After two disastrous third-period collapses last weekend in New York, the Arizona Coyotes headed west across the Hudson River on Tuesday to take on the New Jersey Devils. However, they’d fare no better there, as they were undone by a late power play goal and lost their fifth consecutive road game by the score of 5-3. However, things would get better on Thursday in the final game of Arizona’s six-game trek through the Eastern Conference; the Desert Dogs would use timely offense from Brad Richardson and Ryan White to earn a 5-4 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers.
The #Coyotes have swept the season series from the Flyers (2 or more games) for the first time since 2000-01.
— Jeffrey Sanders (@JeSanders11) October 28, 2016
On Saturday night, the Coyotes returned home for the first time in two weeks but were unable to continue their positive momentum as they dropped a 3-2 decision to the Colorado Avalanche at Gila River Arena.
Home Sweet Home?
After Saturday night’s loss, the Coyotes will remain at home for their first two games of the week. They’ll start things off on Tuesday against the defending Western Conference Champion San Jose Sharks. The Sharks will pose a challenge to Arizona’s inconsistent offense, as they’re allowing just 2.33 goals per game, which ranks fourth in the Western Conference. Puck drop is scheduled for 7:00 P.M.
Also good to see Martin Jones continue to prove he can get red hot. Last 3 #sjsharks wins: 2-1, 3-1, 4-1. You’ll win most nights allowing 1.
— Brodie Brazil (@brodiebrazilCSN) October 30, 2016
On Thursday, the Coyotes will host the struggling Nashville Predators at Gila River Arena. Things haven’t gone as planned this year for Peter Laviolette’s squad; his team is just 2-5-1 through eight games and ranks last in the NHL in even strength goals with eight. Arizona will need to stay out of the penalty box in this one, as Nashville possesses the league’s best power play. Puck drop is scheduled for 7:00 P.M.
Following Thursday’s game, the Coyotes will need to pack up and fly out to Southern California for a Friday night matchup against the Anaheim Ducks. Anaheim has struggled offensively so far this season, but they’ve relied upon solid defensive play to remain competitive. Max Domi and Anthony Duclair will be players to watch in this one, as they both routinely lit up the Ducks last season. Puck drop is scheduled for 7:00 P.M. in Anaheim.
Duclair has six of his 17 goals this season against #Ducks. Domi has seven points in five games vs. ANA. Also 21 pts. vs. Pacific.
— Sarah McLellan (@azc_mclellan) March 4, 2016
Domi Heating Up
After being held to just one point through four games, Max Domi has started to heat up; he’s currently riding a four-game point streak and has five points over that stretch.
With his assist on Vrbata’s goal, Max Domi extends his point streak to 4 games #Coyotes
— Alli Gallagher (@Alli_Gallagher) October 30, 2016
Domi already has six assists on the season, but, despite firing 20 shots on goal, has yet to tickle the twine. If he starts getting some puck luck to go his way, he has the potential to be the first forward to lead the Coyotes in scoring since Ray Whitney did so during the 2011-12 season.
Stone Not Missing a Beat
When Michael Stone went down with a torn ACL and MCL on March 26, there were concerns that the 26-year-old defenseman would not be ready to return until the 2016-17 season was well underway. However, Stone returned after missing just three games and could find himself in contention for the Masterton Trophy as a result.
— Today’s Slapshot (@TodaysSlapshot) October 22, 2016
Since returning to the lineup, Stone has racked up three assists in four games and appears to be well on his way toward topping the 36 points he recorded last season.
Ekman-Larsson Scoring at High Rate
Through eight games, no one on the Arizona Coyotes roster has scored more goals than Oliver Ekman-Larsson. No defenseman in the NHL has scored more goals either, as Ekman-Larsson’s total of five has him ahead of players such as Brent Burns, Shea Weber and Erik Karlsson, among others.
With some help in front of the net from the likes of Martin Hanzal, the Coyotes’ Oliver Ekman-Larsson is proving dangerous from the point. pic.twitter.com/ylODE6JyEG
— FOX Sports Arizona (@FOXSPORTSAZ) October 30, 2016
#Elias: Oliver Ekman-Larsson is first defenseman since Nicklas Lidstrom (2006-12) to record at least one 2-goal game in 6 straight seasons
— Steve Kournianos (@TheDraftAnalyst) October 26, 2016
Ekman-Larsson has the potential to become the first defenseman to score 30 or more goals in a season since Mike Green scored 31 in 2008-09, and should be one of the leading candidates for the Norris Trophy at season’s end.
Smith Continues to Rehab
With the exception of goaltender Mike Smith, the Coyotes are skating healthy. Michael Stone did miss Saturday’s game with an upper-body injury, but head coach Dave Tippett stated that Stone could have played if necessary and received the day off to rest following Arizona’s grueling six-game road trip.
As far as Smith’s status goes, he’s still considered week-to-week. Louis Domingue and Justin Peters have (so far) been unable to provide solid goaltending for the Coyotes, so Tippett is likely hoping Smith is able to get back onto the ice soon.
Pacific Division Roundup
Thanks to the emergence of Cam Talbot as a potential Vezina Trophy candidate, the Edmonton Oilers sit in first place in the Pacific through three weeks. Here’s how Arizona’s other division rivals fared last week:
Anaheim Ducks (3-4-2)
- Last week: 1-1-1
- Analysis: The Ducks continue to struggle with consistency; they scored seven goals in three games last week, but six of them came in Wednesday’s victory over the Nashville Predators. They’ll need to get their offense going to keep pace in the Pacific.
- Player of the week: Jakob Silfverberg – 2 goals
- This week: Tue at LA, Wed vs PIT, Fri vs AZ, Sun vs CGY
Calgary Flames (4-5-1)
- Last week: 3-1-0
- Analysis: Brian Elliott was finally able to find his form last week and led the Flames to three wins as a result. However, things get much tougher next week, as Calgary will play four road games in six days.
- Player of the week: Brian Elliott – 3-1-0 record, 111 saves on 118 shots (.941 SV%)
- This week: Tue at CHI, Thu at SJ, Sat at LA, Sun at ANA
With 40 minutes in books, #Flames still trail 2-1. Heck of a game (again) for G Brian Elliott. Really sharp.
— Wes Gilbertson (@WesGilbertson) October 31, 2016
Edmonton Oilers (7-2-0)
- Last week: 2-1-0
- Analysis: Edmonton has the best record in the Western Conference, and goaltender Cam Talbot is a big reason why; Talbot leads the league in wins and possesses an outstanding SV% of .936 for the season. The sky is the limit for the talented Oilers if they continue getting solid goaltending from Talbot.
- Player of the week: Cam Talbot – 2-1-0 record, 80 saves on 82 shots (.976 SV%)
- This week: Tue at TOR, Thu at NYR, Sat at NYI, Sun at DET
— Frank Seravalli (@frank_seravalli) October 27, 2016
Los Angeles Kings (4-5-0)
- Last week: 2-2-0
- Analysis: The Kings are barely managing to hang around without the services of their top two goaltenders; both of their victories came in overtime, and both of their losses were of the shutout variety. Anders Lindback was signed to a professional tryout contract, and the Kings are hoping he can get his visa issues sorted out sooner rather than later.
- Player of the week: Alec Martinez – Overtime goal, 2 assists
- This week: Tue vs ANA, Thu vs PIT, Sat vs CGY
San Jose Sharks (6-3-0)
- Last week: 3-0-0
- Analysis: After losing three of four last week on the road, the Sharks returned to the SAP Center and swept their three-game homestand. They appear to once again be a formidable team in the Western Conference.
- Player of the week: Martin Jones – 3-0-0 record, 70 saves on 73 shots (.959 SV%)
- This week: Tue at AZ, Thu vs CGY, Sat vs PIT
Vancouver Canucks (4-4-1)
- Last week: 0-3-0
- Analysis: After a surprising 4-0-0 start, Vancouver’s offense has gone cold; the Canucks were shut out twice last week, and have scored just four goals over their last four games. Next up: a tough six-game East Coast road trip.
- Player of the week: Ryan Miller – 0-2-0 record, 50 saves on 53 shots (.943 SV%)
- This week: Wed at MTL, Thu at OTT, Sat at TOR
The Coyotes will have a chance to make up some ground in the Pacific this week with two home games and a road matchup against the struggling Anaheim Ducks. For Arizona, this is a critical point in the season; they must get things turned around quickly or they’ll risk falling far behind the Pacific’s playoff teams.
A lifelong Phoenix resident, Louis has been following hockey since 2010, has covered the Arizona Coyotes since 2015, and has been playing hockey since 2020. So far, Louis has visited eight NHL cities, and one of his personal goals is to eventually make it to all 31 NHL arenas. For any questions or concerns, contact the writer via Twitter @LouisPannone.