Coyotes need to replace Domi’s offense as they open trip in Pittsburgh

Penguins center Sidney Crosby leads the NHL with 20 goals in 22 games.
Mark J. Rebilas/Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

PITTSBURGH — Both teams are coming off meaningful wins Saturday night, but the Pittsburgh Penguins and Arizona Coyotes are in markedly different places going into their game on Monday at PPG Paints Arena.

The game can be seen on FOX Sports Arizona and FOX Sports Go, starting at 4:30 p.m.

The Penguins (18-7-3) have a season-high five-game winning streak following Saturday's 4-3 road victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning. Pittsburgh has a fully healthy roster and is getting great production from its stars. Sidney Crosby leads the league with 20 goals (in 22 games) and, with 31 points, is an early challenger for the Art Ross Trophy. Evgeni Malkin and Phil Kessel are on Crosby's heels with 30 points each.

The Coyotes (9-13-5) broke a season-long six-game losing streak (0-4-2) with a 4-1 win over Nashville, but they'll be without one of their top offensive performers as they play the first of four road games over the next six days. Winger Max Domi, second on the team with 16 points, is out on what the club calls a week-to-week basis because of an upper-body injury.

The team has not commented on the nature of Domi's injury, but Sportsnet’s Nick Kypreos reported Saturday on Hockey Night in Canada that Domi could miss up to six weeks with a hand injury as a result of his fight on Thursday night with Calgary's Garnet Hathaway. Domi was placed on injured reserve on Saturday and did not accompany the team on the trip.

“He was coming around after a bit of a slow start, but he creates a lot of chances,” Coyotes coach Dave Tippett said of Domi, who leads the team with 11 assists. “He's an impact player, so when you lose a guy like that, it's opportunity for other guys. But when you lose top players like that, you have to overcome it.”

Veteran Radim Vrbata leads the Coyotes with 18 points, but increased production from the team's younger players will be crucial moving forward.

Rookies Laurent Dauphin (one goal), Brendan Perlini (one goal), Lawson Crouse (one assist), Jakob Chychrun (one assist) and Tyler Gaudet (one assist) combined for five points in Saturday win over Nashville.

“That's we're hoping for,” Tippett said. “We need to get these young players up and going, as well as have our veterans kind of lead the charge for us.”

Saturday's game was the first time in more than a month that the Coyotes had managed four goals in a game. Goaltender Mike Smith has done his best to keep the Coyotes in games and ranks sixth in the NHL with a .931 save percentage.

With Domi joining center Brad Richardson on injured reserve, the Coyotes have brought in two new forwards in the past week. They acquired center Peter Holland in a trade with Toronto and claimed center Josh Jooris off waivers from the Rangers. Jooris could make his Arizona debut tonight, but it's unclear when Holland will join the team due to needing a work visa.

The Penguins got two goals apiece from Crosby and Malkin in Saturday's win, and Kessel and Kris Letang each contributed three assists as they won for the sixth time this season when trailing after two periods.

“We shouldn't make a habit of (falling behind), but we believe we can score when we're playing the right way,” Crosby said.

Added Malkin: “We have lots of confidence. We know we can score two, three goals if we're losing after the second. We have a good feeling. We come back to the ice and it doesn't matter. Play our hockey.”

That's easier with an intact club. The Penguins have lost several players to injury for periods of time, including Crosby, Letang, Patric Hornqvist, Chris Kunitz and Matt Murray, the young goalie who seems likely to start Monday. Now they are at a point where it is just a matter of determining who will be healthy scratches.

“To have a full complement of players makes our decisions difficult, but they're good challenges to have,” said coach Mike Sullivan said — who took over as Pittsburgh's head coach a year ago Monday.