Arizona Coyotes trends and numbers through 20 games of 2019-20 season
The NHL season is about a fourth of the way over.
Time flies, doesn’t it? The Arizona Coyotes played their 20th game on Thursday with a loss to the Minnesota Wild, marking a milestone of the 82-game season. There’s been plenty of highs and lows already with a lot of hockey left to play.
The Coyotes are one of 12 teams that had played their 20th game entering Friday. They also will play their fourth game in six days when they host the Calgary Flames on Saturday.
With that, here’s a look at some things we’ve learned about the Coyotes (11-7-2) at the quarter mark of the season as they sit in second place in the Pacific Division:
Arizona is allowing 2.45 goals per game, which is the third-best rate in the NHL. They’re scoring 2.75 goals per game, which is a difference of +0.3 goals per game. The Coyotes have a +9 goal differential, which is the third-best in the eight-team Pacific Division.
With Darcy Kuemper (.931) and Antti Raanta (.912), the Coyotes have the second-highest team save percentage in the NHL (.922). Only the Islanders (.927) are better.
Kuemper has the third-highest save percentage in the NHL behind the Islanders’ Thomas Greiss and the Blackhawks’ Robin Lehner. Raanta is 29th. That means the Coyotes have two goaltenders in the top 30 through 20 games, which is impressive and a huge luxury.
THE POWER PLAY
At 16.1%, the Coyotes’ power play ranks just 23rd in the NHL entering Friday. The Coyotes are just 1-for-22 in their last seven games on the power play, which isn’t going to cut it. They need to improve in that area.
Arizona’s coaching staff has tinkered with the top power play unit some, and it would seem the team has some guys who could be productive there: Phil Kessel, Nick Schmaltz and Clayton Keller come to mind. But apart from a stretch in which the Coyotes seemed to figure it out — they went 7-for-18 on the PP in a four-game span in October — there hasn’t been a ton of productivity.
THE PENALTY KILL
After tying for the best penalty kill percentage in the league in 2018-19, the Coyotes this season are 17th in the NHL on the PK at 80.0%.
That unit hadn’t given up a goal until defenseman Nik Hjalmarsson sustained a long-term injury. Hjalmarsson is one of their best penalty killers and defensive defensemen, and Arizona also had to go without Brad Richardson for a little bit.
One encouraging sign: The PK has given up just one goal on nine chances the last three games.
Conor Garland (19.1%) and Michael Grabner (19.4%) have very high schooting percentages. Phil Kessel (5.7%) and Clayton Keller (7.4%) have low shooting percentages. These things tend to regress to a mean, and if they do, Coyotes fans could start seeing more productivity out of both Kessel and Keller.
Kessel, especially, has only 11 points in 20 games this season. That’s not bad, but he was over a point per game the last two seasons before coming to Arizona. Now, he’s well below that.
If his shooting percentage ticks up, he could find himself scoring more goals — especially if the power play starts clicking again.
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