Arizona Coyotes Need to Beat San Jose Sharks at Home Tonight

Arizona Coyotes (Photo by Norm Hall/NHLI via Getty Images)
Arizona Coyotes (Photo by Norm Hall/NHLI via Getty Images) /

The Coyotes need to take charge of the Pacific Division by beating their fellow division members at home and away. It needs to begin soon. Tonight would be perfect!

As the NHL season approaches its break week, teams have already begun to gear up for the privilege of competing in the playoffs. Trades have been made to strengthen teams with certain roles and holes to fill, and many players that have been on injured lists for a while are becoming healthy.

As a result, it is more critical than ever for teams to defeat their intradivision opponents as they jockey for position for those limited playoff spots. Tonight, by gosh, the Coyotes host the Pacific Division’s San Jose Sharks at GRA.

There isn’t a better time to take control of their destiny for the Coyotes than now. Niklas Hjalmarsson is back to bolster the defense along with talented “D” man Jakob Chychrun and Captain Oliver Ekman-Larrson.

The blue liners, as much as they have already contributed to the ‘Yotes’ offensive production, know that the team’s style and system are to protect the house first and then transition as a unit into the “O” zone. The Coyotes aren’t talented enough to score 5 or 6 goals a night and thus not pay attention to the defensive end of the ice.

Taylor Hall will get better as he acclimates himself to his teammates and vice versa, and it’s time for the talented desert dogs to be a bit more selfish and shoot the puck when they have an open lane. As good as the Coyotes’ are at “assisting,” they need to spread the “points via goals” around by putting the ‘ol biscuit in the basket!

Schmaltz, Garland, Hinostroza, Stepan, Kessel, Keller, Hall, Dvorak, et al are capable of driving defenses crazy when they use their speed and quickness to their advantage and cycle down low.

Most importantly, if the Coyotes are going to separate themselves from the rest of the Pacific Division pack, they must help their goalkeepers defend their net and “D” zone like they did against the Florida Panthers a week or so ago.

Exiting the defensive zone only to lose puck possession because of a bad pass or being stripped of it cannot result in a counterattack and an odd man rush. Being in a hurry to gain the neutral and “O” zones cannot be at the expense of the defensive side of the game.

The Coyotes are capable of beating anyone in the Pacific Division if they play to their strengths and minimize their physical and mental mistakes. Let’s hope that tonight’s game results in enough positives to whet our appetites for more. Let’s go Coyotes!