The Arizona Coyotes currently at the time of this article sit at fourth place in the Honda West Division with a record of 19-16-5 for 43 points. With a loss Wednesday night to the Los Angeles Kings along with a St Louis Blues win, the Coyotes face a potential season-defining four games stretch starting tonight. The Coyotes’ next four games will see the team travel to play the Vegas Golden Knights twice, the Colorado Avalanche once, and the Minnesota Wild to close out the trip.
How Do The Coyotes Stack Up?
Prior to heading into tonight’s matchup against the Golden Knights, it’s worth noting that the Coyotes have struggled mightily this season against the three-headed dragon, a.k.a. Vegas, Colorado, and Minnesota. Through 16 games played against the three teams combined, the Coyotes are 4-11-1 with nine points in those games so far. Any Coyotes fan like myself will tell you that whenever a matchup looms against one of the three, optimism isn’t high in the air.
There’s a reason for little optimism, though, in the fan base. In four games against Vegas so far, Arizona is 1-3-0 for two points. Against the Wild, the team is 1-4-0 in five games for two points, and against the Avalanche, the team is 2-4-1 for five points, which may seem pretty even until you realize Colorado won the last meeting 9-3. Not only this, but Colorado, Minnesota, and Vegas are outscoring the Coyotes 61-33 in just 16 combined games.
Another area that the Coyotes are getting dominated in this season and especially against these three teams is in the shots category. In 16 combined games, Arizona is being outshot 531-390 against the three-headed dragon. These are numbers that fans and analysts look at and take note of, and these numbers suggest Arizona is in trouble heading into the next four games.
What To Expect In The Next Four Games?
These next four games could see Arizona maintain the fourth and final playoff spot in the Honda West Division and hopefully clinch in the following weeks, or hit a wall and see the Blues, the San Jose Sharks, or the Kings all surpass them and leave the Coyotes in the dust. While the optimism heading into the next four games starting tonight may not be high, the Coyotes have something that’s working in their favor.
Over their past 10 games, Arizona has compiled a nice record of 7-3-0, with their only losses coming at the hands of the red-hot Avalanche and Wednesday’s loss to the Kings. During this stretch, the Coyotes have scored 38 goals and have seen players like Phil Kessel record his seventh career hat-trick, and Derrick Brassard, Jakob Chychrun, and Michael Bunting all record their first career hat-trick.
The Coyotes will need to keep up the hot scoring streak and strong play from all four lines along with continued solid play from recently red hot goalie Adin Hill if they want to pick up some crucial points during these next four games. The team will look to guys like Chychrun, Keller, Garland, Dvorak, and recently hot Michael Bunting as their go-to guys over the four-game stretch starting in Vegas if they want to keep trending upwards and remain in the playoff race.
Over the past 10 games, the Coyotes have gotten a combined 15 goals and 18 assists for 33 points out of the previously mentioned players. Add in the help from third and fourth-line guys like Johan Larsson, and you have a team that right now can hang with anyone else in the league. The Coyotes will need to keep playing with that chip on their shoulder if they want to keep proving doubters who think they shouldn’t be in the playoff race wrong.
The next four games will be the Coyotes’ toughest test, in my opinion, and all eyes will be on the standings after the end of it all. What do you think, though? They have a mountain to climb starting tonight and ending next Wednesday, with a crucial eight points on the line. The season is potentially on the line. Can the Coyotes continue their hot play, or will they run into a wall? Let us know below.
Mr. Evans is originally from Greenville, SC but currently resides in Charleston, SC. Mr. Evans has been involved in hockey for the past 16 years now, following the Arizona Coyotes and St. Louis Blues. During his free time, Mr. Evans enjoys spending time with his family and girlfriend as well as being up in the mountains or taking pictures. Prior to joining The Hockey Writers, Mr. Evans has been covering the ECHL’s South Carolina Stingrays for The Puck Authority during the current hockey season. You can find Mr. Evans on Twitter at @HaynesPEvans.