The Phoenix Coyotes vs Detroit Red Wings game Monday night at Joe Louis arena in Detroit is only one of the four remaining games left in the Coyotes regular season but it is probably the game that decides whether they make the playoffs. The Coyotes are far from mathematically eliminated from gaining eighth place and qualifying for post-season play but of the four contending teams they have the toughest road to get there. They have a couple of obstacles in their way but the biggest is that they have to leap-frog over three teams to grab eighth place. The other thing they have going against them is that they have the lowest total of ROW’s (regulation/overtime wins). The ROW is the first statistic used as a tie-breaker at season’s end. If the Coyotes can get a clean two point regulation win on Monday they would tie Detroit with 48 points and now the fun begins and the obstacles get a bit smaller.
I have included Minnesota in the big picture but they really have the easiest schedule of the five teams listed and should make it so lets concentrate on the remaining four teams. If you look at the standings along with the games remaining a couple of things really jump out at you. The three teams Phoenix has to leap over play in four games against each other so somebody is going to lose. The Coyotes get a chance to go home for two games while Detroit, Dallas and Columbus have to play each other in their remaining three to four games. Dallas would seemingly have the advantage as they play head to head against Columbus and Detroit so they control their own destiny.
Scoreboard Watching !!!
The Coyotes will be hoping that these games will be clean regulation wins and not the dreaded 3 point games that would more than likely seal their fate. The bottom line for Phoenix is to win their home games and see if the last game of the season in Anaheim still has meaning. The past three seasons this team has shown that they are a resilient bunch and won’t go down without a fight. Their job now is to take care of business and hope for a little help. There is going to be a lot of scoreboard watching by all four of these teams and that’s what makes this time of the season fun. Fighting to stay alive in the play-off race is almost as much fun as being in the play-offs. Ask any player, this is what they play for.
Winning in Detroit on Monday night doesn’t guarantee anything but it will go a long way to keeping them in the hunt.