If the playoffs were to start tonight the Arizona Coyotes would be in. For a team that has battled as many injuries as they have this season to be so close to ending their six year playoff drought is kinda crazy. Thanks to a 3-1 win against the St. Louis Blues the Coyotes could finally play playoff hockey again next month. With twelve games left and a one point lead the Coyotes’ future is completely in their hands at this point.
Arizona’s win against the Blues wasn’t the cleanest victory they’ve had in a while. There are definite positives that we can look at though. Darcy Kuemper was able to stand on his head again, stopping 39 of 40 shots. Kuemper even got his first point of the season, assisting in Oliver Ekman-Larsson’s empty net goal which effectively ended any chance of a Blues come back. The team’s scoring by committee was again on display with three players scoring. They Coyotes may not finish with a 20 goal scorer this season, but they currently have eleven players with at least ten goals.
The Coyotes made the mistake of underestimating the Anaheim Ducks last week and they hopefully learned their lesson. The last time these two teams met Arizona came out pretty flat and the Ducks were able to take advantage. Key to that loss was Anaheim getting two power play goals in the third period, giving them the 3-1 victory. The Coyotes’ penalty kill unit has been one of the biggest contributing factors to their success this season and the loss shows how bad things can be if that fails, especially if they aren’t able to generate offense.
Since they beat the Coyotes, Anaheim has an interesting week. They would lose to the St. Louis Blues and Los Angeles Kings but won against the Nashville Predators and the Montreal Canadiens. Montreal is deep in the playoff hunt and yet Anaheim managed to win the game 8-2 with goals from seven players. Like Los Angeles, Anaheim seems to have decided to play spoilers as the season comes to an end. Arizona has already seen this in action once and they will hopefully be ready tonight.
Games to Watch
Players to Watch
Arizona: Darcy Kuemper - Kuemper has been outstanding in his role as starter and will hopefully continue his exceptional play. Moreso then probably any other season the Coyotes will be depending on their netminder to drag them into the playoffs.
Anaheim: Daniel Sprong - Sprong had the game winning goal against the Nashville Predators and has goals in his last three games. He didn’t score against the Coyotes last time these two met and hopefully he won’t this time.
Arizona: Derek Stepan (lower body), Kyle Capobianco (lower body), Nick Schmaltz (lower body), Antti Raanta (lower body)
Anaheim: Ryan Kesler (questionable, hip), Brendan Guhle (questionable, upper body), Chad Johnson (head), Ondrej Kase (shoulder)
Who do you want to win?
This poll is closed
Minnesota Wild, make it easier to overtake them for the first Wild Card spot
Dallas Stars, keep the Coyotes in the second Wild Card spot