The Coyotes have 31 games remaining on their 2019-20 NHL season schedule, and many of those games are against tough opponents.
The Arizona Coyotes finished their first-half schedule in an inconsistent fashion and will need to make some adjustments in their quest for a playoff spot.
Of the 31 games remaining for the Coyotes, 17 are at Gila River Arena and 14 are out of town.
Pacific Division games include 5 at home and 6 away, with visits from the Kings, Oilers, Canucks (2), and Golden Knights. Their 6 away tilts involve visits, in order, to Anaheim, Vancouver, Calgary, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, and San Jose.
Western Conference Central Division away games are against the Stars, Blues, Jets, and Avalanche. Home games against the Central’s teams are against the Blackhawks, Stars, Predators, and Jets.
Perhaps most challenging for the ‘Yotes are the Eastern Conference games against powerhouses like the Washington Capitals, Boston Bruins, Tampa Bay Lightning, and the New York Islanders.
Regardless of their opponent, the inconsistent play and puck management issues plaguing the Coyotes throughout the season need to be rectified. I’m not sure Coach Tocchet knows which version of his boys will assemble on the ice on any given day, or how much interest they’ll actually have or competitive spirit they’ll show.
It is evident that the Coyotes will need to adjust their approach to their remaining games by focusing on the talent and skill of Taylor Hall to produce more offense. What may have been an offense featuring Clayton Keller and Phil Kessel at the beginning of the season hasn’t worked.
Hall adds a new dimension and more potential to the Coyotes’ attack and should be the featured weapon. During his tenure with the Coyotes, he has shown more energy and has been more consistent than his fellow attackers. His competitive spirit is impressive and will hopefully be contagious, as there are too few Coyotes with fires in their bellies. It would be nice to see a Coyote get fired up and show some emotion on the ice once in a while rather than be pushed around by the other team’s warriors and “taking” it.
The Coyotes should be more consistent and somewhat stabilized by the ultimate return of goalkeeper Darcy Kuemper, but he can’t solve all the defensive issues by himself. With the occasional “swiss cheese” defense the ‘Yotes have recently played, it will take the entire “D” group to work together if they’re still dreaming about making the playoffs.
On paper, the Coyotes have a heck of a team. In reality, not so much lately. Results are what matters, and they have been lacking. Nightly post-game comments like “we have to do better” just don’t cut it. Never did. Let’s go Coyotes!