On Thursday Night, Arizona matched up against the Ottawa Senators. It was yet another Reverse Retro night for the Coyotes at the Mullett in Tempe. The Senators came into the game 18-19-3, looking to get to .500 on the year. Arizona entered the arena on a 6-game losing streak, dating back to December. The teams have played once this year already, where Ottawa cruised to a 6-2 Victory against Arizona. The First goal came off the stick of Brady Tkachuk. Matthew and Brady… well, let’s just say the whole Tkachuk group seemed to dominate Arizona. Almost eight minutes into the game, Stutzle and Debrincat set up Tkachuk for the goal. It went downhill quickly after that. Clayton Keller, who has been flustered, frustrated, and boiling over because of the Coyotes recent play, changed the game. After a dead play, Keller was seen lunging his stick at another player’s neck area. Obviously provoked by the uncalled cross-checks he took right before it happened, Keller was assessed a major for cross-checking. He would head off for game misconduct and never come back. Regardless of the provocation, it was not a smart move by Keller, and he was given the maximum fine of $5,000 by the NHL. The good news being he did not receive a suspension of any kind.
Onto the Senators powerplay, the Coyotes had a good series of shifts on the penalty kill. They gave up one unassisted goal to Brassard on the five minute kill. After how bad the game seemed to be going, the Coyotes managed to limp into the locker room only down two. Although being outshot 15-8. The fun began in the second, considering Arizona is not a first period team. Our young star Dylan Guenther got a good look in the slot to score. Set up by a great effort from Valimaki and Fischer, Guenther scored on easily the best shot of the game. A beautiful wrist shot that beat the goalie top left. It had some heat on it, going bar-down for a momentum-shifting goal. Dylan had an impressive two point night. After the goal, Arizona had an edge to their play. They played with purpose and intensity. Barrett Hayton had the best opportunity to equalize the game. He was robbed by a fantastic save from Forsberg and the endless pressure Arizona applied just never correlated with the scoreboard. With just two minutes left in the period, DeBrincat put the dagger in the Coyotes team, moving the senators up 3-1 going into the third period.
The third period was a fun one to watch. Lawson Crouse started the action off with a goal assisted by Guenther and Bjugstad. The Senators came back with a goal from Mark Kastelic, and the game was back to a 2-goal difference. This period also saw Shayne, another Coyotes player, sent to the locker room for game misconduct. It still didn’t stop Arizona from bringing the game back to a one-goal game when Barrett Hayton found the net. His third straight game with a goal and his ninth point in the last eight games. However, with only three minutes left, the game seemed to be over. Artem Zub hit the empty net, and Arizona took the 5-3 loss to Ottawa. Karel Vejmelka saved 42/46 shots and was busy all night long. The Coyotes were able to match the Senators energy after the first but ultimately lost their seventh straight game.
The only thing about Thursday night that helped me not cry myself to sleep was the Blackhawks. They have now won three straight and beat the Avalanche that night. The gap between us was eleven points, and now it has narrowed to five. Anyways, moving on to tonight! The Coyotes have a chance to end the streak against the Wild. The Wild are coming off their victory versus the Islanders. Let’s be brutally honest, if any team owns the Coyotes… it’s Minnesota. We simply CANNOT beat the Wild. To be factual, we are 2-13 in the last 15 games against Minnesota, dating back to 2019. Playing in Minnesota is tough. Kaprizov is already over 50 points, and both goalies are playing exceptionally well. There are zero reasons to have hope for the Coyotes here. Vegas sure doesn’t, throwing out the Wild as a -385 favorite. However, it is my job and my guilty pleasure to have hope for this team. Here is why the Coyotes can beat Minnesota.
Arizona is, as mentioned, on a seven-game losing streak, and they have not been close to ending it yet. They have lost by two or more goals in every loss during this stretch. Good news, the last time we played the Wild, we lost 4-3. Well, how is it good news… we lost. Yes, BUT we battled until the end. Kaprizov was on an insane point streak and scored a goal in the first for Minnesota. We could only put up 23 shots that game, but we battled. We capitalized on the shots we did get. Down 4-1, the Coyotes scored two goals in the last four minutes of the game to storm back. They had a chance but could not get the equalizer. Schmaltz, Crouse and JJ Moser all scored that game. Not to mention, Goalie Connor Ingram started that game for the Coyotes. He has been disappointing, boasting a .886 save percentage and a 2-8-1 record. He has only had two games out of 11 where he held the other team under four goals total. If Arizona will battle, play a clean game and take care of the puck, we have a chance. Way too many penalties last game, and Minnesota is a team that will hurt you on the powerplay. Do I think we will win this game? No. Can we play the Wild close tonight? Yes. The Puck drops at 8 PM Eastern, so we will just have to see for ourselves. Bedard… we are coming and coming fast.