One lengthy skid will end when Coyotes, Canadiens clash

If the Arizona Coyotes are to halt their longest winless stretch in nearly 20 years, they will need to do so without their star.On the other hand, it's also been a while since the Montreal Canadien

One lengthy skid will end when Coyotes, Canadiens clash

If the Arizona Coyotes are to halt their longest winless stretch in nearly 20 years, they will need to do so without their star.

On the other hand, it’s also been a while since the Montreal Canadiens won a game.

The visiting Coyotes can end their 12-game winless slide by handing the Canadiens a sixth consecutive defeat Tuesday night.

As if being outscored 56-29 during an 0-10-2 rut that dates to Jan. 24 isn’t bad enough, four-time All-Star Clayton Keller — the Coyotes’ leader with 22 goals and 30 assists — suffered an upper-body injury during Sunday’s 4-3 overtime loss at Winnipeg.

Head coach Andre Tourigny told reporters during Monday’s practice in Montreal that Keller will miss Tuesday’s game, the second of a five-game road trip.

That adds to the misery surrounding the Coyotes, who are mired in the franchise’s longest winless stretch since a 15-gamer during the 2003-04 season.

“We’re trying to work our way out of this,” said Arizona’s Nick Schmaltz, who scored twice Sunday.

“It’s frustrating for sure.”

The Coyotes have been outscored 38-22 during their 0-6-3 road rut. However, if there’s reason for hope, Montreal is dealing with a 3-10-1 stretch and has yielded 22 goals during a season-high five-game losing streak. Its last win was a 5-0 home victory over Anaheim on Feb. 13.

During Saturday’s 4-3 loss at New Jersey, Montreal twice held a second-period lead, but it allowed three straight goals.

“It’s not easy what we’re going through right now,” said Brendan Gallagher, who had a goal against the Devils.

“We feel like we’re playing decent hockey but we’re not being rewarded with results. But it’s a good challenge. Nothing’s ever easy in this league. We’re being tested physically but obviously mentally as well.”

The Canadiens have lost two straight and four of the last five at home, and this will be their only contest on home ice amid a seven-game stretch.

With two goals at New Jersey, Nick Suzuki remains a bright spot for the Canadiens. He’s totaled 10 goals and eight assists in the last 13 games but was blanked during Montreal’s 3-2 loss at Arizona on Nov. 2.

Gallagher had a goal with an assist in that contest for Montreal, which also got a 32-save performance from Jake Allen. A possible trade option, Allen stopped 20 shots Saturday and has a 4.26 goals-against average during his current 0-4-1 skid.

Fellow netminder Sam Montembeault has a 4.41 GAA during his three-game losing streak, while Cayden Primeau (3.06 GAA), the final rung in the Canadiens’ three-goalie rotation, has won just one of his last five starts.

Arizona’s Connor Ingram made 28 saves Sunday but owns a 4.69 GAA while stuck in an 0-4-2 starting stretch. His teammate Karel Vejmelka has a hefty 5.34 GAA during his eight-start losing streak.

Rookie Matt Villalta has made two appearances in goal this month for Arizona, which has not earned a point in two straight games since back-to-back victories on Jan. 20 and 22.