With rumors swirling around that the Arizona Coyotes maybe moving to Houston, Texas in the next few years, the team has been pushing even harder as of late to clinch a playoff spot for the first time since the their Western Conference finals appearance in 2012. Despite key players such as forwards Derek Stepan, Nick Schmaltz, Michael Grabner and defenseman Jason Demers along with starting goaltender Antti Raanta all currently injured according to NHL Discussion. The Coyotes have continued to collect points and close in on a wild card spot.
In the Coyotes’ most recent game, they managed to fend off the Detroit Red Wings on Saturday night and earn a 3-1 win. The Coyotes have now won an impressive six straight contests and have registered victories in eight of their last 10 games.
The scoring began with the Coyotes getting on the scoreboard first. Right-winger Josh Archibald unloaded a blistering slap shot high blocker side on Red Wings goaltender Jimmy Howard from inside the right faceoff circle to put his team up 1-0. The goal came just under six minutes into the first period.
The Coyotes would add-on another goal before the opening frame came to a close. Forward Vinnie Hinostroza dished a beautiful cross-ice pass to defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson who hammer a one-timer past Howard from inside the left faceoff circle to give his team a 2-0 lead. The tally came with just over four minutes left in the first.
However, the Red Wings would respond with the sole goal of the second stanza. While on a power play, scoring leader for the Red Wings Dylan Larkin tipped home a shot from the point by defenseman Niklas Kronwall to cut the Coyotes’ lead in half. The tally gave the former 2014 first-round pick his twenty-seventh goal of the season and sixty-second point in just 64 games. The goal came just over seven and a half minutes into the frame.
The lone tally in the third and final period was enough to seal the deal for the Coyotes. After an all out scramble for the puck in the Red Wings’ goal crease, Hinostroza was able to gain possession of the loose biscuit and flipped a backhand shot top shelf past Howard who was down and out. The tally came just over four minutes into the third.
With the victory over the Red Wings, the Coyotes now have 69 points and a 32-28-5 record. After the win, the Coyotes were able to take control of the final wild card spot for a few hours. However, the Minnesota Wild would retake possession of it after defeating the Calgary Flames 4-2 and improving to 70 points. So at the moment, the Coyotes are sitting at ninth place in the Western Conference.
The Coyotes will play their next game at home against the Anaheim Ducks on Tuesday evening. A seventh straight victory could be enough to propel the Coyotes back into the playoff spot.