They might not be playing the same hockey that got them to the Western Conference finals last season, but the Phoenix Coyotes are finding ways to gain points and remain in the tight race for a playoff spot.
At the halfway point of the season, the Coyotes currently sit in ninth place with 30 points. With only 48 games on the schedule, points are absolutely essential for teams to remain in the playoff picture. The top-eight seeded teams will move on to the playoffs.
Over the past three seasons, the Coyotes have relied heavily on defense to win games. Great goaltending, strong defensive play and a solid team effort stole many points for the Coyotes on their way to three consecutive playoff births.
The defense hasn’t been as consistent this season and goaltender Mike Smith has had a few rocky starts. Untimely injuries haven’t helped either, yet the Coyotes have managed to stay close in most games and have showed they can do more than just sit on a one or two goal lead.
The Coyotes are seventh in the Western Conference in goals, with 77. The fact the Coyotes have scored so many goals with injuries to top players like Radim Vrbata, Martin Hanzal and Matthew Lombardi is comforting.
If the Coyotes can become consistent on the back end, there is no reason they can’t have a run like last season.
“Maybe there is a little bit of a letdown on our part on what it takes, and yet we’re still finding ways to get points,” said Coyotes Captain Shane Doan to Arizona Sports 620's Doug and Wolf. “We know we got to get back to where we are capable of being if we want to be successful.”