Spying on the Saboteur: Philadelphia Flyers vs Arizona Coyotes

USATSI_13746021_168382939_lowres

Coming off of an overflow of late offense to secure a victory against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Tuesday, the Philadelphia Flyers look to maintain a couple of different streaks. Tonight, the Flyers play the Arizona Coyotes at the Wells Fargo Center and yours truly will be in attendance, representing Philly Sports Network. After the 6-1 victory against the Maple Leafs, Philadelphia is riding a five-game winning streak. Even more concentrated than that is the fact that the Flyers haven’t lost to the Coyotes since the 2016-2017 season. In the 2019-2020 season, Philadelphia has seemingly found a new gear.

During the current five-game winning streak, the Philadelphia Flyers are lethal during even-strength hockey and have outscored opponents, 21-8. The Arizona Coyotes are by no means an easy test, as they’ve more than held their own this season in the Western Conference. Michael Raffl will miss time with a broken finger, so the Flyers will be tested in his absence against a goaltending tandem that ranks second in the NHL. Philadelphia’s goaltending duo is ranked sixth in the NHL. Keep an eye on Kevin Hayes, who averages a point-per-game in his last ten games against the Coyotes.

Brian Elliott will get the start in the net tonight for the Philadelphia Flyers. Darcy Kuemper will get the start for the Arizona Coyotes after earning the win on Tuesday night. In the last ten games, the Flyers are 5-5 against the Coyotes. The last three victories were all by Philadelphia. On the injury report, Arizona lists Niklas Hjalmarsson with a lower-body injury.

Arizona Coyotes – Skaters

Nick Schmaltz leads the Arizona Coyotes with 20 points this season. While three-quarters of those points are apples, he is showing the great vision to dish the puck off to a teammate for a finish. The other quarter is goals, of course, with one on a powerplay. He’s scoring on 13.5% of the shots he takes. If you doubled the shots that Schmaltz takes, it still doesn’t total Conor Garland, who leads the Coyotes in goals.

The defenseman who commands your attention on the Arizona Coyotes is Alex Goligoski. He has a +/- of eight this season but is closing in on the team lead for points. Goligoski has 17 this season, two of which are goals. With as many goals on the powerplay as he has even-strength, Goligoski has played a vital role in the success of the Coyotes this season. He’s also blocked 56 shots and tallied 30 hits.

Arizona Coyotes – Goaltending

Starting in net tonight for the Arizona Coyotes is a goaltender who probably is an early candidate for the Vezina Award. In 19 starts, Darcy Kuemper has been dominant. He has secured 11 wins and of those starts, 15 have been quality. This season, Kuemper has maintained a 93.6% save percentage and yields a goal against average of 1.97. He’s been a Rubix cube for opposing teams.

Faceoff Possession

Only one of the teams in this game have a team faceoff win percentage over 50%. The Arizona Coyotes are at 48.3% while the Philadelphia Flyers maintain 54.6%. On the Coyotes, the best faceoff opportunists are Clayton Keller, Christian Dvorak, and Brad Richardson. For the Flyers, they look to Claude Giroux, Sean Couturier, and Scott Laughton. The advantage here stays with Philadelphia.

Prediction

After diving deeper into the Arizona Coyotes season, they are truly a team that loves to spread the puck around. The philosophy is that they have a star goaltender and defenseman to protect leads and advance the puck forward with a cast of unselfish forwards. The Philadelphia Flyers have to stay aggressive on the forecheck and be irritating on offense for Darcy Kuemper. Brian Elliott also has to stay focused and should get some help since the Flyers are carrying an extra defenseman tonight. The winning streak lives on tonight, both for this season and the three-game streak specifically against the Coyotes.

Puck drop is scheduled for 7:00 pm from the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The money line favors the Philadelphia Flyers at -145 with an over-under set at 5.5. Follow me at EricReesePSN and Philly Sports Network at PhiladelphiaSN on Twitter!

Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

More from our Sister Sites