The Arizona Coyotes look to put a stamp on a hot run before the All-Star break in Montreal. They can win their sixth victory in eight games against the Canadiens tonight. If they play well in the second-half and they can maintain a reasonable pace, this team has a chance of going to the playoffs. It seemed farfetched only a month ago, but their recent run of success has put them in a position that sets up a potential push as we get closer to the spring.
It’s going to be difficult, especially with Antti Raanta between the pipes for an extended period. Early reports suggest that Raanta is going to be gone for the season. He’s played a pivotal role in getting the Coyotes into a decent position this season. Raanta is certainly responsible for more than a few wins.
Darcy Kuemper is going to be the primary starter for the rest of the year. Backing him up is going to be Calvin Pickard, or at least, initially. If Pickard struggles, like he’s done this season with the Flyers, Adin Hill will likely get called up to Arizona again.
A lot of people were expecting Hill to be the backup, but they’re going to opt for experience and Pickard. This is the third team he’s been with this season. He was preparing on going into the year with the Maple Leafs, got canned, and then the desperate Flyers acquired him.
His team in Philadelphia went horribly, and even with the dire goaltending situation, the Flyers had enough and let him go. Maybe he can find some positive results with a change of scenery in the desert. The Canadiens haven’t played since Saturday, so they’ve had some extra time to prepare for the Coyotes. Head below for our free Coyotes vs. Canadiens pick in the final day before the All-Star break.
Arizona Coyotes vs. Montreal Canadiens Pick
The Senators put some stress on the Coyotes in the 3rd last night, but Arizona were able to preserve a 3-2 win. Craig Anderson would like to have that 3rd goal back. He wasn’t totally sharp in the loss and he could have come up bigger for his team. Conversely, Kuemper made all the key saves the Coyotes needed and it ended up being the difference. The Coyotes are likely going to need more help from their offence, though.
With Pickard most likely starting here, there’s going to be more pressure on Arizona to find the back of the net. Pickard hasn’t played since November and left off with a 4.01 GAA and 0.863 save percentage. His last appearance was a terrible effort against the Leafs. He allowed 4 goals on 6 shots which promptly got him benched.
Kuemper might be able to play fine enough in net, but if the Coyotes don’t get any support from a backup it’s going to be tough on them. Either Pickard or Hill are going to need to play reasonable enough in net. With the Canadiens have extra time off going into tonight, Pickard is likely to see lots of action around his net.
This is the fifth game on the road for the Coyotes in their last seven games. They’ve been great up to this point, exceeding their overall averages thus far. On the season, the Coyotes have averaged just over 2 and a half goals per game on the road this season.
I think they’re going to need more than 3 goals to beat the Habs tonight. However, Carey Price has been hot recently, and Montreal have allowed just 2 goals per game in their previous ten outings. Look for the Canadiens to put an end to the Coyotes fun tonight. They should feel fresh and ready to down a road weary Arizona club at the Bell Centre.