Monday Morning Musings: week of the loser point

Jeff Gross

A look back at an interesting week in Coyotes hockey with thoughts and observations from Managing Editor Jaime Eisner.

The Phoenix Coyotes emerged from a three-game week with zero wins, but earned three points. A butt goal, a shootout goal and a regular goal downed the Coyotes to a win-less week of hockey around the Christmas holiday.

With a home stand on the horizon, here are a few tidbits and notes from the week that was in Coyotes hockey:

- The Coyotes are a perfect example of regression to the mean. Their unsustainably high early season shooting percentage has come back to Earth as the team struggles offensively.

- Puck luck has not been on the Coyotes' side as of late, but the last time they held a two-goal lead was eight games ago in a 6-3 victory over the Islanders.

- Last time the Coyotes played five straight overtime games: games 1-5 of the 2012 Western Conference Quarter Finals against the Blackhawks. Last time in the regular season: Nov. 8-16, 2003 with a record of 2-1-0-2.

- In Phoenix's two post-Christmas games, they blocked a combined four shots in six PK opportunities. Lack of shot blocking is an underrated cause for the Yotes' PK troubles this season.

- Speaking of the PK, Connor Murphy appears to be the go-to man as he led all Coyotes defensemen in PK ice time this week.

- Phoenix's inconsistency reflects in its record: 19 wins, 19 losses (19-10-9).

- Mike Ribeiro found his way on the score sheet (1-2-3 in his last two games), but his turnovers and reluctance to shoot hurt the team this week. The former can be fixed, the latter is here to stay.

- While the demotion of Gilbert Brule and Jordan Szwarz would, in theory, open up a roster spot for Shane Doan, Assistant GM Brad Treliving says Doan is not ready to return (per Craig Morgan).

- Mike Smith's worst GAA in a December game: 3.00. His solid play has kept the Coyotes in a playoff position despite the team's offensive woes.

- Remember, when thinking about possible lineup combinations and changes, defensive positions differ. Some defensemen are LD, others RD. Coaches can play any combination they desire, but typically pair a LD with a RD. OEL, Yandle, Klesla and Schlemko are LD. Michalek, Stone, Murphy, Morris and Rundblad are RD. *Steps off soapbox*

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