The Runner Sports

Arizona Coyotes recent play improving

Winners of six of nine games of late, the Arizona Coyotes are finally starting to win some big games. Over those last nine contests, they have beaten the following teams: Tampa Bay Lightning, Florida Panthers, Vancouver Canucks, San Jose Sharks, Pittsburgh Penguins, and finally the Calgary Flames. In that last game against the Flames, the Coyotes’ offense clicked. They collected five goals, and goalie Mike Smith had his second shutout of the season in a lopsided 5-0 victory. He now has tied two past Coyotes’ net-minders Nikolai Khabibulin and Ilya Bryzgalov with his 21st career shutout, while wearing an Arizona Coyotes uniform.

Arizona Coyotes young prospects excelling

The key to the success lately for the Arizona Coyotes can be attributed to the improved play of rookies Brendan Perlini and Christian Dvorak. Dvorak registered his fifth goal in his last five games and threw in an assist to make it a three-point game against the Flames. Perlini assisted on Dvorak’s first goal, and the two youngsters are beginning to show some promise for the team.

The last win moved the team’s record to 19-28-7 for 45 points. They now only trail the 12th place Winnipeg Jets by nine points, with four games in hand. In an attempt to turnaround their season, it may be too late. They only have 28 games remaining and still are 15 points out of a playoff wildcard spot.

Still, they have put together a good streak of solid play. The defense has really stepped up, and the scoring has also increased.

Of course getting forward Max Domi back has helped tremendously, as the team’s record since his return is 3-2. The two losses were in close games against the Chicago Blackhawks and Montreal Canadiens, which was an overtime loss netting them a point.

The Arizona Coyotes’ rebuild is in full force, and it takes time for young players to develop. With Dvorak, it seemed like a light went off recently and his play just elevated to the next level.

Center ice position choices

The team is rich at center ice with Dvorak, Alexander Burmistrov, Martin Hanzal, Ryan White, Peter Holland, and Dylan Strome due to be back in the NHL next season from the OHL Erie Otters. So rich, in fact, that they are considering trading Hanzal, who will become a free agent at season’s end.

As many as ten teams have shown interest in the big center, with the Canadiens rumored to be talking to the Coyotes recently. The Yotes want big 6’6″, 231-pound, 21-year-old forward Michael McCarron. They also want the Canadiens to give up a couple of draft picks, but Montreal rejected that idea.

As the season winds down, the Coyotes can only continue to develop their young players, and hope that next season they can elevate their play enough to qualify for the playoffs.

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