Central Division Weekly: Coyotes snag first win

It is a miracle, my friends.

It’s the Central Divison’s world and we’re just living in it, am I right? This poor division. They’ve got the Arizona Coyotes, who have one win to their name, the St. Louis Blues who are somehow in leading the pack and the Dallas Stars who are struggling, despite having star talent (Joe Pavelski, obviously) on their team. There is a lot to unpack there this week.

Arizona Coyotes (1-12-1)

The good news for the Coyotes is that they only had to play three games this week. Sure, they lost the first one against the Anaheim Ducks 3-1, but who cares because the following game was a big one.

The Coyotes finally found their first win of the season against the new guys, the Seattle Kraken. It was a close one, but the Desert Dogs found a 5-4 victory. Lawson Crouse had a pair of goals, with the other points coming from Travis Boyd, Phil Kessel and Antoine Roussel.

So, maybe they followed that up with a 5-2 loss to Minnesota Wild and 2-1 to the Chicago Blackhawks last night. They’re simply doing the best they can right now, ok?

Chicago Blackhawks (4-9-2)

Another team that is simply not good is the Blackhawks. Unfortunately, they’ve had a decent week. It started with a 5-1 stomping at the hands of the Winnipeg Jets, but things improved from there. They were able to beat the Nashville Predators 2-1 in overtime with goals scored by Alex DeBrincat and Brandon Hagel. Chicago followed that up by taking the Pittsburgh Penguins to a shootout, winning 3-2. They pulled out another tight win against the Coyotes last night.

Forward Tyler Johnson and defender Isaak Phillips were added to the NHL’s COVID Protocol on Wednesday, ahead of the game against the Penguins.

Colorado Avalanche (5-5-1)

The Avalanche have lost their groove a bit since sending Joonas Donskoi to the Seattle Kraken. It’s okay, Sharks fans understand that better than any other fanbase.

The Avs had one of those weird weeks where they only played two games and both had very different outcomes.

On Saturday, they lost 4-2 to the Columbus Blue Jackets. Andre Burakovsky tried to breathe some life into his team by scoring both goals, but it was a failed effort. However, the whole group showed up on Thursday against the Vancouver Canucks, beating them a whopping 7-1. Mikko Rantanen had a pair of goals, while Logan O’Connor, Darren Helm, Gabriel Landeskog, Devon Toews and Valeri Nichushkin all got on the board, as well. Goaltender Darcy Kuemper only had to make 21 saves to help his team get the victory.

The Avalanche will see the Sharks today. Hopefully, that whole 7 goals thing was a one-time deal.

Dallas Stars (4-6-2)

The Stars only played two games this week and lost both of them. It started with a 6-3 loss to the Canucks. Yes, Joe Pavelski did score one of those goals. I wanted to make sure I included the important facts of this game for all of you.

The next loss came at the hands of the Predators. They fell 4-2, with Miro Heiskanen and Roope Hintz finding the back of the next, including Hintz’ first of the season. Don’t worry, Pavs got an apple on that Hintz goal.

Heiskanen is a one-man wrecking ball, leading the team with 12 points (3 goals, 9 assists). The Stars’, well, stars aren’t showing up the way Dallas needs. Jamie Benn has been held to just 5 points, while Pavelski and Tyler Seguin both have tallied 7 points.

Minnesota Wild (9-4-0)

The Wild are currently sitting second in the Central’s standings. They had a strong week, kicking it off with a 5-2 victory over the New York Islanders. They decided that they like winning 5-2 and kept that score the same as they beat the Coyotes next.

The Wild’s only downfall this week was against the Vegas Golden Knights, of all teams, right? They lost 3-2 with goals scored by Ryan Hartman and Jared Spurgeon.

Nashville Predators (8-5-1)

The Predators started off on a sour note with a 2-1 loss in overtime against the Blackhawks. The lone goal was scored by Alexandre Carrier. They regained their footing against the struggling Stars, winning that game 4-2. Goaltender Juuse Saros made 25 saves between the pipes.

They finished their week off with another overtime game, but this time they won, beating the Blues 4-3 with two goals from Matt Duchene, and singles from Luke Kunin and Yakov Trenin.

The team placed winger Rocco Grimaldi on waivers on Thursday and he cleared yesterday. Filip Forsberg and Nick Cousins remain on injured reserve.

St. Louis Blues (8-2-2)

Anyone else still completely bitter about the 2019 playoffs? It can’t only be me. Anyway, ever since, I hate to see the Blues do well. So, thankfully, they lost two of their games this week. It started with a 4-1 loss to the Ducks.

However, the Blues bounced back to win in a shootout against the Jets. Finishing off the week was a 4-3 loss in overtime against the Predators.

After a nine-game audition forward Jake Neighbours was sent back to the Edmonton Oil Kings in the WHL this week. The 19-year-old netted 1 goal and 1 assist in his time with the big club.

Winnipeg Jets (7-3-3)

Winnipeg kicked off their week against the Islanders with a 2-0 shutout loss. They looked to improve from there, but lost again, this time to the Blues. Kyle Connor and Neal Pionk tried to keep their team in the game, but they couldn’t capitalize in overtime and eventually lost in the shootout. Then came the Sharks. I will not remind you of that game or that final score. It’s just too soon.

Despite Kyle Connor running away with the team’s scoring title, they’re getting it done by committee in Winnipeg. Just two players remain scoreless thus far into the season and neither players has been in the full 13 games. They’re going to need consistency from their goaltending to take it to the next level, though.