Monday Morning Howl: Domi Returns, Coyotes Defeat Sharks

The Arizona Coyotes got their week started on Tuesday night at Gila River Arena against the rival Los Angeles Kings, and would hold leads of both 1-0 and 2-1 during the contest. However, they were unable to hold on for their fourth consecutive victory as they allowed a late power play goal to Kings defenseman Jake Muzzin to lose for the first time since Jan. 19 by the score of 3-2.

Following Tuesday’s disappointing loss to the Kings, the Coyotes looked to get back on track against the vaunted Chicago Blackhawks on Thursday in Glendale in the final game of the team’s five-game homestand. However, they were unable to overcome a 3-0 first-period deficit and dropped their second consecutive game, 4-3.

The Coyotes then headed up Northern California on Saturday looking to turn things around against the San Jose Sharks and received goals from Shane Doan and Ryan White in regulation and got help from Brendan Perlini and Radim Vrbata in the shootout to salvage their week with a 3-2 victory.

A Short Break

Following their victory over the San Jose Sharks on Saturday, the Coyotes will enjoy a four-day break from game action before getting back to work against the Montreal Canadiens on Thursday at Gila River Arena. Montreal defeated the Coyotes 5-2 at the Bell Centre earlier this season and will be looking to complete the season sweep in 2016-17 after being swept by the Coyotes last season. Puck drop is scheduled for 7:00 P.M local time in Glendale.

The Coyotes will then wrap up their week on Saturday as they’ll host Sidney Crosby and the defending Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins. Since defeating the Penguins 2-1 on Opening Night of the 2015-16 season at Gila River Arena, the Coyotes have been utterly dominated by Pittsburgh; they were shut out in the two most recent matchups between the teams and have allowed 13 goals over that span. Puck drop is scheduled for 6:00 P.M. local time in Glendale.

Domi Returns to the Lineup

After missing nearly two months due to a hand injury, Coyotes forward Max Domi returned to the lineup on Thursday against the Chicago Blackhawks and immediately rejuvenated what had been a stagnant Coyotes offense. Although he didn’t record a point during either of the two contests he played in last week, his speed and skill provided a scoring threat that the team had been sorely missing in his absence.

Although the 21-year-old appeared to be a bit rusty during last week’s action, there’s no question that the Coyotes are a more potent offensive team with him in the lineup. While it’s hard to tell a passionate player like Domi to lower his level of intensity while he’s on the ice, it might be in the Coyotes’ best interests to have someone other than their most skilled forward drop the gloves when the need arises. The Coyotes simply can’t afford to lose their star for an extended period of time again in the future if they wish to remain competitive.

Pacific Division Roundup

The Anaheim Ducks and Edmonton Oilers stumbled a bit last week and allowed San Jose to open up a three-point lead in the Pacific. Here’s how Arizona’s other division rivals fared last week:

Anaheim Ducks (28-16-10, 66 points)

  • Last week: 1-1-1
  • Analysis: The Ducks have continued to struggle with consistency as of late; they’re just 2-3-1 in their last six games and haven’t defeated a playoff team since a 4-3 shootout victory over the Philadelphia Flyers on New Years Day.
  • Player of the week: Jakob Silfverberg – 2 goals, 2 assists, shootout goal
  • This week: Tue at NYR, Thu at BUF, Sat at WSH

Calgary Flames (27-25-3, 57 points)

  • Last week: 2-1-0
  • Analysis: The Flames picked up two big victories last week and remain two points ahead of the St. Louis Blues for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference. They’ll be back in action against the Penguins in Pittsburgh on Tuesday before starting their bye week.
  • Player of the week: T.J. Brodie – 5 assists, +2
  • This week: Tue at PIT

Edmonton Oilers (29-18-8, 66 points)

  • Last week: 1-3-0
  • Analysis: The Oilers dropped their first three games of the week in regulation, but salvaged things a bit with a 1-0 shootout victory over the Montreal Canadiens at the Bell Centre on Sunday. They’ll begin their bye week on Monday and will return to action on Saturday against the Chicago Blackhawks.
  • Player of the week: Adam Larsson – Goal, assist, 6 shots
  • This week: Sat vs CHI

Los Angeles Kings (27-22-4, 58 points)

  • Last week: 3-1-0
  • Analysis: Peter Budaj has single-handedly kept the Kings in playoff contention this season after the injury to Jonathan Quick; he picked up three more victories last week and now leads the league in shutouts with seven.
  • Player of the week: Peter Budaj – 3-1-0 record, 80 saves on 86 shots (.930 SV%), 2 shutouts
  • This week: Tue at TB, Thu at FLA

San Jose Sharks (33-17-3, 69 points)

  • Last week: 2-0-1
  • Analysis: The Sharks picked up five points in three games last week, and have opened up a three-point lead in the Pacific Division over the second-place Ducks and Oilers. Next up: a tough Eastern Conference road trip consisting of four games in six nights.
  • Player of the week: Patrick Marleau – 2 goals, 2 assists, +2, scored 500th career NHL goal
  • This week: Tue at BUF, Thu at BOS, Sat at PHI, Sun at NJ

Vancouver Canucks (23-23-6, 52 points)

  • Last week: 0-2-0
  • Analysis: With four regulation defeats in their last five contests, the Vancouver Canucks have dropped out of playoff contention in the Pacific. They’ll need to get things turned around this week, but, with four road games on the schedule, it won’t be easy, as Vancouver has won just six times away from home this season.
  • Players of the week: Brandon Sutter – 2 goals
  • This week: Tue at NSH, Thu at CBJ, Sat at BOS, Sun at BUF

The Coyotes played well in all three of their games last week, but they were only rewarded with a single victory on Saturday night in San Jose. They’ve made clear progress over the past few weeks, and the return of Max Domi should help them continue to play competitive hockey.