Arizona Coyotes Embarrassed 4 to 1 by Minnesota Wild in Game 2 of 3

Mandatory Credit: David Berding-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: David Berding-USA TODAY Sports /

The Arizona Coyotes once again fail to solve the riddle of the perplexing and talented Minnesota Wild, falling 4 to 1.

At the beginning of this abbreviated season, the Arizona Coyotes (12-12-4 28 pts) were supposed to battle the Minnesota Wild (18-8-1 35 pts) for the fourth and final playoff spot in the Honda West Division. It was a foregone conclusion that the Vegas Golden Knights, the Colorado Avalanche, and the St. Louis Blues would occupy the top three spots, and that the Yotes would be in the thick of things near the end.

Well, that hasn’t quite happened, but gosh, the Coyotes are right on the precipice of greatness. Can you feel it? Are you giddy with anticipation? The Desert Dogs have a half season left to show that they are indeed postseason worthy. How that will happen, or why there should be any faith that it WILL happen, is beyond any of us.

The Los Angeles Kings are currently in fifth place, not necessarily because they’ve earned it outright, but by virtue of the Coyotes’ inability to win. The Kings’ winning percentage is .513, while the Yotes is at .500. Win one, lose one, win one, lose one – and so it goes.

Today, thankfully, super-sniper Phil Kessel was able to guarantee that the Coyotes wouldn’t be shut out by scoring a goal in the first period. Sadly, that was it for the Yotes’ scoring.

In the second period, the Wild tied the score at 1 on a rebound shot by Victor Rask. So far, so good though – the Coyotes were still in the game. It was in the third period where the Coyotes fell apart (that may sound familiar to some) and the outcome was no longer in question.

It didn’t really matter who scored for the Wild at that point, although it was in fact Nick Bonino who scored on a breakaway, Kevin Fiala on a power play, and finally Joel Ericksson Ek being credited for an empty net goal when Conor Garland tripped him out of frustration.

So how should the Arizona Coyotes be judged at the halfway point of the season? What are their strong suits, if they have any? What are their weaknesses, and why are they mired in a mid-season slump with few positives going forward (or forwards being positive)? Would it be an understatement to say that the Coyotes many fans are bitterly disappointed?

At this juncture the Coyotes are clearly at a crossroads. With half a season ahead of them, the team has lost confidence, and several players are experiencing goal-scoring slumps simultaneously. Fact is, most of them don’t score many goals in the best of times.

It will be interesting to see how the team as a whole copes with their self-imposed situation. Will they continue to put forth the effort to try to win? Have some of the players already packed it in? If “what you see is what you get” is the mantra going forward, the second half of this campaign could be a disaster.

Coyotes fans are always hopeful, but not necessarily faithful, that their hockey heroes will be good enough to compete with the big boys and reach the playoffs season after season. It’s always nice to hope for success, but not without a good dose of reality to go with it.

This might be the perfect time for Coyotes management to provide its fans with some sort of positive, encouraging statement about where the team is headed, because the toilet is not an option, and the silence is deafening.