Oh no! The Phoenix Coyotes are entering the month of April riding their worst losing streak since the Olympic break, going 0-2-0 in the past week against the Vancouver Canucks and the Calgary Flames.
The first game of the week against the Canucks was a poor showing by team MVP Ilya Bryzgalov who allowed an Alex Burrows goal a mere 37 seconds into the game. But that wasn’t the worst of blunders for Bryz as he made the blooper reel by weakly throwing the puck behind the net where it was easily intercepted by Art Ross front-runner Henrik Sedin, who quickly wrapped it into the net.
Sedin wasn’t done there as he set up a beautiful behind the back pass to his brother Daniel who tipped it past Bryzgalov for the Henrik’s third point of the night.
Mayson Raymond also scored for the Canucks after his shot bounced of Matthew Lombardi and past Bryzgalov.
The Coyotes goal was a bit of a cheat play after Canucks goaltender Roberto Luongo lost his stick and Martin Hanzal, standing in front of the net, pushed Lou’s stick farther away from the goalie. Radim Vrbata skated across the slot and banked the puck in off the post.
Luongo was livid about the referee’s decision, but his temper tantrum did him no good and the goal stayed.
The night was clearly not the greatest outing by Coyotes goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov, but he has only had a couple of them all season, so with a playoff spot intact, the Coyotes can look at this flub game by Bryz as “getting it out of the way”.
The next night Phoenix traveled to the next province to play Calgary to a 2-1 loss where a goaltender’s battle determined the winner of this game.
Both Miikka Kiprusoff and Jason Labarbera made 29 saves.
Lee Stempniak continued to score at an amazing pace by getting the Coyotes only goal, giving him 13 since he he joined the team at the trade deadline and 27 on the season.
So now the team takes their two game losing streak, that was the back end of a 1-3-1 record in the past five games, into the Edmonton to take on the Oilers, who carry with them the worst record in the league.
The best case scenario that comes from this game would be a victory to help this team get back on track heading into the playoffs. A win will also put them one step closer to clinching that fourth spot in the West.
Right now the opponent the Coyotes would face if placed in fourth is to close to tell as Detroit, Nashville, and Los Angeles are all within a two-point margin of each other.
If Coyotes fans want to start cheering for a team to play against, right now it would be the Kings as they have hit a rough patch of games as of late, despite their recent 8-3 victory over Vancouver, and and are a team the Coyotes are very familiar with. Their goaltender Jonathan Quick has not been playing well lately either, so they may be the ideal choice to play right now.
A team the Yotes may want to steer clear of is Detroit and that is because they are a team just as hot as Phoenix as of late, they are just starting to get healthy again and mesh well together, and not to mention they have been to the Stanley Cup finals the past two years, winning it the first year.
The Red Wings are a very dangerous team who were plagued with injuries, but managed to stay within reach of the playoffs the whole season. Now that they are getting healthy, they are a team that not just the Coyotes should be a bit scared of, but the whole Western Conference should be keeping an eye on throughout the postseason.
Here’s to getting April started on the right foot. GO YOTES GO!!!
About the Author
Written by Matt Shott
22 year old hockey fan born and raised in Phoenix, AZ. Weird, huh? Entire family minus myself and my brother were born in Toronto, ON so thats how I became a fan of this great sport. I have worked at Ice rinks since I was 14 and spend all day reading hockey stories. I eat, sleep, coach, play, and basically LIVE hockey. I became a Red Wing fan thanks to EA Sports NHL '95 and haven't looked back since (Why would I?). Parents were Season Ticket holders for the Phoenix Coyotes since day 1 and when they moved to Portland 3 years ago, I picked up where they left off and have found a soft spot for them. I moved to Toronto in January '10 to attend Centennial College's Sports Journalism program, so I am becoming a Maple Leafs fan in the process. Its hard to do after 16 years of being a Red Wings fan. So to recap: Wings fan at heart, Leafs fan on the outside, and always carry a soft spot for the Coyotes.