As an Arizona Coyotes fan, watching the Yotes’ Wednesday night game against the Minnesota Wild must have been agonizing. The Coyotes were aggressive and took the game to the visiting Wild for much of the contest yet, try as they did, they couldn’t solve their nemesis.
There are a lot of on-ice problems with the current iteration of the Arizona Coyotes, but their lack of any dependable, consistent goal scoring is at the top. Wednesday’s disappointing loss to the Minnesota Wild, the Yotes’ 7th out of 8 games against them this season, showed that team hustle and competitiveness for a full 60 minutes can keep a team within reach of a win, but that a single goal will almost never get you that victory against NHL teams.
The Coyotes were credited with 40 shots on goal on Wednesday night, which isn’t necessarily an impressive stat to read. If those shots were “on target,” that’s great. Instead, it makes fans wonder why the Yotes are so pathetic and inept when it comes to scoring, when as a group you took another 39 shots without lighting the lamp. This is a much too familiar scenario, of course, and makes devoted Coyotes fans anxious and wonder if the Yotes’ quest for the playoffs is just a foolish endeavor.
Is there any solace to be found or pressure that can be relieved by traveling to California to play the Los Angeles Kings and then the San Jose Sharks? Not if you can’t score goals. The Kings have scored at least two goals in their past 8 games and host the Coyotes on Saturday. The Sharks have scored at least 2 goals in their past six games and host the Desert Dogs early next week.
Not too long ago fans assumed that getting past the Wild, the Vegas Golden Knights, and the Avalanche on the Coyotes schedule would bring the team some light at the end of the tunnel. That light just might be that freight train the Yotes were trying desperately to avoid. At this juncture, why would anyone find any relief in playing the Kings or the Sharks just because they aren’t the top three teams in the Honda West Division?
All season long Coyotes fans have complained, and rightfully so, about the Yotes porous defense, coughing up pucks in their “D” zone, missed assignments, and the inability to clear the “D” zone. Many of those defensive mistakes can be covered up, but not rectified, by winning games, and winning games means outscoring the opposition. The Coyotes dismal offensive production doesn’t result in many games being won.
As the organization prepares for next season, then, fans are hoping that thought is given to addressing both the offensive and defensive sides of the roster. Things have to change for the better. The Coyotes will face the Wild, the Avalanche, and the Blues a lot as members of the Central Division next season. Add to that mix the BlackHawks, Stars, Predators, and Jets, and you can see the problem with maintaining the status quo.