Monday Morning Howl: 4 Games, 5 Points for Coyotes

Following their exciting 5-4 victory over the New Jersey Devils on Mar. 11 at Gila River Arena, the Arizona Coyotes got back to work against the Colorado Avalanche last Monday in the first of four games on the week. There would be just one goal scored on the night, and it would come off of the stick of Coyotes’ rookie Brendan Perlini during the second period as Arizona picked up a 1-0 victory.

The Coyotes would then head over to Los Angeles to take on the Kings on Tuesday night in what was a very entertaining contest between two bitter Pacific Division rivals. Tyler Toffoli scored what appeared to be the game-winning goal on the power play with just 1:36 left, but the Coyotes answered less than a minute later with a goal from Max Domi to send the game to overtime.

Despite having a late power play chance, the Coyotes would be unable to score during the extra frame, but they picked up the victory in the shootout as Tony DeAngelo put a shot past Ben Bishop in the 11th round of the skills contest to give Arizona the 3-2 victory.

The Coyotes returned home to Gila River Arena on Thursday night to take on the Detroit Red Wings, and would again end up in a shootout after 65 minutes of play. However, it appeared as if they used up all of their shootout luck in Los Angeles on Tuesday as Wings forward Gustav Nyquist scored the only goal of the skills contest to give the Red Wings the 5-4 victory.

On Saturday, the Coyotes would wrap up their week against the St. Louis Blues looking to end on a high note, but would struggle offensively and suffered their ninth consecutive loss in regulation to St. Louis by the score of 3-0.


Hitting the Road

Following their loss to the St. Louis Blues on Saturday night in Glendale, the Coyotes will hit the road for a five-game road trip starting on Monday night in Nashville. The Coyotes won both matchups against Nashville earlier in the season, but this is the team’s first visit of the year to Bridgestone Arena, where they haven’t won since a 7-4 victory way back on Mar. 28, 2013. Puck drop is scheduled for 7:00 P.M. local time at Nashville (5:00 P.M. in Arizona).

After wrapping things up in Nashville on Monday, the Coyotes will make the trip down to Florida for a Tuesday night matchup against the Tampa Bay Lightning. After struggling for most of the season, Tampa Bay has improved significantly since the trade deadline as they’ve posted a record of 7-3-1 since Feb. 23. Puck drop is scheduled for 7:30 P.M. local time in Tampa (4:30 P.M. in Arizona).

On Thursday, the Coyotes will make the 250-mile trip westward to the BB&T Center, where they’ll take on Jaromir Jagr and the Florida Panthers. Since sweeping their five-game road trip from Feb. 11 thru Feb. 20, the Panthers have struggled badly, as they’re just 3-9-1 in 13 games since. Puck drop is scheduled for 7:30 P.M. local time in Sunrise (4:30 P.M. in Arizona).

The Coyotes will then finish out their week in Washington, D.C. against Alex Ovechkin and the league-leading Washington Capitals. By virtue of their 5-3 victory over the Lightning on Saturday night, the Caps were the first team in the NHL to clinch a playoff berth. Puck drop is scheduled for 7:00 P.M. local time at the Verizon Center (4:00 P.M. in Arizona).

Smith Sets Record

Mike Smith has already broken the franchise record for saves by a goalie this season, and he recently added another franchise record to his resume as well. With the Coyotes’ 1-0 shutout victory over the Colorado Avalanche on Monday, Smith became the franchise’s record holder for shutouts by a goaltender with 22.

Smith might not be done there, however, as he’s just four wins away from breaking the franchise record for wins by a goaltender. With 11 games remaining, there’s a chance Smith could reach another milestone before season’s end.


Pacific Division Roundup

With three weeks remaining in the regular season, San Jose’s lead for first place in the Pacific has been cut to just four points. Here’s how Arizona’s other division rivals fared last week:

Anaheim Ducks (38-23-11, 87 points)

  • Last week: 2-0-1
  • Analysis: The Ducks continued their outstanding play last week as they picked up five of a possible six points. They’re 5-1-1 in their last seven contests and are now just four points behind the Sharks for first place in the division.
  • Player of the week: Jonathan Bernier – 2-0-1 record, 89 saves on 92 shots (.967 SV%)
  • This week: Wed vs EDM, Fri vs WPG, Sun vs NYR

Calgary Flames (41-27-4, 86 points)

  • Last week: 3-1-0
  • Analysis: Calgary’s lengthy winning streak came to an end at 10 games last Wednesday against the Bruins, but they promptly began another streak with victories against Dallas and Los Angeles on Friday and Sunday. They’re 13-2-1 in 16 games since their bye week.
  • Player of the week: Brian Elliott – 3-0-0 record, 75 saves on 81 shots (.926 SV%)
  • This week: Tue at WSH, Thu at NSH, Sat at STL

Edmonton Oilers (38-24-9, 85 points)

  • Last week: 3-0-0
  • Analysis: The Oilers broke out of a three-game skid in a big way last week as they scored 16 goals in three games to finish the week with a perfect 3-0-0 record. They’re just a single point behind Calgary for the third spot in the Pacific with a game in hand.
  • Player of the week: Leon Draisaitl – Goal, 6 assists, +4
  • This week: Mon vs LA, Wed at ANA, Thu at COL, Sat vs COL

Los Angeles Kings (34-30-7, 75 points)

  • Last week: 1-2-1
  • Analysis: Los Angeles’ playoff hopes took a big hit last week, as they only picked up three of a possible eight points against St. Louis, Arizona, Buffalo, and Calgary. They’re now six points behind Nashville for the West’s final playoff spot and will need to go on a serious run to make up the deficit with 11 games remaining.
  • Player of the week: Anze Kopitar – Goal, 3 assists
  • This week: Mon at EDM, Thu vs WPG, Sat vs NYR

San Jose Sharks (42-22-7, 91 points)

  • Last week: 1-2-0
  • Analysis: San Jose started last week with a 4-1 victory over the Buffalo Sabres on Tuesday, but followed that up with back-to-back losses to St. Louis and Anaheim on Thursday and Saturday. They’ll need to get things moving in the right direction again before the playoffs start, but the schedule won’t get much easier this week, as they’ll play two separate back-to-backs.
  • Player of the week: Martin Jones – 1-1-0 record, 47 saves on 50 shots (.940 SV%)
  • This week: Mon at DAL, Tue at MIN, Fri at DAL, Sat at NSH

Vancouver Canucks (28-34-9, 65 points)

  • Last week: 0-3-0
  • Analysis: The Canucks lost three more games in regulation last week, and now are 0-4-2 in their last six contests. It’ll be another long offseason in British Columbia as Vancouver tries to sort out their offensive woes.
  • Players of the week: Markus Granlund – 2 goals, assist, 14 shots
  • This week: Tue at CHI, Thu at STL, Sat at MIN, Sun at WPG

The Coyotes saw their five-game point streak come to an end on Saturday against the St. Louis Blues, but they’ll have a chance to start another streak and play spoiler this week with four road games on the East Coast.