It's a set-up to classic punchline. A statement/question/response that has been used as a joke for years.
The Coyotes offense is awful.
How awful are they?
Only this time, there is no witty response to finish the joke. The original statement is the punchline. The Coyotes offense is, in fact, awful. Almost historically so.
To get an idea of how bad the Coyotes have been at achieving the primary goal of hockey which is to score, well, goals, let's start by looking at their season totals so far.
Through 74 games, the Coyotes have scored 149 total goals. They have tallied 97 at 5 on 5 and two goals at 4 on 4. They have added an additional 43 goals with the man advantage and four goals shorthanded. Three empty net goals round out the Arizona totals.
149 goals in 74 games comes out to a total of 2.01 goals per game. If your math is good, that means the Coyotes are just barely on a pace to score more than 2 goals per game this season. Only two teams in the last twenty years of the NHL have scored less than two per game: the 97-98 Tampa Bay Lightning (1.84) and last season's Buffalo Sabres (1.83).
The '98 Lightning were led in goals by Alex Selivanov and Mikael Renberg, who both had 16 goals. Renberg also led them in points with 38. At least last year's Sabres team had two 20 goal players in Cody Hodgson (20) and Tyler Ennis (21). They both also eclipsed 40 points, with Ennis totaling 43 and Hodgson adding 44.
Right now, the leading Coyote point man isn't even on the team any longer, as Keith Yandle had 41 points (4 goals and 37 assists) in 63 games before being traded away. Currently, Oliver Ekman-Larsson leads the team with 20 goals and 38 points, with Shane Doan at 13 goals in second place (technically it's Mikkel Boedker with 14 goals, but he's not adding more to his totals. But given the Coyotes scoring woes, he could still lead them in goals by a forward by the end of the season). Sam Gagner, second on the team in points, is just one goal behind Doan.
A couple more points about the Coyotes season totals before getting to the really ugly numbers (yeah, it gets worse). Right now, the Coyotes aren't the worst offensive team in the league. That honor goes to the Sabres. Again. Buffalo currently has scored 130 goals in 73 games, good for a 1.78 goals per game.
But the Sabres have the league's worst power play and have added only 24 goals with the advantage. They had scored as many goals at 5 on 5 as Arizona with 95 before the Coyotes offensive outburst Tuesday in Detroit. Also, the Coyotes goal total of 149 on the season has been eclipsed by seven different teams at 5 on 5: Tampa Bay, the Islanders, the Rangers, Dallas, Minnesota, Nashville, and St. Louis.
So the Coyotes offense has been pretty bad for the season, but the numbers are even more dire since 2015 has begun. In the 37 games since January 1st, the Coyotes have scored a total of 66 goals, a goals per game ratio of 1.78. Over a whole season, that would be the lowest goals per game of any team since the 1936 Montreal Canadiens.
Since February 1st, the numbers are even uglier: 25 games played, 39 goals scored for 1.56 goals per game. In the ten games between the trade deadline but before the Detroit game, also known as the month of March, the Coyotes had scored, drum roll please, 10 goals. That's 1.00 goals per game for all the math majors out there. Heck, the Sabres had at least scored 15 goals in their first 10 March games after trying their darndest to sell any player of value at the deadline.
But we're not done examining awful Coyotes scoring numbers yet. Here's a chart that breaks down the Coyotes scoring per period in the last three months.
|Month||1st Period||2nd Period||3rd Period|
There are no words. Something even worse that the table kind of glosses over is that in the last 22 games, the Coyotes have scored four total second period goals. Four! To put that in some perspective, in those same 22 games, Arizona has allowed two separate four goal periods. It's mind boggling.
One final thought. In order to avoid the dreaded stigma of finishing the season with a goals per game average below 2, the Coyotes need to reach 164 goals. With 149 goals through 74 games, the math works out to the Coyotes needing 15 goals over their final eight games. They last had a run like that from January 18th through February 5th. They scored 20 goals in those eight games, going 3-2-3. One thing working in their favor is two games with the Sabres in the final eight and two games with the floundering Sharks. But considering the Coyotes had 15 goals in the 14 games played before Tuesday's goal scoring explosion, nothing is guaranteed.
The Coyotes are 2-8-1 since March 1st even though they have only allowed 32 goals in that time. While a 2.90 goals against isn't great, it's better than the team's season number of 3.25. They are 2-17-1 in the last 20 games played. Since February 1st, their record is 5-18-2 and 8-25-4 in 2015 for 20 points. Arizona has been losing terribly and the offense is the big reason why.
No wonder we're all drooling over Max Domi, Anthony Duclair, Christian Dvorak and Brendan Perlini. Just the thought of offense is more than what we've seen in reality since the new year started.