The Minnesota Wild sit one place above the Arizona Coyotes in the playoff race and their loss last night gives the team a legitimate opportunity to overtake them.
With the Wild suffering a heavy 6-2 loss to the Florida Panthers, the Arizona Coyotes now have a golden opportunity in their hunt for the playoffs.
Prior to the Wild’s loss, the Minnesota club had a 33-27-8 record that saw them hold the final wildcard spot with 74 points in 68 games.
The Coyotes meanwhile had a 33-29-5 record, good for 71 points in 67 games, sitting one spot below the Wild and already eclipsing last season’s total of 70 with 15 games still to be played.
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A win in their game advantage would’ve still seen the Coyotes on the outside looking in, with just one point separating them from the Wild.
However, now that the Wild have lost and the Coyotes have yet to play, things are far more interesting in the Western Conference playoff hunt.
The Wild (33-28-8) have now played 69 games while the Coyotes remain on 67, with the same amount of points separating the two.
This presents Rick Tocchet‘s team with a chance to leapfrog the Wild and claim the final wildcard spot outright when both teams have played the same number.
The Arizona Coyotes now have two games to make ground on the Wild, with their next two coming against the LA Kings and the Chicago Blackhawks.
Should the Coyotes win both of their games, they would find themselves in the same spot the Wild were – one point inside the playoffs.
Their games against the Kings and Blackhawks should be seen as winnable, with the Coyotes having a combined 2-1-0 record over them.
The Coyotes are tied 1-1 with the Kings, both games ending 2-1, while they have a 4-1 victory over the Blackhawks so far this season.
Tocchet’s team still needs to play both teams two more times this season, but the first two could bump the team into the playoff picture.
The Arizona Coyotes have had a season that could easily be made into a book if they make the playoffs, with injuries and uncertainties swirling around.
And yet, they are still firmly in the hunt for the post-season and should now be viewed as a team that can legitimately cause some damage.
Ten wins in their last 13 games have greatly helped keep the Coyotes in the hunt and now, with the Wild dropping crucial points, they have a legitimate chance of claiming what fans are starting to believe is rightfully theirs.
What do you think Coyotes fans? Are you excited for the final run of the season? How important is Minnesota’s loss? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!