There’s struggling, and then there’s struggling.
In the case of tonight’s game between Phoenix and Toronto, the italics version applies to the Maple Leafs, who’ve managed just three regulation wins in their last 21 games.
However, with a 4-6-2 record in their last 12 games and two straight regulation losses, the non-italics version certainly applies to the Coyotes, whose struggles have taken them out of the playoff picture in the Western Conference.
“We made mistakes, took some bad penalties,” Mike Ribeiro said after the Coyotes dropped a 3-1 decision Tuesday in Montreal.
Phoenix has also had trouble converting on its once-potent power play, going just 2-for-19 in its last six games.
“Special units are part of the game, and if you can’t get them to click, oftentimes you’ll lose the game,” said Ribeiro.
The Coyotes do have a good opportunity to regain some momentum prior to the holiday break. Though all three of their games are on the road, their opponents — Toronto, Ottawa, and Buffalo — are hardly the cream of the NHL’s crop.
This hasn’t been the best night for St. Louis sports fans.
Obviously, the MLB’s Cardinals getting bounced from the playoffs is a bigger deal, but the Blues face bad news, too.
While they’re currently leading the Calgary Flames by a score of 4-3, they’ll need to hang on without Kevin Shattenkirk, whose night is over thanks to a lower-body injury.
There’s no word yet on how severe the issue might be.
Naturally, the Blues must hope that it’s minor, as Shattenkirk is one of the NHL’s truly underrated assets on the blueline.
Stephanie (@MyRegularFace) tracked down a moment when the injury may have happened:
It’s not all rosy for the Flames, either, as Lance Bouma suffered an injury as well.
In some ways, it really felt like their first-round series.
For all the talent on both ends of the rink with the Detroit Red Wings and Tampa Bay Lightning, each squad can really smother opponents defensively when things go that way.
Through two periods, the two teams were very quiet. Things really picked up when Justin Abdelkader unleashed a big hit, a moment that injected enough life into the proceedings for the Red Wings to eventually build a 3-1 win.
Maybe they’re slipping under the radar a bit compared to previous iterations of the team, but it’s interesting that the Red Wings are now undefeated in three games.
They’ve been impressive at times, too, outscoring opponents by a combined score of 11-4.
Call it a refreshing time after Mike Babcock or merely carryover from a subtly solid run last season, but either way, the Red Wings may just be able to keep up their end of a brewing rivalry.