The Arizona Coyotes will test their mettle during their remaining November games to measure their readiness to be a playoff contender.
The Arizona Coyotes are about to begin another important road trip, the results of which may give the team and its fans an early indication as to whether the team can realistically make the playoffs.
Sure, it’s only been a month since the regular season began, but after two consecutive disappointing losses where the Coyotes left points on the table, there may be a legitimate cause for concern.
The ‘Yotes travel to Washington to play the Metropolitan Division-leading Capitals (12-2-3, 27 points) on Monday, November 11, and then visit the current Central Division-leading, and Stanley Cup champion, St. Louis Blues (11-3-3, 25 points) the following night.
Although the Coyotes play against the Central Division’s bottom-dwelling Minnesota Wild (5-10-1, 11 points) tomorrow night at home and again in Minnesota five nights later, Thursday night’s result against the desperate and motivated Columbus Blue Jackets may portend rough times ahead for the Arizona Coyotes.
The concurrent absences of defensemen Niklas Hjalmarsson, Jordan Oesterle, and Jason Demers means that one-half of our defensive corps are not available to take the ice and compete against the two powerhouses early next week.
Missing Brad Richardson, one of the Coyotes’ most hard-working, two-way players on the roster and a key to the penalty-killing unit, is another problem. The team’s power-play unit performances have been lackluster recently, and the Coyotes will need to drastically improve on that during this game-heavy November.
The Coyotes have had several breakaway opportunities while shorthanded in the past two games and nothing to show for it other than good goalkeeping by the opponent’s netminder.
There are 12 games remaining to be played in November, and when the ‘Yotes return for a three-game home stand next week, they’ll be facing the talented Calgary Flames, the physical Drew Doughty and the ever-tough Los Angeles Kings, and the Auston Matthews-led Toronto Maple Leafs.
It is clear, then, that how the Coyotes collectively respond to their recent (but reparable) substandard efforts during the next few weeks will help establish whether their blue-collar mentality, strong work ethic, and gritty “scratchin’ and clawin'” attitude are enough to sustain them and attain solid, consistent results.
Let’s go Coyotes!