Everyone assumed that the Coyotes this season would be chasing the Auston Matthews sweepstakes. Surprisingly, they have not been in the bottom of the league and have been in the upper levels of the (albeit terrible) Pacific Division. Recently, the numbers have started to catch up with the Coyotes and they are slowly falling back down to earth.
The ‘lost starting goalie’ slide is hitting a month and a half after the team lost Mike Smith.
Louis Domingue is a young goalie to be placed into a starter’s position. Through the first seven games he started, he was undefeated in regulation. He is a solid, positional goalie who has a calm demeanor. It seemed he wasn’t easily rattled, until the game right before and right after the All-Star break.
Since the Winnipeg Jets game on January 26, he has allowed 15 goals. That includes two goals from the blue line and two short-handed goals.
Anders Lindback hasn’t fared well either. During his latest outing, he allowed five goals to the Anaheim Ducks, one of which was just a massive misplay of the puck behind the net.
But it can’t all lie on the back of the goaltenders.
How About The Coyotes’ Defense?
The Coyotes have a very young defensive core, with six of their eight defensemen under the age of 25. Five of the eight have played more than 150 games in the NHL. Having such a young defensive core is a problem a lot of teams face while rebuilding.
The acquisitions of Jarred Tinordi and Kevin Connauton they have started to shore up some defensive issues. Connauton is a good bottom pair defenseman and Tinordi is starting to show what the Montreal Canadiens saw when they drafted him in the first round.
The team’s penalty kill has been the downfall. Tired killers, bad screens and lucky bounces will doom even the best penalty killers. The Arizona Coyotes have allowed a league-leading 10 short-handed goals against. The Coyotes have been using a forward on the point, which has made the power play successful, but when something goes wrong, the forward cannot get back defensively.
The Coyotes could be looking to add veteran presence on the blue line at the upcoming trade deadline, if they can crawl back into a playoff spot. Until then, they will use what they have, and hope that its enough to limp into third in the Pacific. If not, the next 30 games could be painful.