The Arizona Coyotes are in Ohio on Tuesday night, and will remain on the road for their next three games thereafter. They will be looking to shake off a couple of losses after falling against the Vegas Golden Knights and San Jose Sharks. Arizona got a point off the Knights, as they took the game to overtime in a 1-1 game, but the Knights got the bonus marker on Friday night. They had a tough spot the next day on a back-to-back against the Sharks, which didn’t go their way in a 4-2 loss. The Coyotes are attempting to be the breakout and surprise team of 2019-20. It never fails that one or two teams come out of the woods in the NHL. An expansion team was able to accomplish that much. The way I see it, the Coyotes are probably a fringe playoff team by the end of the season.
The playoffs seem like a realistic goal for this Coyotes team. They went into the final month of the regular season a year ago competing, but finished 4 points out of the last seed in the Western Conference. You have to remember that the Coyotes were a 29-41-12 team only two seasons ago. They showed major strides forward with a record of 39-35-8 in 2018-19 after a last place finish in the Western Conference. The fact they finished 4 points behind the Avalanche for a spot in the playoffs was an accomplishment. Now it’s time for everything to come together and get over the hump. If they fail to reach the postseason this season, I still wouldn’t feel bad about their future.
Arizona are on the right course and should be a competitive team for the next several years. While sitting at the bottom of the league, the Coyotes were stockpiling young talent and building up for the future. The future is here and the next step for the Coyotes should be even brighter than now. The Yotes are littered with young talent on their roster, including Americans Nick Schmaltz, Clayton Keller, and Christian Dvorak. If the NHL were to go back to the Olympics, there’d be a healthy number of Yotes on Team USA. Phil Kessel, Alex Goligoski, and Conor Garland are also American, though Kessel and Goligoski are senior citizens in comparison to the rest of the roster.
The Coyotes sport a record of 15-9-4 heading into tonight. That is good for 2nd in the Pacific Division, as they trail the Oilers by 3 points. Conversely, the Blue Jackets are next to last in the Metropolitan and are unlikely to go to the playoffs. This is a team who could have tanked at the trade deadline and sold, but they didn’t up buying, which could hurt them in a few years time. Artemi Panarin and Sergei Bobrovsky along would have fetched nice prospects. In other words, hopefully that sweep of the Lightning in the first-round was worth it. Head below for our free Coyotes vs. Blue Jackets pick.
NHL Awards Odds, Predictions and Value Picks
Arizona Coyotes vs. Columbus Blue Jackets Betting Odds:
Coyotes vs. Blue Jackets Prediction:
The Coyotes don’t utilize the most exciting system. If you’re looking to get into hockey, watching the Coyotes play probably isn’t the best idea. They like to ugly games up and not give much room on the ice defensively. Rick Tocchet knows the strength of his team, and he’s relied on putting other teams to sleep with suffocating defence. Keep possession of the puck and the Coyotes have been able to force other teams into their style of play. It’s helped the Coyotes out by allowing just 2.32 goals per game. The Bruins have Rask between the pipes, while the Coyotes have Darcy Kuemper.
Rask and Kuemper looks like a major mismatch, but Kuemper has been holding his own and actually has the better numbers. Kuemper owns a terrific Vezina worthy GAA of 1.97 GAA and 0.935 save percentage in 18 outings. He is probable to get the nod in the crease against the Blue Jackets tonight. He’s been solid against the Jackets in five starts with a 2.20 GAA and 0.929 save percentage. Kuemper made 30 saves on 33 shots in their first meeting this season in a 3-2 loss. Joonas Korpisalo is likely to counter Kuemper on Tuesday. He has been okay playing as a borderline No. 1.
Korpisalo is getting his first shot as a starting netminder following the departure of Bobrovsky. It’s been a step down, but the entire team has been a step down, so Bobrovsky certainly had a better team around him to lean on. Korpisalo has posted a 2.83 GAA and 0.903 save percentage in 20 outings. The Jackets are 19th in the league with 3.04 goals against per game. John Tortorella doesn’t have much to work with on this team, or at least, not anything close to the talent at his disposal a season ago.
The goal scoring has been down for the Blue Jackets, which is to be expected. You don’t lose Panarin and expect more offence. Columbus are 28th in the league with only 2.54 goals scored per game. The Yotes aren’t much better at 2.64 goals per game, but their style of play relies on winning a lot of 3-2 and 2-1 games. They get up and then put the clamps down on defence. Look for something similar in Columbus tonight. Arizona have not played well the last two games, and I think they should be able to wake up in the first of a four-game road trip. At least, the Coyotes have a better chance to win than the odds would suggest, providing some value on Arizona here.