Arizona Coyotes Lose First of 2-Game Set to Red Hot Avalanche

Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports /

Arizona Coyotes two-game set vs the Colorado Avalanche will serve as a very important assessment tool in planning for next season.

The Arizona Coyotes took the ice at Gila River Arena last night with plans to defeat the immensely-talented, red hot Colorado Avalanche at home. The Yotes are planning to do the same thing tonight in the second game of the set. Admirable as that may be, the chances of beating the Avalanche are not very good.

Colorado (20-8-2 42 pts) has won seven straight and is in second place in the Honda West Division, only 3 points behind the Vegas Golden Knights. The sixth place Coyotes (13-14-5 31 pts) managed to earn three of four points against the less-than-mighty Anaheim Ducks and hoped to carry that momentum through to the pair of games versus the burgundy and blue goliath from Denver. Well, that didn’t happen on Monday night, and unless the Coyotes can solve the Avalanche attack and its smothering defense, it most likely won’t happen tonight, either.

The reality is that the Arizona Coyotes are still fighting for relevance from the standpoint of making this year’s playoffs. Having played inconsistent hockey for most of the year, there’s no way to predict how things will end up. Can a team that hovers around a “.500” winning percentage for the majority of a season get to the promised land?

Only time will tell, but at this point the Coyotes are only 6 points behind the St. Louis Blues in the playoff chase. Those that believe that the Yotes are already “toast” may be right, but many of the best division teams that the Coyotes have played have yet to play the Blues. Thus, the results of those contests between the current top 4 (Vegas, Colorado, Minnesota, and St. Louis) may ultimately be the “great equalizer.”

Each remaining game for the Coyotes will serve as a measuring stick of sorts, and will potentially affect the Yotes’ plans for the future (next season and beyond) while simultaneously impacting their current quest for the playoffs. What better way to learn about the strengths and weaknesses of your team than to see what works and what doesn’t against quality teams, even if you’re humbled by better opponents?

All Coyotes fans want them to win now and reach the post season, but whether the Yotes win tonight or not, there are 23 games remaining. The Yotes faithful should find comfort in knowing that while this season moves along, GM Bill Armstrong is behind the scenes making his mark, placing his stamp, if you will, on “his” team, the Arizona Coyotes. It is encouraging to anticipate light at the end of the tunnel beyond May 2021.

Remember that the Desert Dogs will be competing within the NHL’s Central Division next season, which is a bit frightening yet exciting at the same time. It may take a while, but the Coyotes are headed in the right direction, at the right time, with Armstrong at the helm and Shane Doan on board. let’s go Coyotes!