For the last couple of weeks, the Arizona Coyotes have not looked like the team that was one of the biggest surprises of the league this season. The Coyotes have struggled to maintain their winning ways and have slipped in the Pacific Division race.
Arizona is 2-6-1 since Jan. 15. That was the fateful day when John Scott, the captain of the Pacific Division All-Stars, was traded from Arizona to Montreal. While everything worked out for Scott in the All-Star Game, including scoring two goals and earning both All-Star MVP and First Star of the Week honors, the same cannot be said about Scott’s former team since the trade.
Arizona is currently on a four-game losing streak in which they have given up 21 goals. This slide was 73 seconds from being five games long if it was not for the Coyotes catching a break in a 2-1 shootout win in Minnesota.
Louis Domingue, who had been brilliant to begin the season in place of injured Mike Smith, has shown a few cracks in the armor during this recent skid. In this current losing streak, Domingue has a 6.10 GAA and a save percentage of .833.
Low scoring has also plagued Arizona as they have scored two goals or fewer in seven of the nine games since the Scott trade. Arizona’s anemic penalty kill has been even worse during this stretch, surrendering eight power-play goals on 33 shorthanded situations. While the Coyotes have successfully completed 11 of their last 12 penalty kills, they still own the second-worst penalty kill percentage in the league.
The Stretch Run
So did the Scott trade bring about some bad karma that the Coyotes have been unable to remove? Or did the controversial move happen to coincide with Arizona’s surprising year finally coming back down to Earth?
Either way, the Coyotes are now at a critical crossroads in their season with the trade deadline looming. The Coyotes have an important week ahead of them as they play three consecutive games against the Pacific Division, with home games against Vancouver and Calgary before visiting San Jose on Saturday. Arizona’s record in the Pacific was an impressive 10-1-2 prior to the Scott trade, but since then the Coyotes have gone 1-3-0 in divisional games. Two of those three defeats came last week as Arizona suffered a pair of blowout losses to Los Angeles and Anaheim.
The Coyotes went into the All-Star break in third place in the Pacific race, but are now five points behind the Ducks with 30 games left for both teams, including one head-to-head matchup in Glendale on March 3.
Charles Woodall-Pike is a journalist who writes about the Arizona Coyotes for The Hockey Writers.