Coyotes, Christian Fischer surging on offense after slow start

Oct 25, 2018, 1:41 PM
Arizona Coyotes ' Christian Fischer (36) and Edmonton Oilers' Matthew Benning (83) vie for the puck...
Arizona Coyotes ' Christian Fischer (36) and Edmonton Oilers' Matthew Benning (83) vie for the puck during the first period of an NHL hockey preseason game Thursday, Sept. 27, 2018, in Edmonton, Alberta. (Jason Franson/The Canadian Press via AP)
(Jason Franson/The Canadian Press via AP)

The first five games of the Arizona Coyotes’ season looked all too similar to last year’s. But recently, the Coyotes have played better, winning two of their last three games.

Tuesday, Arizona defeated the Columbus Blue Jackets on the road, thanks to a great performance by right wing Christian Fischer. Fischer recorded the first hat trick of his three-year career, propelling Arizona over Columbus 4-1.

He’s certainly a young leader for our group in terms of how he approaches the game,” Coyotes GM John Chayka said on the Doug and Wolf Show on 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station Thursday.

Fischer, drafted in 2015, is second on the team in points with four, behind only Clayton Keller. A year ago, Fischer finished seventh on the team with 33.

Chayka said Fischer progressed well over the offseason and has shown improvement just eight games into the season.

“He’s improved in two or three key areas he kind of set out to improve upon, and he’s a young pro,” Chayka said. “For the most part, he’s done a really nice job.”

The first two games of the season were woeful for the Coyotes, for they were shut out in both of the losses. In the last three games, however, the Coyotes have scored 11 goals.

Chayka said the team’s increased intensity toward the net is responsible for the recent scoring surge.

I think anytime you’re struggling to score you’ve got to go to the net and go there hard,” Chayka said. “It’s tough to score goals in this league; a lot of them are scored within 15 feet of the net, so I think our guys are doing a better job of that.”

Even with the Coyotes’ recent scoring explosion, they still sit toward the bottom of the Western Conference with only six points. According to Chayka, however, this hasn’t been a bad start for the young team.

We’re still a young group, we’re still finding our identity,” Chayka said. “We felt like we played a pretty good style of play and our process was pretty strong, so if we continue to do that over 82 games, then we feel pretty good about our group.”

After four games on the road, the Coyotes return back to Glendale for a five-game home stretch. The homestand kicks off Thursday night when Arizona hosts the Vancouver Canucks.

We got a five-game homestand now, you hope to get some more traction here and keep moving forward,” Chayka said. “I just think now we’re starting to convert on some of our chances, guys are starting to get some more confidence in their games, and things are starting to go our way a little bit.”

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