Keller’s Two Goals Power Coyotes to 3-2 Win Over Predators

The Hockey Writers

During the Arizona Coyotes’ last homestand, the team had a rare miserable stretch at Mullett Arena, only winning one game before embarking on a tough road trip. Back at home, the Coyotes returned to their winning ways, taking down their division foes, the Nashville Predators 3-2. Mullett magic is back for the Coyotes. Here are some takeaways from Saturday’s win.

The Keller Instinct

Clayton Keller must be a huge 90s fan because he was dominant during 90s night on Saturday. The All-Star scored two goals to get his team the win. He had been on a goal slump in December before picking up the pace in January, scoring eight points so far.

With his second goal of the game, Keller tied Jeremy Roenick for ninth place in goals all-time in Coyotes history. However, he is more focused on winning to play meaningful games further towards the end of the season.

“It’s been great fun,” Keller said. “I’ve gotten to play with so many great players, coaches, training staff, and all the equipment guys. They’ve all sacrificed so much for me. I’m very thankful for them. Right now, the most important thing is getting to the playoffs, playing meaningful games, and fighting till the end.”

Latest News & Highlights

Keller ended up playing nearly 24 minutes of ice time. While head coach Andre Tourigny doesn’t want to use him for that much time, he’s proud of Keller and has noticed he’s taken his game to the next level.

“Kells since I don’t know how many games ago has really played his best hockey,” Tourigny said. “I had a discussion with him yesterday and I said I really think he’s got his game on another level.”

Keller is now at 39 points in the season. He’s scored seven points in his past five games. He only needs one more goal to pass Roenick for ninth place all-time in goals in Coyotes history and five goals to pass Radim Vrbata for eighth.

Michael Carcone is Back on the Scoresheet

It’s no secret that Michael Carcone has struggled in the past month. The forward hadn’t scored a single point since Dec. 23 and had sunk to being a healthy scratch at points in time. Finally, he scored his first goal since Dec. 11 and the weight was off his shoulders.

“It was an emotional roller coaster,” Carcone said. “I think I’d be lying if I didn’t tell you that. It’s easy to point fingers at other people and say it’s Bear’s fault, the guy’s fault but sometimes you just got to look in the mirror. I did that and I was fortunate to get on the board today.”

Michael Carcone Arizona Coyotes
Michael Carcone, Arizona Coyotes (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Carcone earned his way to the NHL this season and now that he’s here, he’s a player that will fight tooth and nail to make sure he stays with the Coyotes. Tourigny knows that and he was happy with how Carcone and his line played in this game.

“That line was our best line tonight,” Tourigny said. “Those energy players when everybody is playing well, people don’t realize how important they are. They’re the game like tonight when everybody has a little bit less energy and everybody has to dig deep, they’re going to give you energy. They have physicality, they play the right away and they play with heart. I’m really proud of the way they played today.”

Carcone and Jack McBain have been a duo that has rarely been separated this season despite all of the injuries and challenges the team has faced. Saturday’s game was a prime example of why Tourigny has kept them together for quite some time.

The Wild Card Chase Just Got Even Wilder

The Coyotes’ win against the Predators was a massive one for the team. The Predators currently hold the first wild card spot in the West with 51 points. With the win, the Coyotes are now at 47 points. The catch is that they have two games in hand.

If the Coyotes are able to win those two games, they’ll catch the Predators and make the playoff race even tougher for their foes. Every game now is meaningful for them if they want to stay in the hunt which is exactly what the team wanted going into the season.

Substack The Hockey Writers Arizona Coyotes Banner

Getting the win is great for the Coyotes. Getting the win against their division to pull within four points of the Predators in the standings was even sweeter for Tourigny.

Related: Coyotes Midseason Report: Growth Seen Across All Facets

“It was really important to stay in it,” Tourigny said. “We want to play meaningful games. That was a real playoff game for us. It’s now four games left before the break and we need to finish strong.”

The Coyotes’ next four opponents are no joke though. They’ll first play the Pittsburgh Penguins who are in a fight of their own out East to try to get a playoff spot. Then they’ll go on the dreaded Florida road trip, playing the Florida Panthers and the Tampa Bay Lightning: two teams that have dominated the Atlantic Divison in the past couple of seasons. They’ll then close out their schedule before the All-Star Break against the Carolina Hurricanes in PNC Arena: a place the Coyotes seem to never win.

Despite the challenges ahead, the way the Coyotes competed on Saturday was good. If they can continue sticking to their play and keep being resilient, they can steal a couple of points and be in a good spot heading into All-Star Weekend.

The Coyotes are now 22-19-3 on the season. Their next game is against the Penguins on Monday, Jan. 22.

PHP Code Snippets Powered By :