The Arizona Coyotes remained relevant in the Western Conference playoff picture by defeating the Buffalo Sabres at GRA on Saturday night.
The Arizona Coyotes scored 5 unanswered goals after relinquishing two early game tallies and beat the Buffalo Sabres in impressive fashion on Saturday night.
The Arizona Coyotes’ victory at Gila River Arena disguised itself ever so cleverly and laid low by staking the visiting Sabres to a quick two-goal lead. Sabres’ Marcus Johansson and Jeff Skinner lit the lamp early in the first period, and it seemed like another “uh oh” tilt where the Coyotes would spend the remaining 50 minutes or so chasing the game.
But not so fast, ‘Yotes’ fans! The kachina-clad Desert Dogs awoke from their first-period recurring nightmare and Jordan Oesterle netted the first of five Coyotes’ goals on a nifty pass by Clayton Keller. The ‘Yotes ultimately got two from Keller, one from Phil Kessel after he cross-checked a defender out of his way, and then an open net goal by Captain OEL.
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As of this writing, the Calgary Flames completed a road trip in Sunrise, Florida on Sunday night by beating the Panthers 3 to 0. The Flames now have 75 points and have leapfrogged the Vancouver Canucks into the third playoff spot, as the Canucks (74 points) amazingly lost to the Columbus Blue Jackets, 5 to 3 after leading 3 to 1.
The Washington Capitals played and beat the Minnesota Wild (71 points) in Minnesota 4 to 3 in regular time.
The Coyotes (72 points) are currently in fourth place in the wild card race and next play on Wednesday evening in Vancouver. It’s the first of three critical games in Canada that include tilts against Calgary on Friday and Winnipeg on Monday. They then return to Gila River Arena to play the Canucks a final time on Thursday, March 12.
The Coyotes’ upcoming performances against their Canadian opponents will essentially make or break their playoff hopes. With 15 games remaining, the Coyotes can end the season with 102 total points if they win out, but realistically the team needs to win 11 or 12 of their final 15 games (94 or 96 points) to have any chance of qualifying for the postseason.
Nothing is easy at this time of year, and the Coyotes’ margin of error is razor-thin. It will take a Herculean effort by all to achieve their best, but the ‘Yotes are in an unenviable position where they have to rely on outside help to reach their goals. Let’s go Coyotes!