It was the biggest game of the season for the Arizona Coyotes. A win against the Colorado Avalanche would push them forward and allow Arizona to control their destiny. But while a 3-2 shootout loss doesn’t mean that the Coyotes are officially eliminated from contention, the chances that the Coyotes will make the playoffs are a lot slimmer.
A consistent problem for the Coyotes this season has been the lack of a consistent offense and a struggling power play. They were given numerous chances to score on the power play but failed to find the back of the net. If you want to see how important the power play is, both of the Colorado goals came on power plays in the second period.
Oliver Ekman-Larsson would have his biggest game though, scoring both the Coyotes goals to tie the game in the third. But it would prove to not be enough, with Arizona falling to the Avalanche in the shootout with no Coyotes scoring. While the Coyotes would get a point, Colorado getting two likely gives them the final Wild Card spot.
Like the Coyotes, the Minnesota Wild are still technically in the playoff race, but its not looking good for them either. They had numerous chances to take the spot, but they have struggled in the past few weeks. In their last nine games they have a 3-5-1 record, with most of those games against some very tough teams. But if the Avalanche falter in the final stretch the Wild are still in a good position to take the spot.
The Wild’s offense is also pretty terrible this season. They are 27th in the league, one spot above the Coyotes, having scored only 205 goals this season. They are better defensively, 12th in goals against having allowed 222 goals. Surprisingly enough the Wild’s power play is pretty good (11th, 21.0%) and they have a decent penalty kill (9th, 81.3%). Special teams may prove to the difference maker this game and Minnesota appears to have the edge.
Players to Watch
Arizona: Oliver Ekman-Larsson - The Coyotes’ captain has struggled a bit this season with his added responsibilities but he had a huge game against the Avalanche. With five games left he has already surpassed his point total from last season.
Minnesota: Eric Staal scored on the power play in the Wild’s last game and has 22 goals on the season. Staal was stellar last season with 42 goals, though this season’s 22 goals is closer to what he typically scores.
Will the Coyotes score a power play goal tonight?
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