As the NHL calendar rolls on, the Arizona Coyotes and Columbus Blue Jackets are set for a captivating encounter at Nationwide Arena. The Coyotes, standing at 7-6-1 and 5th in the Central, clash with the Blue Jackets, who are 4-8-4, languishing at 8th in the Metropolitan. The Coyotes, finding their groove, aim to bolster their standing, while Columbus seeks to reverse their fortunes. Key injuries and contrasting team stats set the stage for a gripping match on November 16th.
Desert Surge: The Coyotes' Climb
The Arizona Coyotes enter this contest with a solid record, showcasing a team that's gradually finding its identity. Their performance so far, marked by a 7-6-1 standing, indicates a team capable of holding its own in the competitive landscape of the NHL. Offensively, the Coyotes have demonstrated considerable prowess. Ranking 13th in goals scored with 47 and 5th in power play efficiency at a notable 29.1%.. This offensive strength is further underscored by their impressive 5th rank in shooting percentage at .119, indicating a high level of accuracy and efficiency when they do take shots on goal.
Key players have been instrumental in the Coyotes' success. Clayton Keller, with 6 goals and 9 assists, totaling 15 points, stands out as a significant contributor. Michael Carcone, matching Keller with 6 goals, has added much-needed depth to the attack. The team's depth is further highlighted by Logan Cooley's 10 assists, showcasing his playmaking abilities. In goal, Connor Ingram has been a reliable last line of defense, reflected in his .911 save percentage and 2.87 goals against average across 7 games. Despite the loss of Jack McBain and Travis Dermott to injuries, the team has shown resilience and adaptability, a crucial trait for long-term success.
However, Arizona's defensive play presents a mixed bag. While they've allowed 42 goals, ranking them 12th in the league, their penalty kill has been less effective, sitting at 22nd with a 75.5% success rate. Their discipline has also been a concern, leading the league in penalty minutes with 210. This aspect of their game will need tightening, particularly against teams that can exploit these weaknesses.
Blue Jackets' Battle: Seeking Stability
The Columbus Blue Jackets' season has been challenging, as reflected in their 4-8-4 record. Positioned at the bottom of the Metropolitan Division, they face an uphill battle to climb back into contention. Offensively, the team has struggled to find a rhythm, ranking 24th in goals scored with 41. Their power play has been a particular area of concern, with a success rate of only 13%, placing them 27th in the league. This lack of efficiency in converting power play opportunities has been a significant factor in their struggle to win games.
Despite these challenges, Columbus has shown some strengths. Their penalty kill has been a bright spot, ranking 3rd in the NHL with an 89.1% effectiveness. This aspect of their game has helped them stay competitive in games, even when other areas have faltered. Boone Jenner, with 7 goals, has been a key offensive player, but the team has needed more consistent contributions from others. Elvis Merzlikins, in goal, has had moments of quality but his overall stats, including a .901 save percentage and 3.15 GAA, reflect the team's broader defensive struggles. The recent injury to Jack Roslovic adds to their challenges, depriving them of a key offensive piece.
Defensively, Columbus has been less than stellar. They've allowed 52 goals, ranking them 26th in the league, an indication of their struggles in this area. They've been particularly vulnerable in their defensive zone, often giving up high-quality chances to opponents. This has placed additional pressure on their goaltenders, who have struggled to compensate for these defensive lapses.
David’s Pick - Arizona Coyotes +109
In this matchup, the Arizona Coyotes hold the edge. Their offensive prowess, led by Keller and Carcone, coupled with their effective power play, positions them favorably against the Blue Jackets. Columbus, despite a strong penalty kill, struggles in overall defense and offense, evidenced by their lower rankings in goals for and against. Arizona's recent upswing in form and Columbus's ongoing struggles, especially in creating and converting chances, tip the scales in favor of the Coyotes. Expect Arizona to exploit Columbus's defensive lapses and secure a victory.