The Arizona Coyotes continue to find ways to win games in the NHL. They are currently second within the pacific division, tied with Edmonton for first in the division. Yet they are winning games in a confusing way.
When you look at the Coyotes record under different situations things get interesting. Usually, when you look at a game, you expect to see the team that outshot their opponent to win the game. You can’t score goals if you don’t shoot. Yet things aren’t working out that way for the Coyotes.
Arizona has a record of 5-6-1 when they outshoot opponents and a record of 13-5-3 when they are outshot according to Hockey-Reference. Outshooting your opponents is often a good thing, so why is it not working for the Coyotes?
The Arizona Coyotes play a defense-first system. Arizona does not take too many chances in the offensive zone, rather they choose to rely on their defensive play to help them win games. One reason they might have a better record when they got outshot comes down to who scores first.
The Coyotes have a 12-2-1 record when they score first. After scoring first the Coyotes start playing more of a sheltered type of play where they rely more on their defensive zone play. Arizona will give up some shots, but they aren’t high scoring chances.
Arizona is one of the best teams in their own end, and yet they give up more shots when they win. This is a testimony to Darcy Kuemper and Antti Raanta to make key saves when the ‘Yotes need it, as well as the Coyotes defensive system to not give up second or third scoring opportunities on one rush for the opponent.
One thing the Coyotes need to work on is playing a consistent game. I know it is easy to sit back and rely on the team’s defensive play when they find themselves up by a goal or two going into the second or third period, but when you realize the Coyotes give up most of their goals in the second and third period we need to see the same style of play from puck drop till the clock hits zero in the third period.
I know it is easier to play with a lead than it is to play from behind, but that does not change the fact that Arizona can not rely on their defensive play to secure the win. We still need to try and score goals with a lead. Hopefully, Arizona will play a consistent game tonight against the Blackhawks.