With the 2014-15 NHL season coming down to its final week, the Arizona Coyotes are not going down without a fight. Although the Coyotes have been eliminated from contention for a while, that has not stopped them from playing improved hockey in the second half. That could make an impact in the final week of the season as they take on three Pacific Division rivals that are still playing for something down the stretch.
Calgary and Vancouver
With the Coyotes traveling to both Calgary and Vancouver, Arizona will have plenty to say over who will host a first-round playoff series and who will have to go on the road to start their Stanley Cup quest. The Calgary Flames and the Vancouver Canucks are in similar situations in the playoff picture. The Canucks are trying to hold off the Flames for second place in the Pacific Division, which comes with home-ice advantage in round one. Meanwhile, Calgary is trying to keep ahead of the defending champion Los Angeles Kings, who are chasing both the Flames in the Pacific Division and the Winnipeg Jets for the final wild card spot. The Coyotes have split the first four games with Vancouver, which included Sam Gagner getting the shootout winner during Arizona’s Throwback Night on March 5. However, Arizona has not beaten Calgary in four attempts this year, getting outscored 17-6 in the process.
Finale Against Anaheim
The Coyotes wrap up their season when they host the Anaheim Ducks on April 11. Anaheim already has the Pacific Division title locked up, but the Ducks are still battling for the Presidents’ Trophy and home-ice throughout the playoffs. There are still a handful of teams that can still catch the Ducks for the league’s best record, including the New York Rangers, Montreal Canadiens, and Nashville Predators. With all 30 teams in action on the season’s final day, the league’s best record could still be up for grabs. Arizona has already beaten Anaheim twice this year, including a 2-1 shootout win on December 27 where Shane Doan broke his stick on the deciding goal.
Charles Woodall-Pike is a journalist who writes about the Arizona Coyotes for The Hockey Writers.