About the only positive things the Arizona Coyotes can probably say, at least from a big picture standpoint, is that they’re better off losing now.
Otherwise, Monday was a pretty brutal night for the Coyotes. They didn’t just lose the game to the Colorado Avalanche; Oliver Ekman-Larsson also suffered an upper-body injury and didn’t return.
The Avs, on the other hand, kept themselves in the thick of the race for the West’s final wild card spot with this 3-1 victory.
Technically, the Minnesota Wild hold that last wild card spot because they have a game in hand. Still, the Avalanche hold certain tiebreaker advantages if the Wild end their next game where both teams are right now: tied at 72 points.
Beyond that performance, it was a combination of quality finishing and good luck for Colorado, as seen on this goal when a would-be penalty against the Avalanche ended up instead being a goal in their favor:
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Andrei Vasilevskiy played a brilliant game in keeping the Lightning competitive even though the Flyers amassed a lopsided shot advantage. Ultimately, the Flyers overwhelmed Tampa Bay, stopping the Lightning’s franchise-best nine-game winning streak by a score of 4-2.
#tblightning franchise record nine game winning streak over after 4-2 loss to #Flyers. Got outshot 40-18. Vasilevskiy was brilliant
Patrick Roy might put the onus on Semyon Varlamov, but ultimately, these are the types of nights in which playoff-caliber teams need someone to step up.
Both the Colorado Avalanche and Arizona Coyotes are currently on the outside of the West playoff picture, but Colorado has a decent shot at fighting its way back into the mix. Beating Arizona is tougher than its record may indicate, however.
Beyond the postseason implications, these teams were trade partners, so it should be interesting to see how Alex Tanguay and Mikkel Boedker fare against their former teams.
You can watch the game on NBCSN and stream it via the link below.