The NHL is set up with another solid night of action on Thursday night. Thirteen games are up on the board throughout Thursday night. One of these matchups will be between the Arizona Coyotes and the Vancouver Canucks. These two teams are tight in the Pacific Division race and will look to get a leg up in the season series with a win. This game will start at around 10:00 PM Eastern time.
Arizona has started the season with a record of 26-18-5, which has them in first place of the Pacific Division. The Edmonton Oilers and the Calgary Flames are right behind them though, only two points behind. The Coyotes won their last game, which ended a small three game losing streak. Arizona will look to build upon that with a win on Thursday night.
The Canucks have posted a record of 25-18-4 to open up this season. Vancouver is currently tied for fourth place in the division with the Vegas Golden Knights. The Canucks are tied for a wild card spot right now as well. Vancouver lost in their last game and have lost three of their last five. The Canucks will look to bounce back with a win at home against the Coyotes.
These two teams have had solid starts to the season and will look to hold onto their playoff spots with a win on Thursday night. This will be the first meeting of the season series between these two teams, which should be a good one. Neither team is coming into this game hot, but this win could help propel them onto a winning streak.
The Coyotes and the Canucks met up four times throughout last season. Arizona hosted the first game of the season series. Nine different players tallied a point for the Coyotes as Darcy Kuemper stopped 27 of the 28 shots against him to help Arizona win 4-1. The second game shifted to Vancouver. Richard Panik scored two goals and an assist, including the game winner in overtime to give the Coyotes a 4-3 win.
The third game of the season series stayed in Vancouver. Alex Galchenyuk scored the game winner in overtime for his second point of the night to help give Arizona a nice 3-2 win. The final game of the season series shifted back to Arizona. Brad Richardson scored four goals, while Vinnie Hinostroza and Richard Panik had three assists each. The Coyotes finished the series sweep with a 5-2 win.
Arizona has won six of their last seven games against the Canucks over the past two seasons. The Coyotes have been on a strong streak against Vancouver despite both teams missing out on the playoffs over the past few seasons. Both teams are fighting for a playoff spot this season, which should help bump up the intensity in this one.
The Coyotes special teams have been off to a strong start so far this season. Arizona has capitalized on around 30 of their 149 power play chances, which is a 20.1 percent power play success rate. The Coyotes have allowed 24 goals on their opponents 137 opportunities this season, which is an 82.5 percent kill rate.
Vancouver’s power play has been doing well to open up this season. The Canucks have scored on 41 of their 174 power play attempts this season, which is a 23.6 percent success rate. Vancouver’s penalty kill has been strong throughout this season as well. The Canucks have held opposing teams to 31 power play goals on 157 chances, which is an 80.3 percent penalty kill.
These two teams match up really well on special teams in this one. The Canucks power play has been strong, but so has Arizona’s penalty kill. On the other side, both the Coyotes power play and Vancouver’s penalty kill has been around the league average. Vancouver has drawn a lot of penalties on the season and if they can draw a few against the Coyotes, I think it could give them the edge in this one.
I expect Antti Raanta to get the nod in the crease for Arizona on Thursday night. Raanta has earned a record of 9-9-2 through his 20 starts this season. He has posted a save percentage of .919 and a 2.72 GAA. Raanta’s last start came against the Carolina Hurricanes, where he stopped 25 of the 28 shots he faced in a losing effort.
Jacob Markstrom will likely get the start in net for the Canucks in this matchup. Markstrom has gone 17-13-3 through his 33 starts this season. He has put up a .914 save percentage and a GAA of 2.77 through those 33 starts. Markstrom’s last start came against the Winnipeg Jets. He turned away 21 of the 24 shots he faced in route to a loss.
These two goalies have had solid starts to this season. In three of his last four starts, Raanta has had a save percentage above .900, while Markstrom has been below a .900 in three of his last four starts. I expect both goalies to come out strong in this one. If Markstrom can bounce back in a big way though, I believe he could give the Canucks the edge.
These two teams are right in the thick of the Pacific Division race right now, but I believe that the Canucks have a good chance to end their losing streak against the Coyotes in this one. Vancouver has a solid edge on special teams if they can draw some penalties. If Markstrom can perform well, with this game being at home, I think the Canucks could earn a huge win.
BetOnline has Vancouver listed as a -111 against the money line. This implies that the Canucks will win this game around 52.6 percent of the time. With this game being in Vancouver, I think that this line is right. The Canucks got shut out in their last game and I expect their offense to come out hot looking for an early goal. If Vancouver can control this game, I really like them to earn the win at home.