The Arizona Coyotes are in trouble. They had a terrible January and with the loss against the Chicago Blackhawks on Saturday it is starting to bleed into February. If they want to turn things around they are going to need to act fact.
In their last nine games, they are 1-5-3 with their one win coming against San Jose Sharks, a team at the bottom of the Western Conference. And while the Coyotes other opponents haven’t been the easiest, they still should have won more than just one game.
It’s not like the Coyotes are playing trivial games that they can afford to blow off. At this point in the season, all games are important, but the Coyotes played three key games against teams they competing against for a Western Conference playoff spot.
Unfortunately, the Coyotes issues are both on the offense and the defense. In that nine-game stretch, they have allowed at least three goals in every game, and they have only scored three or more goals in three of the games.
Unfortunately, there isn’t an easy solution for the Coyotes. While goaltender Darcy Kuemper is close to returning, it won’t fix the team’s middling offense. A star goaltender can do a lot, but it isn’t going to get the team’s power play going.
Other then Kuemper the Coyotes don’t have many players coming off of IR. Oliver Ekman-Larsson and Ilya Lyubushkin are both day-to-day with a lower-body injury and illness respectively, but they have both been available during the recent losing streak. Barrett Hayton has been out since the World Juniors Championship, but based on the start of this season he won’t be able to carry the team.
While the Coyotes have had players like Brad Richardson, Niklas Hjalmarsson, and Phil Kessel who have won it all, the Coyotes are still a young team. Most of the Coyotes core is younger and has limited if any playoff experience. Winning the important games this time of year gets tougher and tougher, and it is trial by fire for many.
Recently the Coyotes had a team meeting to address the issues. We have seen the Coyotes play better to start the season, and so hopefully they can do what they need to to make adjustments.
The Coyotes don’t need a hero to climb the standings and secure a playoff spot. They need everyone to step up and play their best hockey. The reason the Coyotes only had one All-Star representative was that they won their games with a balanced approach and everyone doing their job.