The Arizona Coyotes just capped off the month from hell, they played 16 games including four different back-to-back situations and very little practice time. Despite the lack of practice time the Coyotes still managed to put up a .593 points percentage and when the calendar flipped to December they were still a top-10 team in the entire NHL with 34 points in 28 games and a positive goal differential. Right now they seem well on their way to a postseason berth however there are a few things that have crept into their game that might be concerning.
Earlier this season the Coyotes showed they could be a dangerous possession team. In the first month of the season they held a shot attempt percentage (Corsi if you’re a stat nerd) of over 50-percent. In the month of November that dipped to 43.49 percent which was 30th in the league. It's possible to chalk that up to lack of practice time or their crazy travel schedule but it should speak to the compete level that Rick Tocchet has instilled in his team that despite being in their defensive zone that much the team was able to carry a winning record in the month of November of 8-5-3. Rick Tocchet was asked about the teams month of November after the loss to San Jose and talked about how early in the season it still is, “It’s been a tough month and we put some points away but that doesn’t mean we can rest on our laurels.” Tocchet said “ It’s November, there are so many games left. We have to make sure the details of our game have to be focused.”
Luckily for the Coyotes, early season success in the NHL is a massive boost. Fox Sports Arizona shared a stat on their broadcast recently about how many teams in a playoff position on Thanksgiving end up in the postseason.
If the Coyotes are able to sustain this pace they would eclipse 100 points in a season for only the second time since moving to Arizona and to say they are still on pace for over 100 points after a wild November should have Coyotes fans pretty happy. Only problem is they kickoff December with another tough four-game road trip in Columbus with a back to to back against two of the best teams in the eastern conference (Pittsburgh & Philadelphia) sandwiched in the middle. In December the Coyotes will play 14 times with eight on the road and six games at home. The Coyotes have gotten themselves on the national radar through the first third of the season & have proven as Coach Tocchet said recently “We are not the hunters anymore, we are the huntees. People are going to come after us and we got to be ready to go.”