The Arizona Coyotes and Dallas Stars will go toe-to-toe at the American Airlines Center on Wednesday night. The Coyotes don’t know if they’re going to be going to the playoffs, while the Stars likely are and will be playing for a better seed down the stretch. If the playoffs started today, the Coyotes would be the last team in the Western Conference playoffs. With the Jets winning last night, there is company to deal with, however. The Coyotes own a record of 30-24-8 and 68 points. That has them in a tie with the Calgary Flames and a point ahead of the Jets.
There is no room to breathe in the Pacific Division. The Coyotes might be a point off from missing out on the playoffs, but they are also just 2 points back of the Edmonton Oilers for 1st in the division. Anything could happen for the Coyotes, with four possible scenarios playing out. I don’t think the Coyotes wanted to be in this position, at least when they traded for Taylor Hall. That was a move to put them ahead of the division, not remain stationary and have to fight for a wildcard. That said, the Coyotes could still win the whole division and go on a run in the playoffs. That’s likely going to require a healthy Darcy Kuemper.
With doubt in the air in the desert, the Coyotes might entertain the idea of trading Hall. There are rumours circulating that the Coyotes are going to be listening to offers for him. If the front office is convinced that they’ll have a healthy Kuemper in the final turn of the regular season and playoffs, keeping Hall might be the move. He is nearing a return, but there are no indications when that might be. Antti Raanta has been outstanding the last two games, which might allow the Coyotes to be cautious with running Kuemper out there too soon.
The Stars were able to reel the Blues in recently and get into a tie at 74 points. It was short lived after the Blue won last night, though. The Blues regained the lead in the Central Division, but Dallas is in a good spot at the moment. Despite a bad 4-3 loss against the Senators in overtime recently, the Stars have played like a playoff team of late. They’ve won four of their last five games to get to 34-19-6 on the season. If Ben Bishop can get hot in the playoffs, the Stars might be able to get further than they did last season. Last season ended on a Game 7 loss against the eventual Stanley Cup champion Blues. Head below for our free Coyotes vs. Stars pick.
Arizona Coyotes vs. Dallas Stars Betting Odds:
Coyotes vs. Stars Prediction:
Antti Raanta hasn’t been at his best for the Coyotes this season, but he was there when they needed him against the Capitals and Islanders. Raanta stopped 64 of 66 shots in total to finish with a save percentage above 0.96 in both outings. He has just been really inconsistent and unable to string a couple of good weeks together. Raanta owns a 2.70 GAA and 0.919 save percentage. He’s been incredibly better at home versus on the road. Note that both of those two games were in the desert. However, Raanta has struggled on the road with a 3.35 GAA and 0.903 save percentage as opposed to a 2.05 GAA and 0.936 save percentage at home.
If Raanta gets the start, he’s going to be under pressure to keep up with Ben Bishop in net. Bishop has been exceptional at American Airlines Center, having posted a 2.06 GAA and 0.933 save percentage in 23 starts. Backup Anton Khudobin has only made six appearances at home, but has been exceptional as well with a 1.40 GAA and 0.944 save percentage. As a team, the Stars have yielded just 2.53 goals per game for 3rd in the league. The defensive effort gets much better at home, where the Stars have allowed only 2.18 goals per game. Against an offensively dysfunctional Coyotes squad, the defence should be able to hold their own Wednesday.
The Coyotes are 25th in the league with 2.69 goals scored per game. It’s been much worse on the road, as the Coyotes have found the back of the net an average of just 2.41 times per game. That’s certainly not what they were looking for when the Yotes opted to trade for Taylor Hall. Arizona has managed to score just 2.4 goals per game in their last ten games. That’s not going to get it done. Even if Kuemper returns and doesn’t miss a beat, goals are going to have to come from somewhere. Their likely isn’t going to be a lot of goals for the Coyotes tonight. Expect them to struggle to score the puck against the Stars on the road. This looks like a 3-1 or 3-2 win for the Stars on Wednesday in Texas.