Arizona Coyotes Face Tough Opening Month Schedule

Arizona Coyotes have 11 games in October and only 4 are at Gila River arena

The Arizona Coyotes may find the new season quite a challenge early, as they have 11 games on tap, and will only have 4 home games in the familiar confines of Gila River arena. Add to that, the fact they must play some really tough teams like the Kings, Penguins, Bruins (twice…yep that’s not a typo), Ducks, Wild, Rangers, Senators, Canucks, and you can see the importance of getting a fast start be a challenge this new season.

October 9th vs. L.A. Kings on the road

Last season the Arizona Coyotes waited until the second game of the season to play the arch-enemy Kings, and came out on top 3-2, with Oliver Elman-Larsson getting the winning goal in overtime, with 14 seconds on the clock. Devon Dubnyk got the surprise start, and after giving up two goals in the first stanza, settled down to shut down the Kings to spark the victory. It was the beginning of a reincarnation for Dubnyk, who eventually got traded to the Wild, and well…you know the rest of the story.

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The Kings will be a tough opening night opponent, and with the addition of Milan Lucic look for them to try to play their brash, bullying style of hockey. The Coyotes may counter with their incredible hulk, John Scott (middle linebacker… I mean Left Wing) to counteract the Kings size and brashness. Should be a great opening night game, on October 9th.

October 10th vs, Pittsburgh Penguins at home

There’s not too much say about playing against the best player in the league. Sid Crosby can dominate games, and the Coyotes need to watch him closely. These two teams didn’t play until late March last season, and Mr. Crosby had a goal and two assists, while Mike Smith showed his stuff with 43 saves, in a losing cause as the Penguins took the game 3-2. Steven Downie also scored for Pittsburgh, and will be pumped up to play against his old team. Good matchup, but let’s hope the Arizona Coyotes can limit the shots on Mike Smith to something more manageable.

October 14th vs. Anaheim Ducks on the road

The Anaheim Ducks will be another tough team for the Coyotes to play early in the season. The Ducks of course, went up against the eventual Cup winning Blackhawks, in the Western Conference finals, and went down in defeat. The Arizona Coyotes played the Ducks pretty well last season, even though losing three of four to them. Three of the four games were one goal affairs, with one going 4-1 to the Ducks. Always a tough opponent, and the game should be competitive.

October 15th vs. Minnesota Wild at home

The Wild, with their star goaltender Devan Dubnyk will be seeking to continue their dominance they displayed last season when they took all three games versus the Arizona Coyotes. With scores of 2-0, 4-3 (S/O), and 3-1, the Coyotes were in all those games, but last season was not about finishing games, and hopefully this season will change that bad trend. It would be special to beat Dubnyk, but he knows the Coyotes’ shooters, just as the shooters know Dubnyk’s moves. Good game.

October 17th vs. Boston Bruins at home

Another tough opponent for the Arizona Coyotes, who want to see if they can get in the win column against the Bean-town boys. The Bruins are a much different team this year, and without Lucic, and Hamilton they could be beaten. Last season they skated past the Yotes, with the greatest of ease winning by three goals in two games, 5-2, and 4-1. These two teams will not play each other after October, since they will face each other again on October 27th, in Boston.

October 20th vs. New Jersey Devils on the road

New Jersey finished 7th in their division, but the Arizona Coyotes had not answer for beating this team, losing 3-0, and 4-1 last season. The Coyotes made them look better than they were, and this season should be different. This should be a Coyotes victory, and they need to win some of the seven road games this month. This could be one of them.

October 22nd vs. New York Rangers on the road

The Rangers went to the Eastern Conference against the eventual Cup finalist from the East, the Tampa Bay Lightning. They won’t be easy to beat on their home ice, as evidenced by their 25-11-5 record last season. Oh yeah, and did I mention their 113 points was the best in the NHL last season? Must have slipped my mind… just like this game will slip away from the Arizona Coyotes. Rangers took both games last season, 5-1, 4-3. An upset would be nice, but so would a 50 goal scorer on the Coyotes. Attack their weakness — Keith Yandle? Rangers win.

October 24th vs. Ottawa Senators on the road

This will be the third road game of the early five game road trip for the Arizona Coyotes. Not a good game for the Yotes to be playing on a long road trip. Last season the Senators lobbied past the Yotes in both contests, which weren’t really even close. The Senators won in a landslide both games, 5-1, and 7-2. Perhaps the Desert Dogs will remember the trouncing they took TWICE, and can turn things around. New season, new players, hope is always a good thing.

October 26th vs. Toronto Maple Leafs on the road

Finally, a team the Arizona Coyotes beat last season when they took a 3-2, and 3-1 victory from the hapless Leafs. I mean they do have Mike Babcock coaching them now, but they lost Phil Kessel, and I see a Coyotes win here. The Leafs are very disorganized and even with Babcock at the helm, this team is reasonably one of the worst in the East. Max Domi should eat them alive… GO MAX ! !

October 27th vs. Boston Bruins on the road

In this the final game of the long five game road trip, the Arizona Coyotes will need to finish it off with a victory, if at all possible. The Bruin are beatable, and the Yotes can be the team to point that out to them. They could go 6-5 on the trip if they can figure out the Bruins.

October 30th vs. Vancouver Canucks at home

Finally, the boys come home, and to play the Canucks may be a good thing. Last season saw the Coyotes winning the first game with Martin Hanzal getting a slick hat trick, but then the wheels fell off the cart as they lost the next three 7-1, 3-2, and 5-0. OUCH! They need to beat the Canucks will be necessary due to this tough October schedule. The Vancouver group made some questionable moves in the off-season, and many predict they won’t be making the playoffs this season. All the more reason for the Arizona Coyotes to show them why they will not be playoff team.

My prediction for this busy first month of the new season is they will go 6-5. Respectable, but without even seeing the way the new players fit in with each other, it is just a guess. I’d say they have a shot to at least come out of the first month in a fashion which leads to some future success as the season progresses.

I’m just SO GLAD that Coyotes’ hockey is almost upon us.