The NHL is set to end the weekend of hockey with a total of seven games on the board on Sunday. One of the games set for January 6 will be the New York Rangers and the Arizona Coyotes. Both teams are sitting outside of the playoff picture right now, but will look to make a step towards getting back in with a win on Sunday afternoon. The puck will drop at 4:00 PM Eastern time.
New York has started the season out with a record of 17-16-7. The Rangers are in the fifth spot in the Metropolitan Division and eight points out of the playoff picture. New York has lost back to back game to the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Colorado Avalanche each by five goals. The Rangers will look to bounce back from those to blowout losses with a road victory.
The Coyotes have gone 17-21-3 to open up the new season, which currently has them in seventh place of the Pacific Division. Arizona had a promising start to the season, but have hit road bumps since. The Coyotes have lost three games in a row. Arizona will look for their home fans to help propel them to a win on Sunday afternoon.
Sunday afternoon’s matchup between the Rangers and the Coyotes will be the second and final game of the season series. Neither team has played well recently, but each team will get a chance to turn it around on Sunday afternoon. New York has been off to a stronger start this season and I believe it could help propel them to a victory against the Coyotes on the road.
Last season, New York and Arizona met up twice with each team hosting a game. The Rangers hosted the first game of the season series. New York was able to pull off a 5-2 win in front of their home fans. The final matchup of the season series was much closer in Arizona. The Rangers were able to take the game 2-1 in a shootout though.
New York hosted the first matchup of this season’s series on December 14. Kevin Hayes and Mika Zibanejad each had a goal and an assist for the Rangers, but in the end, it was not enough. Derek Stepan scored the game winner and added an assist against his former team. Clayton Keller and Nick Schmaltz each had two assists. The Coyotes were able to pull off the 4-3 win in overtime.
The Rangers had a nice long winning streak against Arizona before their loss earlier in the season. New York will look to pull off a road victory to try and build up another winning streak. The Rangers have been a much more competitive team in the recent years though, while the Coyotes have been in a rebuild for what feels like forever.
New York has avoided most injuries this season. The Rangers only big injury is Kevin Hayes, who is likely out against the Coyotes. Hayes is second on the team in points with 33 points this season. He is tied for third in goals with 10 this season. If New York is missing Hayes, it would hurt the Rangers lineup.
The Coyotes have been hit pretty hard with injuries this season. Arizona is without Dave Bolland, Kevin Connauton, Jason Demers, Christian Dvorak, Michael Grabner and Nick Schmaltz for their tilt with the Rangers. The Coyotes are also missing former New York Rangers goalie Antti Raanta. All of these players would really help strengthen the depth on Arizona’s roster.
While New York is without one of their best players this season, the Rangers injury doesn’t even come close to Arizona’s injury problems. Not only are the Coyotes missing multiple key depth players, but they are also missing their starting goaltender. Arizona will need players to step up to overcome their injury problems to get the win.
I believe that Henrik Lundqvist will get the start in net on Sunday afternoon. Lundqvist has put up a 12-10-7 record in his starts so far this season. He has posted a save percentage of .911 and a 2.94 GAA this season. Lundqvist has been crowned the king for his excellent goaltending in his career and the Rangers will need him to do it again if they want to get the road win.
Darcy Kuemper will likely get the nod in net against the Rangers on Sunday. Kuemper has a poor record of 5-11-3 in his 19 starts this season. His numbers have been better than his record though. Kuemper has a .910 save percentage and a GAA of 2.83. He will need to put up a solid performance if he wants to outduel Lundqvist.
These two goalies are both pretty even when it comes to stats this season. The big difference in these two goalies is the record that each of them has put up for their respective teams. Lundqvist has the better team, which has helped him get the better record. He has also been a big leader for the Rangers. He will look for this to give him the edge over Kuemper in net.
New York and Arizona are both coming into Sunday afternoon’s matchup on losing streaks. The Rangers got dominated in their last two losses and often times after a team is blown out, they are able to bounce back with a win. I believe that New York’s goaltending and lack of injuries will be able to help them get back in the win column on Sunday.
BetOnline has Arizona listed as a -127 against the money line on Sunday afternoon. This implies that the Coyotes are going to win this game 56 percent of the time. With how each team is playing, I believe that each team should be listed closer to an even money line. I believe that this gives the Rangers a lot of value on the road. I am taking the Rangers as road underdogs.