Sure it’s early, but these next four games are crucial to the Arizona Coyotes and their season’s success. A similar trip near the end of last season doomed Arizona’s playoff chances.
While the Coyotes have played a few road games already this season, the upcoming four-game swing through New York will be the team’s first long road trip of the season. Kicking off Tuesday night at Madison Square Garden against the Rangers, the Coyotes will stay in the New York City area with a game on Long Island against the Islanders on Thursday, followed by a game Friday across the river against the New Jersey Devils. The trip will wrap up next Monday in Buffalo.
Last season with the Coyotes fighting for a playoff spot, they embarked on their final east coast road trip in late March. The first two games were in Florida against the Lightning and Panthers. The final two games were around New York City against the Devils and Islanders. The Coyotes lost all four games and effectively ended their playoff chances.
After the final game of that trip, Coyotes Defenseman Jason Demers said the Coyotes would need to win their final stretch of games. “You win those… and we forget all about this trip. You don’t win them and you think back to this trip,” lamented Demers. The Coyotes went on to win only three of their final six games and missed the playoffs by four points in the standings.
This trip must be different.
This is the team’s first east coast trip since last March and while it may be early in the season, the points matter just as much. Both the Rangers and Devils are struggling. The Coyotes have won their last three games and seek to keep that momentum going. The Rangers are in the middle of a four-game losing streak and haven’t won since October 5th. The Devils lost their first six games of the season before winning their last two. They don’t play again until their game against the Coyotes on Friday.
On the other hand, the Islanders and Sabers are playing well. The Islanders have won four games in a row and are off until they host the Coyotes on Thursday. The Sabers currently have the best record in the Eastern Conference and they will play three games before the Coyotes come to Buffalo next Monday.
More from Howlin' Hockey
- How the Arizona Coyotes could line-up with Logan Cooley signed
- Report: Logan Cooley could be closer to signing Arizona Coyotes ELC
- Arizona Coyotes sign Matias Maccelli to three-year deal
- Ivan Prosvetov signs one-year deal with Arizona Coyotes
- Arizona Coyotes cut Galchenyuk after reported police incident
Points in the NHL standings are just as important early in the season as they are late in the season when every team is fighting for playoff position. The Arizona Coyotes cannot afford a repeat of their last East Coast road trip.