After being shut out by the Anaheim Ducks at Gila River Arena on Jan. 14, the Arizona Coyotes headed up to Edmonton on Monday looking to turn things around against the Oilers. They were unable to solve Cam Talbot and the Edmonton defense as they lost, 3-1, despite some outstanding goaltending by Mike Smith.
Absolute thievery by Mike Smith. pic.twitter.com/y9oOQTi4Fs
— NHL (@NHL) January 17, 2017
The Coyotes then traveled east to Manitoba on Wednesday to take on the Winnipeg Jets, but were unable to stop the bleeding as they were blown out by a 6-3 margin despite holding a 2-1 lead after the first period. With the loss, the Coyotes fell to 0-5-2 in Winnipeg since the Jets returned in 2011, and haven’t won a game in the city since the franchise’s final days as the old Jets in 1996.
It's pretty evident that @NikolajEhlers24 can shoot the puck…
…and shoot it well. pic.twitter.com/QFR38bksGx
— NHL (@NHL) January 19, 2017
Following their loss in Winnipeg, the Coyotes headed south to Minnesota to take on the Wild and met a similar fate there as they dropped their fourth consecutive game by a 4-3 margin.
The Coyotes returned home on Saturday to take on the Tampa Bay Lightning and were finally able to turn things around as they exploded for five goals in less than two periods as they defeated Jon Cooper’s squad, 5-3.
— NHL (@NHL) January 22, 2017
Staying in Glendale
Following Saturday’s victory over the Lightning, the Coyotes will remain at home and will host the ageless Jaromir Jagr and the Florida Panthers on Monday. The Coyotes are 5-0-1 in their last six home matchups against the Panthers and will be looking to continue their home dominance over Florida. Puck drop is scheduled for 7:00 P.M in Glendale.
Practice day! 💪 pic.twitter.com/ut53ak4PYj
— Florida Panthers (@FlaPanthers) January 22, 2017
The Coyotes will then play their final game before the All-Star break at Gila River Arena on Thursday night against the Vancouver Canucks. The Canucks have taken all three matchups so far in the season series and won the most recent matchup on Jan. 4 by the score of 3-0. Puck drop is scheduled for 7:00 P.M in Glendale.
Doan Ready to Move On?
Coyotes captain Shane Doan has had a marvelous career in Arizona, but could his time in the desert soon be coming to an end? Rumors that Captain Coyote would be willing to waive his no-trade clause and move to a Stanley Cup-contending team have been swirling for the better part of a week and show no signs of slowing down anytime soon.
"If it comes to that point, we'll sit down and talk about it." https://t.co/CoTklHqC0j
— NHL (@NHL) January 17, 2017
Doan is no stranger to such rumors; trade talks start to heat up regarding the Coyotes captain every season as the team falls out of playoff contention, but he’s always been quick to shoot down such rumors before they’re able to gain much traction. However, things seem different this year; Doan is likely in his final season as a player, and reportedly has grown frustrated with ownership and management after a protracted contract negotiation over the offseason.
The prospect of seeing their long-time Captain play for another team likely isn’t something many Coyotes fans want to see or think about, but it might be the best option for Doan at this point in his career; the 21-year NHL veteran has played in over 1,500 games for the Coyotes and has represented the franchise with class and dignity both on and off the ice. Doan has given his career to the Coyotes, and it’s time that the Coyotes give something back to Doan: a chance to win a Stanley Cup.
Duclair Demoted, Fisher Makes Debut
It’s no secret that Anthony Duclair has struggled badly this season; after scoring 20 goals as a rookie in 2015-16, the youngster has recorded just three goals and six assists this season and has been a healthy scratch on multiple occasions in the desert. Duclair has had a few solid games here and there throughout the season but has lacked the consistency that he showed throughout last season. Indeed, after 41 games, it appears as if the Coyotes have seen enough, as they elected to send the youngster to the Tucson Roadrunners of the AHL prior to Thursday’s game against the Minnesota Wild.
— NBC Sports (@NBCSports) January 20, 2017
The team still undoubtedly believes in Duclair, but they likely want him to regain his confidence by spending some time playing at a lower level. For Duclair, the demotion likely is a tough pill to swallow after tasting success as an NHLer last season, but this move is the best thing for his development, as it’ll allow him to work on his game in a low-pressure environment.
In a related move, the Coyotes rewarded newly named AHL All-Star Christian Fischer with an NHL promotion on Friday. Fischer has had a very good season with the Roadrunners in 2016-17; he’s recorded 32 points in 31 games but he’s played particularly well over his last 16 games, as he’s put up 13 goals and 12 assists over that span. He played in his first career NHL game on Saturday night against the Tampa Bay Lightning and made the most of his opportunity as he scored the eventual game-winner on his first career shot on goal.
Fischer on first NHL goal: "Just lucky enough to tap that one in."
— FOX Sports Arizona (@FOXSPORTSAZ) January 22, 2017
Fischer has had an outstanding rookie season in the AHL, and, like fellow rookie Brendan Perlini, should be able to carry his success over to the NHL this season.
Burmistrov Worth the Wait
It took newly acquired forward Alexander Burmistrov a few weeks to get his visa issues sorted out prior to joining the Coyotes after being claimed off of waivers, but he has ultimately proven to be worth the wait. After recording just two points in 23 games with the Jets this season prior to being waived, the former first-round pick notched three assists in his first four contests in a Coyotes uniform and has not looked out of place on Arizona’s scoring lines.
Alex Burmistrov accused the Jets of "never believing" in him like the Coyotes do. He might be right. https://t.co/7QiT1Cqekl
— SB Nation NHL (@SBNationNHL) January 20, 2017
After falling out of favor in Winnipeg, Burmistrov has received a second chance in the desert and has made the most of it through four games. If he’s able to continue playing well, he could prove to be yet another waiver wire steal for the Coyotes.
Pacific Division Roundup
The Ducks continue to lead in the Pacific, but the Sharks are just a single point behind with two games in hand. Here’s how Arizona’s other division rivals fared last week:
Anaheim Ducks (26-14-9, 61 points)
- Last week: 2-1-0
- Analysis: The Ducks won their first two games of the week by 2-1 margins, but then allowed three third-period goals in less than two minutes on Saturday in Minnesota as they lost by the score of 5-3. They’ll look to get back on track on Monday night in Winnipeg.
- Player of the week: John Gibson – 2-0-0 record, 52 saves on 55 shots (.945 SV%)
- This week: Mon at WPG, Wed vs EDM
Calgary Flames (24-22-3, 51 points)
- Last week: 1-2-0
- Analysis: Calgary started their week with a 5-2 victory over the Florida Panthers on Tuesday, but followed that up with back-to-back losses to the Predators and Oilers. With their loss to the Oilers, the Flames were swept in the Battle of Alberta for the first time in franchise history.
- Player of the week: Sean Monahan – 3 goals, 2 assists, +1, 13 shots
- This week: Mon at TOR, Tue at MTL, Thu at OTT
Edmonton Oilers (26-15-8, 60 points)
- Last week: 3-0-1
- Analysis: The Oilers had quite a week; they picked up seven of eight possible points and demolished the rival Calgary Flames to earn the season sweep in the Battle of Alberta. With such offensive talent on the roster, they’ll be a dangerous opponent for anyone in the Western Conference playoffs.
- Player of the week: Jordan Eberle – 3 goals, 3 assists, +1, 13 shots
- This week: Wed at ANA, Thu at SJ
Los Angeles Kings (22-20-4, 48 points)
- Last week: 0-3-0
- Analysis: Things couldn’t have gone worse for the Los Angeles Kings last week; they lost all three of their games in regulation and have fallen completely out of a playoff spot in the West. The Kings need to play better in many areas, but they need to significantly improve on the road, as they’re just 8-12-3 away from the Staples Center this season.
- Player of the week: Drew Doughty – Goal, assist, +2, 5 shots
- This week: Mon at NYR, Tue at NJ, Thu at CAR
San Jose Sharks (29-16-2, 60 points)
- Last week: 4-0-0
- Analysis: The Sharks picked up victories over the Jets, Kings, Lightning and Avalanche last week, and have climbed to within one point of the first-place Anaheim Ducks in the Pacific Division.
- Player of the week: Martin Jones/Aaron Dell – 4-0-0 record, 103 saves on 110 shots (.936 SV%)
- This week: Mon at COL, Tue at WPG, Thu vs EDM
Vancouver Canucks (22-20-6, 50 points)
- Last week: 2-1-0
- Analysis: The Canucks scored just five goals in three games last week, but managed to pick up two victories thanks to some outstanding goaltending from Ryan Miller. Also deserving of recognition is forward Henrik Sedin, who recorded his 1,000th career point with a goal on his former teammate Roberto Luongo on Thursday at Rogers Arena.
- Players of the week: Ryan Miller – 2-1-0 record, 95 saves on 99 shots (.960 SV%), 1 shutout
- This week: Wed at COL, Thu at AZ
The Coyotes played very well against the Lightning on Saturday night in Glendale and will need to string together a few more solid performances this week in order to enter the All-Star break on a positive note.
A lifelong Phoenix resident, Louis has been following hockey since 2010, has covered the Arizona Coyotes since 2015, and has been playing hockey since 2020. So far, Louis has visited eight NHL cities, and one of his personal goals is to eventually make it to all 31 NHL arenas. For any questions or concerns, contact the writer via Twitter @LouisPannone.