Add the Phoenix Coyotes to what seems like a bursting list of Western Conference teams who are on a roll.
The Yotes’ stretched their winning streak to five games on Tuesday by slipping past the Vancouver Canucks 3-2 via a shootout. It’s the third time in a row Phoenix won thanks to its recent prowess in the skills competition.
The Coyotes certainly aren’t alone in being on a roll. The Anaheim Ducks sit atop the standings despite a grueling road trip, having won their last two. The Colorado Avalanche have won six in a row. Even the defeated Canucks were playing well recently, as they rolled up a four-game winning streak before losing two of their last three.
The one bit of bad news is that the Coyotes saw Derek Morris leave the game and not return with a lower-body injury, Fox Sports Arizona’s Craig Morgan reports. The Coyotes have been generating plenty of offense from the blueline, so that’s a cause of at least minor concern.
Apparently Blue Jackets management is a little shaken by the second 0-3-0 start in franchise history, however.
Columbus GM Jarmo Kekalainen shared his shock and dismay with the Columbus Post-Dispatch on Tuesday.
“I’m surprised how, in just five days, we’ve gone from a very confident group to something that’s the opposite of that,” Kekalainen told The Dispatch on Tuesday. “Our confidence, our game … it’s off the rails right now.
Maybe losing to the Buffalo Sabres stings a little bit extra?
Kekalainen said “there’s no excuse for how we played in Buffalo,” pointing out that every team in the NHL is a “good team.”
Indeed, just about every squad boasts some dangerous weapons if they catch an opponent sleeping.
The Post-Dispatch goes deeper on Columbus’ recent history of stumbling out of the gate, but consider the foreboding stretch coming up.
Next four games: Three out of four at home Eight games following that: Seven out of eight on the road.
As you can see, winter is coming for Columbus, so they best get things together. All things considered, this is the right time for a wake-up call.
For bonus chuckles, here’s a photo of Kekalainen on a railing.
He entered the building considerably later than usual, but his presence at least opened the door for the possibility of No. 8 suiting up against the San Jose Sharks.
Instead, the Capitals will face the hot-starting Sharks without Ovechkin (personal reasons) and Nicklas Backstrom (injury).
That’s a tall order, yet it’s also an opportunity for Barry Trotz to prove his system is a difference-maker … and that the Capitals have the young players to take up the mantle when the big stars are out
This is how Washington’s forward lines may look tonight:
With Ovechkin out, Caps lines look like this: