Since February 9th, the Arizona Coyotes have only earned one victory, a 3-2 shootout decision over Vancouver on March 5. The Coyotes came close to stealing another game away from the Canucks, but in the end Vancouver earned a 3-1 victory.
Canucks goaltender Jacob Markstrom made his first start since his “nightmare” game against San Jose on March 3 and managed to turn aside 24 of 25 shots. The lone Arizona goal came from Oliver Ekman-Larsson, who now leads all defensemen with 20 markers.
That goal tied the game at 1-1 late in the first period and it remained an even contest until 16:47 of the third when Vancouver blueliner Alexander Edler collected the game-winner with 3:13 minutes remaining in regulation time.
Arizona was never great this season, but the Coyotes haven’t even won a game in anything other than a shootout since Feb. 3. They’ve also dropped eight straight contests, bringing them down to 21-44-8 this season.
That collapse has resulted in Arizona challenging Buffalo for last place in the NHL and the guarantee of getting one of Connor McDavid or Jack Eichel. The 29th spot is significantly less desirable because you only get a 13.5% chance of winning the first pick (presumably Connor McDavid) in the lottery and it becomes possible that you will end up moving down to the third slot, which would put McDavid and Eichel out of reach.
This win has given the Canucks a six-point lead over Los Angeles in the battle for a playoff spot. With just three weeks remaining in the regular season, that’s a very strong position for Vancouver to be in.