Coyotes' Lawson Crouse: The Driving Force Behind Team's November Resurgence

Philadelphia Flyers v Arizona Coyotes
Philadelphia Flyers v Arizona Coyotes / Christian Petersen/GettyImages

Upon reflecting after the season ends, November may be identified as the turning point for this team. The year started streaky, with the Coyotes alternating wins and losses as often as they rotated their goaltenders. Then things came to a head between November 18th and the 22nd. Arizona lost three straight games, had an upcoming run against the last six Stanley Cup champions, and it seemed that the team could freefall. However, instead of folding the team rallied and ripped off five straight wins against former champions. Demonstrating consistency and confidence that had not been previously seen in this group has vaulted them into early playoff contention.

Through the ups and downs of November, the Coyotes were buoyed by the play and leadership of Lawson Crouse. The epitome of consistency and confidence for this team, he was easily their MVP in November. If he was not up against some truly outstanding and record-setting performances by Nikita Kucherov, Cale Makar, and Quinn Hughes, he arguably could have been one of the NHL’s three stars of the month.

His strong stat line (10-1-11, +3), does not tell the whole story. He anchored a unit that was the top line for the Coyotes, and their consistent pressure on both ends kept the team in games and was directly responsible for several wins. Crouse was a force offensively and defensively, standing out as the team’s top player. He played a key role in facilitating the offense, was a consistent and deadly shot-taker, and provided constant intense pressure on the forecheck. At some points, he was the entire offense. Defensively he epitomized hustle, blocking shots and applying defensive zone pressure, levying big hits without falling out of position, mixing it up with opponents, and defending his teammates when needed.

He embodied the vision of head coach André Tourigny, and his play and consistency were the catalyst for this team. Before the matchup with Vegas, the team as a whole regrouped and followed his lead. This resulted in the Coyotes finishing off the month as the hottest team in the NHL and led to a record-setting feat against the Capitals in the first week of December. If Crouse and the Coyotes keep up this level of performance, he will have an argument for a Hart Trophy nomination come the season’s end.