It’s cliche time so here we go. This week is the biggest week to date for the Arizona Coyotes this season with three games against Pacific division opponents leading up to the all star break. Why is it so big? If the Coyotes want to stay in a playoff spot they must play well inside their division and coming off three straight losses and only three goals in that span the Coyotes must make a statement in these three games against the Sharks, Canucks and Oilers.
For the uninitiated the Pacific division this season is straight madness with no team staking its claim to the top spot in the standings. As of Tuesday afternoon, there are five teams separated by just two points for the three top spots in the division and the two western conference wild card slots. The Coyotes currently sit on top with 55 points in 48 games. What does this mean? It means a losing streak of two or three games or poor play inside the division will mean you will find yourself on the outside looking in. Luckily for the desert dogs they have been successful against division opponents so far this season with an 8-4-3 record. Getting five points over the next three games would go a long way towards cementing the Coyotes a top the Pacific.
Head Coach Rick Tocchet weighed in on the importance of these next few games after morning skate on Tuesday,
The keys to success over the next three games? The Coyotes are still ranked in the top half of the league on the power play but have struggled over the last three games without a power play goal. When scoring on the man advantage this season the Coyotes are an impressive 17-2-1. Goaltender Adin Hill also needs to play some big games. It’s no secret that the backbone of the Coyotes this season has been their stellar goaltending, they have given up the fifth least amount of goals in the NHL.
The next three games will be a second half measuring stick for how the Coyotes stack up against their division rivals and as the season winds down stacking up points is imperative.