The Winnipeg Jets have managed to scrap to a 4-3-0 record and are in a second place tie in the Central Division lead despite not playing particularly well in the early part of the season. It helps that they’ve played more games than the team they’re tied with–1 more than St. Louis. The fact that they’ve played two more games than undefeated Colorado and have 2 fewer points tells the real story. This isn’t a major hockey handicapping revelation but when you see a team with a winning record and a negative goal differential it should be apparent that the team is ‘doing it with mirrors’.
Arizona is at the other extreme–they’re a better hockey team than their 1-2-1 record suggests. They’ve played a tough schedule, have a dead even goal differential after 4 games and all three losses have been by a single goal. In their last action, they took the previously mentioned Colorado Avalanche to OT in Denver before giving up a goal in the extra session. With the Avs frontline talent they’re not going to lose a lot of 3 on 3 overtime games this year.
The Coyotes’ problem is simple–they need to score more goals. That being said, it’s hard not to love the way they’re playing in their own end of the ice. Arizona comes into this game ranked #4 in team defense allowing a paltry 1.75 goals per game. They’re one of only 4 NHL teams allowing fewer than 2 goals per game. The problem is that they’re scoring fewer than 2 goals per game as well. That puts them dead last in team offense making them one of two NHL teams scoring fewer than 2 snipes per game. The story is the same on special teams–they haven’t scored a power play goal this season. Now the good news–they’ve allowed 1 power play goal in 11 attempts for a 90.9% kill rate tied for #5 in the lead.
Facing a very inconsistent Winnipeg Jets team this could be a great opportunity for the Coyotes to put one in the win column. Arizona is an easy team to overlook in the middle of a long home stand with higher profile teams like Edmonton and Calgary due in. The Jets allowed 7 goals to Pittsburgh last time and if you throw out a win against the Penguins earlier this season their remaining wins came against Chicago, Minnesota and New Jersey who have a combined record of 1-10-3.