You never want to see any of your players get hurt, especially when it is your captain and best defenseman. Well, that happened for the Arizona Coyotes and Oliver Ekman-Larsson last night.
Oliver Ekman-Larsson fell to a lower-body injury last night against the Los Angeles Kings. While the Coyotes have come back from losing a defenseman before, that defender was never Oliver Ekman-Larsson.
The Coyotes did the impossible when they survived an injury to Niklas Hjalmarsson earlier this season, now they are going to have to do the unthinkable and come back from losing the captain of this hockey team to an injury.
The Coyotes defense has already struggled as of late, and now you factor in losing your best defender and things get even more challenging. Everyone is going to have to step up in Ekman-Larsson’s absence, especially Jakob Chychrun. Chychrun is the future of this blue line, and he might as well start leading this team now.
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The Coyotes are going to be thin defensively until they get Ekman-Larsson back. Last night featured a slew of bad injuries for the Coyotes. Ekman-Larsson fell, and Kessel left the ice for the locker room in the third period after a bad hit from the Kings. This is what happens when you start playing games against teams with nothing to lose.
The Coyotes are going to need to get these guys back healthy soon if they are to compete for the playoffs this spring. Let’s hope that Arizona opts to play the following pairings with Oliver Ekman-Larsson out of the lineup.
Jakob Chychrun – Alex Goligoski
Jordan Oesterle – Niklas Hjalmarsson
Demers usually plays on the top pairing with Oliver Ekman-Larsson, but if OEL is out long term I think the team should not shake up their other pairings to keep Demers up top. Hopefully, Ilya Lyubushkin or another young player can step into the lineup and help this team win! We need to keep winning games!