It’s too early to know if the Coyotes squandering a 2-0 lead to lose to the Jets — in regulation — will count as a “defining” moment of Arizona’s crucial 2019-20 season. As of Monday, March 9, it certainly seems like a big game, though.
Nick Schmaltz scored both of the game’s opening goals late in the first period, sending the Coyotes into the intermission on a high note.
Nikolaj Ehlers served as the biggest catalyst in turning that game around from there. To start, he scored Winnipeg’s first goal, then assisted on the tying 2-2 tally late in the second.
Ehlers then supplied the primary assist for the game-winner, which was Cody Eakin’s first goal as a Jet. An empty-netter iced a significant 4-2 win for the Jets in front of an appreciative crowd in Winnipeg.
Standings impact of Jets beating Coyotes in regulation
With that result, the Jets soared to the West’s top wild-card spot, while the Coyotes allowed a vital opportunity to slip through their fingers/paws.
Take a look at the standings, including the Stars as the not-so-far removed third seed of the Central Division:
OK, it’s important to note that the Stars probably are pretty safe, considering games in hand. (Also, the Oilers are in action against the Golden Knights on Monday, so that portion of the standings will change.)
This remains an agonizing defeat for the Coyotes. They now trail the Jets by four points with both having 12 games left on their schedules, while the teams in front of Arizona hold a game or two in hand and have 2-3 more standings points.
Imagining what could have been if the Coyotes might have secured that lead — or at least salvaged a “charity point” — must be a bitter feeling for Arizona fans.
I’ll have something for y’all in the morning. Go have a drink. Go hug your kids or your dog. Keep repeating “namaste” (unless you live in Alabama).
The world didn’t end tonight, even if it feels like the Coyotes’ season did, for all intents and purposes.
— Craig Morgan (@CraigSMorgan) March 10, 2020
After improving to 25-16-4 on Jan. 7, the Coyotes have really slipped, going 8-13-4 since then.
With that in mind, if the Coyotes wonder about what could have been, they might need to throw the net open wider than merely dropping this regulation loss to the Jets.