Where Do The Arizona Coyotes Stand After 30 Games?
The Arizona Coyotes have maintained a steady break even pace with their win-loss record so far in the 2015-16 season. How did they fare over the past ten games?
If you were to give a rating to the Arizona Coyotes play through the first twenty games and you used just one word, it probably would’ve been “ugly”. The last ten games? Let’s go with grisly.
The Coyotes were 4-5-1 in their last ten matchups.
With goal scoring coming in fits and starts, Mike Smith (and Anders Lindback) and their up and down games, and absences from key cogs like Shane Doan and Martin Hanzal, it’s honestly a wonder that this team has continued to plug along and win the amount of games they had.
14-14-2. That’s where the Arizona Coyotes sit after thirty games. It’s felt like 8-20-2 from my seat in Gila River Arena and the seat on my couch, but the Yotes are nothing if not miraculous.
While I have absolutely zero faith in their defense or their goaltending, I never find myself counting out that the team will score one or two goals late to get back into a game. They’ve been pretty punctual with it throughout the year. It’d be nice if they’d score first and maintain a lead a little more often, but it wouldn’t be this year’s brand of Coyotes hockey if they did so.
Right now, the low point of this season has to be the two losses to the Carolina Hurricanes. They are the difference between the Arizona Coyotes sitting solely in second place in the Pacific with thirty three points, or sitting as they are now tied for third with virtually everyone else in the division not named San Jose or Los Angeles.
The Coyotes continue to beat themselves. That’s the reality of the situation and the reality of the season.
The offense is anemic and has made it’s bacon on catch-up goals. The defense has been atrocious. That goes for Oliver Ekman-Larsson on most everyone else on down, and the goaltending has been so inconsistent that it’s much like a typical day parenting a three year old child. Some days he’s happy and then suddenly he’s not and the world is ending.
With Smith and Lindback in net, some games they are brick walls and other games the Yotes would be better off putting a few bricks in front of the goal-line in the blue paint and hoping for the best.
I digress, however. Let’s look at the stats for the last thirty games:
- Surprisingly, though the Coyotes goals per game (GF) has went down from 2.75 to 2.70, they still rank 11th in the league in goal scoring with this anemic offense. And when you score nearly three goals per game, you should be winning a good bit in a league that is nearly bed dry of that act. Not the Yotes, though, because…
- …Their goals allowed per game (GA) went from an already outrageous 2.95 to 3.15. The Arizona Coyotes are now the 2nd worst team in the league at preventing opposing goals.
- Mike Smith’s save percentage? .901. Anders Lindback’s save percentage? .900. Need I say more?
- Now Mike Smith is out for the next 8-10 weeks. Lindback doesn’t appear to be the answer. I don’t think Louis Domingue is either. Will the Coyotes trade for goaltending help?
- The team is up to seven shorthanded goals allowed this season. Two ahead of second place New Jersey and Colorado. Aiming for the record books, maybe?
- The Corsi for number (46.7%) continues to dwindle for the boys. They spend way too much time on the defensive, and they have a real issue with exiting the defensive zone and entering the offensive zone cleanly. There’s not much crisp tape to tape passing to be had.
- For this team there is Max Domi and then there is everyone else. Mikkel Boedker and Martin Hanzal are also important, but in separate categories. The kid has tied Marty Hanzal for the team lead in assists and still sits second in goalscoring despite managing only two goals in the last ten games. Without his production this season the Arizona Coyotes would be easily leading the Auston Matthews’ marathon.
- Mikkel Boedker leads the team in goal-scoring, but has done the majority of his in only three games. He had two hat tricks against Ottawa and two goals against the Minnesota Wild. Other than that? Three goals in the other twenty seven games he’s played. Like the rest of the team, Boeds has been the definition of inconsistent.
- Anthony Duclair is sitting pretty with 10 goals, but until the second game against Carolina he had been largely invisible for some time. His shooting percentage is still an astronomical 27.8% (it has actually went up nearly one percent since the last ten game checkup). The Duke is allergic to shooting the puck unless it’s a wide open opportunity to score. He reminds me of former Coyote Mike Ribeiro in that way. But with a shot like his, Dave Tippett needs to drill it into his head that he shouldn’t leave a game without 3-5 shots on net.
- Speaking of which, the Arizona Coyotes possess the second highest shooting percentage in the league during 5-on-5 play at 9.25%.
- Martin Hanzal only managed one assist in the past ten games. He has missed the last three games so that hurts, but prior to his absence he had been the MVP of the team through the first part of the season. The Arizona Coyotes need Hanzal on the ice and producing to stay anywhere near this playoff hunt. Without him they might as well go all-in on the draft.
- Oliver Ekman-Larsson went through a stretch in the Coyotes five game road trip where he was minus-12. He had multiple gaffes in that period, often the result of thoughtless passes in and around his own zone that resulted in immediate goals for the opposition. At times he looks like the Norris candidate he is sometimes described as. At others, OEL looks no better than an average defenseman who is offensively gifted and takes too many risks. He really needs to step it back up.
- The Coyotes are now 7-4-1 at home and 7-10-1 away this season. They lost every single road game they played in the past ten games. After twenty games they were 7-5-1 on the road.
The cracks are beginning to show in this Coyotes lineup and the team is beginning to take a steady descent into the bottom of the league. With the team struggling and Mike Smith out of the picture for a few months, the team could begin to fall out of the hunt rapidly if Lindback struggles.
14-14-2 after thirty games is, yet again, better than I would have expected going into this season. I’m not unhappy with the record, but the way the team has gotten there has certainly been a struggle. This next ten games will determine a lot for the Arizona Coyotes.
If they finally fall under par it’s time to start thinking about next season. If they pull through, things are about to get interesting.