancouver Canucks (30-39-9, 69 points)

  • Last week: 0-3-0
  • Analysis: The Canucks scored just two goals in three games last week, and lost all three contests in regulation as a result. It’ll be another long offseason in British Columbia as the Canucks must decide whether or not to start a complete rebuild.
  • Players of the week: Brock Boeser – Goal
  • This week: Tue at SJ, Thu at AZ, Sat vs EDM, Sun at EDM

The Coyotes have generally struggled this season, but victories over the Washington Capitals and the Los Angeles Kings last week were bright moments in what has otherwise been a lost season in the desert.