The Arizona Coyotes opened the 2018/19 NHL season with a 3-0 loss against the Dallas Stars, but there were some positives to take away from the game.
Three goals in less than two minutes in the second period saw the Coyotes drop their opening game of the season, but the team performed far better than the scoreline suggests.
The Coyotes kept the Stars at bay for two full periods and even out-shot their opponents 30 to 25, Nick Cousins getting six by himself, with Dallas goaltender Ben Bishop standing firm to deny the Coyotes a solitary goal.
The fact the Coyotes out-shot the Stars is a big positive for the team’s offence moving forward, showing that the team is capable of producing plenty of goalscoring opportunities.
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The team will not face a goaltender as solid as Bishop in every game this season and should reasonably be looking to put up bigger numbers than last season when the team only scored 206 goals – 238 less than the league average.
Another big positive for the Coyotes was that they only took two penalties the entire game, limiting the Stars to just two power-play opportunities.
To add to this, the Coyotes managed to kill both penalties and kept things at even strength for 56 full minutes.
The success they had on the penalty is a big positive for a team that struggled in this area greatly last season.
In the 2017/18 season, the Arizona Coyotes gave up an average of 2.73 penalties every game and only succeeded in killing them off 79.46% of the time – good for 19th in the league.
If the Coyotes want to put themselves in better opportunities to win games, they need to ensure they are killing them off at an improved rate.
19th-best in the league is not terrible, but it is not good enough if the Coyotes are hoping of truly pushing forward and sneaking into the playoffs this time around.
Having this early success on the penalty kill will give the team some confidence heading into their tilt with the Ducks on Saturday.
Coyotes fans, what did you think of the team’s performance against Dallas? Do you think the team will perform better on the PK this season? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!