The Coyotes must have found something in the Arizona water as they have scored six goals in two consecutive home games en route to back-to-back victories to keep their playoff hopes alive.
The Arizona Coyotes began the week with an outside chance of landing a playoff spot. Trailing both wild card teams by 6 points and an upcoming schedule of the top teams in the NHL, with 9 of their 11 opponents currently holding playoff spots, it was almost time to pack up the bags and get ready for the offseason.
But… The Coyotes have begun their slew of tough games with back-to-back home victories against the Canadiens, who sit outside the 8th spot in the Eastern Conference, and the Dallas Stars, who are currently second in the Western Conference with 80 points.
The floodgates have opened at Gila River Arena with consecutive six goal games for the Coyotes as well. The two victories have pulled the Coyotes to within four points of the two wild card teams, Nashville and Colorado, and the Coyotes have a game in hand against the Predators and three games in hand compared to the Avalanche.
Against the Canadiens, six different Coyotes scored goals, while 13 of the 18 skaters recorded points. Against the Stars, five different Coyotes scored, as Max Domi netted two shots, and 11 skaters recorded points. Having points spread across all four lines is a huge accomplishment for the Coyotes as it essentially shows that the team has depth. This depth will be huge if the Coyotes are to make a push for the playoffs.
The NHL trade deadline falls on February 29 this season, so the next week of action could essentially dictate what Coyotes general manager Don Maloney does with his roster.
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The Coyotes wrap up their home stand on Saturday night against the St. Louis Blues, but then head out on the road for a five-game road trip, that concludes on February 29, against the Washington Capitals, Tampa Bay Lightning, Florida Panthers, Philadelphia Flyers, and Pittsburgh Penguins. The Flyers are the lone team in that stretch that currently sit outside of the playoff picture.
The next six games will decide the fate of the Coyotes for the rest of the season. If they manage to nab eight or more points out of this stretch, it will definitely put the Coyotes on the road to the playoffs. But, it is also possible that the Coyotes could walk away from this stretch with four or less points, which would all but put a dagger in the Coyotes playoff hopes.
Either way, the Coyotes have surprised the majority of the NHL this season as most people wrote them off as a top-5 draft pick for next year before the season started, but here we are in late-February with the Coyotes still having a chance at the playoffs.