Key Observations Heading Into Game 72 Between the Coyotes and the Penguins

Gameday Report - Game 72

Gameday Report – Game 72

By: Jim Meinecke

Tonight marks the first game in a two game season series with the Arizona Coyotes. The Penguins will be wrapping up a mini three game road trip, and they look to bounce back after a miserable stretch of games. They are 0-4-0 in their last four games and have been outscored 11-2 during that stretch. It was a set of games marred by injuries (Malkin, Hornqvist) and some incredibly bad luck, which we will get to a bit later. The Penguins are hoping one of the league’s worst teams in the Coyotes can cure some of their recent ills.

The Penguins will play their final game with Arizona one week from today at Consol. As I mentioned, the Penguins are struggling as of late and are dangerously close to falling to one of the wild card spots in the Eastern Conference. They are currently tied with the Capitals at 88 points for third in the Metropolitan Division. The Penguins will look to generate some offense against the Coyotes 28th ranked defense that is giving up 3.3 goals per game. It will be crucial for the team to look for some early momentum after only scoring 2 goals in their last 240 minutes of hockey. Some of that is because Malkin and Hornqvist are noticeably missing from the lineup, but a lot of it has been bad luck. As Jesse Marshall tweeted yesterday, the Penguins’ PDO (a numerical measure of luck), has been downright awful the last four games:

 

Some interesting March Stats

Some interesting March Stats

 

Some great information from Jesse here and a sign that things may turn around fairly shortly for the Penguins. In many ways, they are driving play, but they have not been rewarded very much for their efforts. It will be helpful if they can keep their emotions in check and stop making it easy for the officials to call penalties on them. They will also look to take advantage of any power play situation against the league’s 5th worst penalty killing squad at 78.5%.

Arizona has not had much to celebrate this season. They currently sit in 29th at 50 points with Buffalo the only team lower at 47 points. They are one of four teams already eliminated from postseason contention (Toronto, Buffalo, and Edmonton are the others). They have the second worst goal differential in the league at -89. Again, Buffalo is the only team worse at -101. Additionally, they are 1-8-1 in their last ten games. They are also currently on a six-game losing streak. The only area that the Penguins will need to watch out for is the Coyotes power play. They are ranked 7th in the league at 20.5%, but have only scored in two of their last ten games (14.2%).

As I mentioned, the Coyotes are the exact team the Penguins need to see right now. They need to come out early and get some momentum and have a complete game against a very bad Coyotes team. Look for Marc-Andre Fleury to have a big game with the Coyotes only averaging 2 goals per game for the season. Even with a Penguins team that is missing two of its biggest stars in Malkin and Hornqvist, the Coyotes are a team they should beat easily. If they don’t, they will only have themselves to blame. Either way, one of these teams sees their losing streak end tonight at 9PM on ROOT Sports.


Thanks for reading!