The Phoenix Coyotes are having a very up and down season. Just when things seem to be picking up, it all starts to go wrong again. This is especially the case at home where Phoenix have only managed a 10-10-5 record. With another 16 games to go at the Jobing.com Arena, the Coyotes have to turn home ice into an advantage if they want to reach the playoffs. After an awful December, Phoenix got themselves playing well again in January after finding that pack-mentality once more and picked up some much needed wins.
Unfortunately, towards end of the month, the roller coaster ride took another dip as Phoenix lost four games in a row at home, although they did end the month with a 5-2 win over the Avalanche before the All-Star Game. The weekend break gave the Coyotes a much needed five day rest after a gruelling schedule. However, if the Yotes fans thought that might help their team, they were wrong. Since their return from the break Phoenix have gone 0-2-0 with losses to San Jose and Vancouver. Both defeats were bitter pills to swallow as Phoenix blew a 3-0 lead against the Sharks to lose 5-3 and were shut-out against Vancouver, at home, as the Canucks stormed to a 6-0 victory.
Dave Tippett is of the belief that the Coyotes are just not skating hard enough.
"...We’ve got some things to sort out. You have to realize how hard it is to win; we don't have enough players playing hard enough to win."
Defensively the team looks very weak. Other than Keith Yandle, no defenseman can claim to have had a great year so far, which is not a good thing as the team enters the business end of the season. There is enough quality in the team and the coaching staff for the Coyotes to turn this slump around but they also need new faces in the franchise.
The Coyotes' next 2 games are at home and the first is against the Minnesota Wild, who are riding a wave of momentum at the moment. They then play the Colorado Avalanche before heading to Dallas for an important Pacific Division clash. Phoenix need to turn the Jobing.com Arena into a fortress and they need to do it in the next game against a team who have enjoyed scoring against the Coyotes this year. The Wild have won two of the three meetings against Phoenix this season so the Coyotes will be looking to even things up in their final game against each other. Puck drops at 6:00pm Saturday February 5th.
The race for the playoffs in the Western Conference is still agonisingly tight so the Coyotes need to start putting some daylight between themselves and the chasing pack.