Having scored just one goal over their first two games, the Arizona Coyotes were definitely hoping for more offense after an offseason where they upgraded in major ways. Despite the slow start in the offensive end, head coach Rick Tocchet said he isn’t worried about the team’s offense yet, according to Matt Layman of AZ Sports.
“I’m not panicking. We’re a good hockey club,” Tocchet said. “These guys worked hard. These are winnable games. It’s a ‘woulda, coulda, shoulda,’ and I don’t play that game. But with a little bit of push here and there for some individuals, we could be 2-0. We need everybody to push a little bit harder, but I thought generally, the team played hard.”
One thing that Tocchet is happy with is the play of the team’s first line of Clayton Keller, Derek Stepan and Phil Kessel, who have already developed chemistry together. Against Boston on Saturday, Kessell and Keller each had five shots on goal each with several close goals. What the team needs to improve is the power play which is 0-for-3 this year and that same power play, coached by new assistant Phil Housley, is just 0-for-6 on faceoffs.
“We haven’t got much set up on the zone time,” Kessel said of the power play. “I mean if you can’t set it up, you’re not going to have much success. So we’ve got to get it set up and work for each other, and hopefully get it going.”
- The Athletic’s Jesse Granger reports that the Vegas Golden Knights could get one of their injured players back soon. While he is not expected to play Tuesday against Boston, center Cody Eakin skated on his own. Head coach Gerard Gallant said that he could be ready to play after the Boston game. Eakin was expected to center the third line, but when he got hurt, the Golden Knights opted to keep Cody Glass on the roster and promoted him to the second line to center Mark Stone and Max Pacioretty, while shifting Paul Stastny to the third line. With everyone playing well, Eakin might be pushed down to the fourth line now.
- The Edmonton Journal’s Kurt Leavins writes that the team has really missed center Riley Sheahan and the team is expecting the third-line center back in the lineup soon. With Sheahan out, Leon Draisaitl has had to take full penalty killing duties and has been averaging 26:26 of ATOI in the first two games, something that isn’t sustainable. However, once Sheahan returns, the team must decide whether to remove Colby Cave or Gaetan Haas from the lineup.
- Postmedia’s Ben Kuzma writes that the Vancouver Canucks could get back forward Tyler Motte soon. The forward was seen practicing in a contact jersey Sunday. The 24-year-old scored nine goals and 16 points in 74 games last season and has provided solid depth on the team’s bottom-six.