Coyotes trying to end losing streak by beating Rangers
NEW YORK — No team in the NHL has run as hot and cold this season as the Arizona Coyotes. If the Coyotes are going to begin another surge Friday night, they’ll need to take care of the puck better than they did Thursday night.
The Coyotes will look to snap a four-game losing streak Friday, when they visit the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden.
The game will be the second game of a back-to-back set by the Coyotes, who fell to the host Buffalo Sabres, 3-1, on Thursday. The Rangers last played Monday, when they capped a two-game road trip by losing to the Tampa Bay Lightning, 6-3.
The loss Thursday continued a rollercoaster season for the Coyotes (13-15-2), whose current skid – all four losses have come in regulation – was preceded by a four-game winning streak. And right before that, Arizona lost four straight (0-3-1).
Such chaos is par for the course for the Coyotes, who opened the year by losing five of their first seven (2-5-0) before winning five straight. They then lost three straight (0-2-1) before alternating wins with losses prior to the first four-game losing streak.
Against the Sabres, the Coyotes were done in by sloppiness. All three Buffalo goals were set up by Arizona turnovers.
“We’ve just got to manage the game a little bit better, manage the puck a little bit better,” Coyotes head coach Dave Tocchet said afterward.
The Rangers (14-13-3) also enter Friday’s game seeking a change in fortunes. New York has lost four of five (1-3-1) and six of eight (2-5-1) to fall outside the playoff picture in the Eastern Conference.
Getting back into the race likely got tougher earlier this week for the Rangers when they learned defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk will be sidelined two to four weeks due to a separated left shoulder he suffered Monday.
“We’ve missed all of them, for sure, but every team has injuries,” Rangers head coach David Quinn told Newsday following practice Wednesday. “You’ve got to overcome them and you’ve got to deal with them. That’s just the reality of the National Hockey League.”
Franchise goalie Henrik Lundqvist is expected to start for the Rangers against the Coyotes, who will likely start Adin Hill after Darcy Kuemper started and took the loss after recording 30 saves Thursday night.
Lundqvist took the loss Monday, when he made 30 saves against the Lightning. Hill last played on Saturday, when he took the loss after stopping 28 shots as the Coyotes fell to the San Jose Sharks, 5-3. The 22-year-old has started five of the last seven games for Arizona since number one net-minder Antti Raanta suffered a potentially season-ending lower body injury against the Minnesota Wild on Nov, 27.
Lundqvist is 8-1-0 in nine career games against the Coyotes. Hill took the loss in his lone career appearance against the Rangers Oct. 26, 2017, when he made 25 saves as the Coyotes fell, 5-2.