Monday Morning Howl: The Streak Ends at Nine

After having three days off following their New Year’s Eve loss to the Flames in Calgary, the Arizona Coyotes got back to work on Wednesday night against the Vancouver Canucks and were undoubtedly looking to halt their losing streak at seven. However, things would continue to get worse for the struggling Coyotes as they allowed two breakaway goals and a penalty shot goal in what eventually became a 3-0 shutout loss to the Canucks.

Following their loss in British Columbia, the Coyotes headed south to Orange County to take on the Anaheim Ducks looking to pick up their first win since Dec. 15, but were unable to do so, as a brutal turnover by goaltender Mike Smith in overtime ended up in the back of the net as the Ducks picked up the 3-2 victory over the Desert Dogs at the Honda Center.

The Coyotes returned home to Gila River Arena on Saturday night to host the New York Islanders and were finally able to snap their losing streak with a 2-1 shootout victory after Brendan Perlini scored late in the third period to send the game to overtime.

A Much-Needed Breather

Following Saturday’s win over the Islanders, the Coyotes began their league-mandated bye week and won’t return to the ice until Friday, when they’ll host the Winnipeg Jets at Gila River Arena. The Coyotes have dropped two straight against Winnipeg, and haven’t defeated them since Dec. 31, 2015. However, the Jets could be without rookie sensation Patrik Laine for this one, as the youngster suffered a concussion after being absolutely leveled by Sabres defenseman Jake McCabe at center ice on Saturday in Buffalo. Puck drop is scheduled for 7:00 P.M. in Glendale.

The Coyotes will be back at Gila River Arena again on Saturday night as they’ll face off against the Anaheim Ducks for the second time in as many weeks. Anaheim defeated the Coyotes 3-2 in overtime at the Honda Center on Friday so it’s likely that Dave Tippett’s squad will be looking to exact a bit of revenge upon their division rival in Glendale. Puck drop is scheduled for 6:00 P.M. at Gila River Arena.

Duclair, Vrbata Money in Shootout

Although the Coyotes have struggled to score goals this season, one area in which they have excelled in 2016-17 has been the shootout; the Coyotes are 4-1 in games decided in the skills contest, and beautiful goals from Anthony Duclair and Radim Vrbata have been a big reason for their success.

Both players scored in the shootout on Saturday night against the Islanders, and, while doing so, helped the Coyotes pick up their first win since Dec. 15, which also came in shootout fashion.

Domingue Breaks Out of Funk

It’s no secret that Coyotes goaltender Louis Domingue has struggled badly this season after his breakout 2015-16 season. Prior to Saturday’s game against the Islanders, Domingue had won just four of his 14 starts and had posted a save percentage of .895, which was well below the established NHL average. However, Domingue bounced back in a big way against the Isles on Saturday; he stopped 27 of the 28 shots he saw in regulation and overtime and came up with saves on both of New York’s shootout attempts to give the Coyotes a much-needed 2-1 victory.

If Domingue is able to turn his season around, he should be able to take some of the pressure off of Mike Smith, who has seen an immense workload this season.

Pacific Division Roundup

At the halfway point in the season, the Sharks and Ducks are tied for first place in the Pacific with 50 points apiece. Here’s how Arizona’s other division rivals fared last week:

Anaheim Ducks (21-13-8, 50 points)

  • Last week: 2-1-0
  • Analysis: Anaheim picked up big home wins over the Red Wings and Coyotes on Wednesday and Friday, but ran into a brick wall in the form of Devan Dubnyk in a 2-1 loss to the Minnesota Wild on Sunday.
  • Player of the week: John Gibson – 2-1-0 record, 78 saves on 82 shots (.951 SV%), 1 SO
  • This week: Tue vs DAL, Thu at COL, Sat at AZ, Sun vs STL

Calgary Flames (22-18-2, 46 points)

  • Last week: 2-1-0
  • Analysis: The Flames continue to play well; they picked up a 4-1 victory over the struggling Avalanche on Wednesday and earned a split in a weekend home-and-home with the red-hot Canucks. They sit two points ahead of Los Angeles for the first wild card seed in the West.
  • Player of the week: Michael Frolik – 3 goals, +2, 10 shots
  • This week: Mon at WPG, Wed vs SJ, Fri vs NJ, Sat at EDM

Edmonton Oilers (21-14-7, 49 points)

  • Last week: 2-2-0
  • Analysis: The Oilers have struggled a bit in recent weeks with a 3-2-2 record in their last seven, but still find themselves in playoff position in the Pacific despite a 9-7-2 record on home ice. With a six-game homestand coming up, they’ll need to be better at Rogers Place.
  • Player of the week: Patrick Maroon – 5 goals, assist, +5, 12 PIM, 15 SOG
  • This week: Tue vs SJ, Thu vs NJ, Sat vs CGY

Los Angeles Kings (20-16-4, 44 points)

  • Last week: 2-1-0
  • Analysis: The Kings picked up two more overtime victories last week, and improved to 8-0-1 in games decided in 3-on-3 OT this season. However, they’re just 12-16-3 in games decided in regulation or the shootout and will need to improve in that area in order to climb up the standings.
  • Player of the week: Jeff Carter – 2 goals, 3 assists, 9 shots
  • This week: Mon vs DAL, Thu vs STL, Sat vs WPG

San Jose Sharks (24-14-2, 50 points)

  • Last week: 1-1-1
  • Analysis: San Jose picked up three points during last week’s three-game homestand, and will need to pick up the pace to stay ahead of the Ducks, who are tied with the Sharks for first place in the Pacific.
  • Player of the week: Brent Burns – 4 assists, +3, 9 shots
  • This week: Tue at EDM, Wed at CGY, Sat vs STL

Vancouver Canucks (20-19-3, 43 points)

  • Last week: 3-1-0
  • Analysis: The Canucks have won six of the last seven, and have quickly climbed back into playoff contention after falling on hard times following a 4-0-0 start. They’re just a single point behind the Los Angeles Kings for the last wild card spot in the West, but their 5-13-1 road record leaves a lot to be desired.
  • Players of the week: Ryan Miller – 3-0-0 record, 90 saves on 94 shots (.957 SV%), 1 SO
  • This week: Tue at NSH, Thu at PHI, Sun vs NJ

The Coyotes finally broke their nine-game losing streak with a victory over the Islanders on Saturday and entered their bye week on a high note. They’ll be back in action on Friday night against the Jets.