The Jekyll and Hyde performance continues for Arizona this season. Having gone on multiple winning streaks while also enduring several losing streaks, the Coyotes finished out December on a tear going 6-1. Similarly to the end of last month when they went on a historic winning streak to finish out November and begin December, fans' optimism can be high but also should be highly guarded.
In a perfect example of Groundhog Day, the Arizona Coyotes dropped four of their first six games to begin the new year. At times they looked completely overmatched and as if the wheels had fallen off. But then, they turned right back around and beat the top-seeded Boston Bruins in a 4-3 OT thriller. Follow that up with a 6-2 loss at home to Calgary and then a 6-0 drubbing of the Minnesota Wild to open up the current road trip. An emotionally draining cycle of wash, rinse, repeat.
The highs have certainly been high, the most recent being Nick Bjugstad's hat trick in a dominant display against his hometown team Minnesota. But boy have the lows been deflatingly low, with three separate losing streaks of three or more games this season. At the peaks, this team looks capable of beating anyone in the NHL and a legitimate playoff threat. During the valleys, they look lost and are frequently dominated by their opponents.
Yet, this season is already a resounding success. This team was written off to start the year, and projected to be one of the worst teams in the Central if not the entire NHL. Instead, they reach the halfway mark as one of the biggest surprises of the year and in the thick of the wildcard hunt. Inconsistency, no matter how maddening it may be, is often a characteristic of a young and inexperienced team which is exactly what the Arizona Coyotes are. But there is an opportunity present in the second half to continue their growth and make a push for the playoffs. At only three points out of the wildcard, there's plenty of exciting hockey ahead in the desert this season.