The Arizona Coyotes and Anaheim Ducks clash at the Honda Center on Wednesday night in California. Barring some miraculous comeback by the Ducks, this game is only important to one team this evening. The Coyotes must treat every game as significant going forward. They’re in a heated battle in the Pacific Division with a record of 26-20-5 going into Anaheim.
That gives them 57 points on the season for a three-way tie with the Oilers and Golden Knights. With the Flames picking up a point in an overtime loss against the Blues last night to move slightly ahead to 58 points. Everybody is trying to catch the Vancouver Canucks, who sit atop the Pacific with 60 points.
This hasn’t been the best division in hockey by any means, but it’s shaping up to be a thrilling conclusion in the Pacific. I don’t know if anyone from here is going to be going to the Stanley Cup Final, but as wide open as the playoffs are in the NHL, all it could take is a ticket to the postseason to get there.
The Coyotes are trying to ride a wave of youthful talent and wily veterans to get them over the hump. Nick Schmaltz and Clayton Keller are only 23 and 21, but lead the team in points with 35 and 33 points. Then on the flip side, there’s Phil Kessel who is 32 years old with 31 points, and the recent addition of 28-year-old Taylor Hall to the forwards.
Hall was traded for to provide a lift offensively, and he’s been able to achieve that for the Coyotes. He enters Wednesday with 13 goals and 27 assists on the season for 40 points. If we’re going to include Hall’s time with the Devils, then he is by far the leading point getter on the club.
Hall scored 6 goals and 19 assists in 30 games with the Devils, and he’s already up to 7 goals and 8 assists in only 16 games with the Coyotes. He’s playing on a better team now, as well as some more drive to perform on a competitive team. If you recall, Hall went through the motions late in his career with the Oilers. It sort of felt like the same scenario with the Devils, too.
The Ducks are clinging to hope that they can stage a crazy comeback to get to the playoffs. With the Ducks at 19-25-5 and 43 points, it’s highly unlikely that this team can find a way in, though. They are likely best suited to be sell at the deadline and continue to go through with the rebuilding process.
Defenceman John Manson may be the most likely candidate to get shipped out. Cam Fowler’s contract makes him unmovable, but the 28-year-old Manson might be worth a look for contenders. Goaltender Ryan Miller could be a movable asset as well. Head below for our free Coyotes vs. Ducks pick.
Arizona Coyotes vs. Anaheim Ducks Betting Odds:
Coyotes vs. Ducks Prediction:
For everything that the Coyotes were doing right, it was clear that they needed help in the offensive zone. With Taylor Hall hoping somebody would come and rescue him from New Jersey, the Coyotes came calling to give him a new home in the desert. Hall’s first game with the Coyotes was back on December 17th against the Sharks in San Jose. Since that game the Coyotes have scored at least 3 goals in 10 of 16 games for an average of 3.3 goals scored per game.
Overall on the season, the Coyotes have averaged 2.76 goals per game, so Hall in the lineup has helped the offence drastically. However, since his arrival, the Coyotes have been getting a little too lazy in the defensive end, and have been without their starting netminder. They’ve been taking more chances of late, but giving it up on the other side of the ice. Note that the Coyotes have virtually allowed the same, with 3.4 goals against since the Hall trade.
In the Coyotes’ previous ten games, they’ve been solid offensively, with 3.1 goals scored per game. However, giving it back up defensively has been a problem for them recently. The Yotes have yielded 3 goals per game in their last ten to pretty well erase their offensive efficiency. More of an offensive approach with Hall in the lineup shouldn’t be solely blamed, though. No Darcy Kuemper between the pipes has become a problem.
Kuemper was an All-Star in the first-half of the season, though hasn’t played a game since December 19th, just around the same time that Hall arrived in Arizona. Kuemper left in December with a 2.17 GAA and 0.929 save percentage. Raanta has been unable to duplicate that production, as he enters Wednesday with a 2.94 GAA and 0.912 save percentage. He’s allowed 9 goals in his last two outings alone.
If the Coyotes have to take more of an offensive approach again tonight, they should make out alright, though. The Ducks have allowed 3+ goals per game this season, and Arizona has found holes in their defence in the past. Note that the Yotes have scored at least 4 goals in three of their previous meetings, along with at least 3 goals in five of seven games.
Dating back to December 29 of 2018, there’s been a total average of 6 goals a game scored between the Coyotes and Ducks. And keep in mind that this was involving Coyotes teams with a lot less of an offensive punch that they possess now. They met earlier this month on January 2, with the Coyotes earning a 4-2 win in the desert. Even with the heavy juice, a total of 5 doesn’t look high enough. Consider a play on the OVER in Anaheim on Wednesday night.