It was a bit of an up and down week for the Phoenix Coyotes, although the general play for the team remained high. They went 2-1-1 for the week and now have an overall record of 13-7-6, good for 32 points and 2nd place in the Pacific Division, 4th place in the Western Conference. It's not a horrible place to be considering the slow start the team got off too. Also, to note, the Coyotes' AHL affiliate the San Antonio Rampage are tearing up the league with the best record at 18-6-1, mostly due to the tremendous depth that the Coyotes currently have.
Tuesday, November 30 @ Nashville, 3-0 Loss
This was definitely the worst Coyotes performance of the week and coming off of the blown lead against Anaheim at Jobing.com Arena last Saturday, the Coyotes were in danger of starting a rough stretch. The penalty kill couldn't get the job done against the Predators, allowing power play goals to Shea Weber and Cal O'Reilly before a Jordin Tootoo empty netter iced the game. The Coyotes controlled play through most of the game as evidenced by their significant shot advantage (33-23), but Pekka Rinne was a brick wall and stymied any chance the Coyotes mustered.
Wednesday, December 1 @ Minnesota, 4-2 Win
After a terrific November, the Coyotes got December started off on the right foot with a well-played bounce back game against the Wild. Two goals from Scottie Upshall paced the 'Yotes, who also got tallies from Ed Jovanovski late in the first on a redirect of an Adrian Aucoin blast and Lauri Korpikoski added an empty netter. Jason LaBarbera got the start in goal and was solid withstanding a late Minny push to hold on for his second straight victory.
Saturday, December 4 vs. Florida, 2-1 Loss (SO)
This was a very winnable game as the Coyotes clearly outplayed the Panthers throughout the contest. Scott Clemmensen was a rock in net making 40 saves including a number of shorthanded stops at the end of overtime. Why the Coyotes were shorthanded yet again in overtime is a mystery, but they actually ended up two men down for almost 30 seconds. Ilya Bryzgalov played huge in the OT, but couldn't recreate his shootout mastery of last season, as Stephen Weiss and Michael Frolik scored pretty goals to win the shootout. Offensively, Keith Yandle had a huge game jumping in the play and Martin Hanzal scored the lone goal on a redirection of a Ray Whitney shot on the power play. Too many missed opportunities surely left a bad taste in the team's mouth however.
Sunday, December 5 @ Anaheim, 3-0 Win
And they took it out on their next opponent, the Ducks. Coach Tippett got recent healthy scratches Paul Bissonnette and Sami Lepisto back in the lineup and it paid dividends as both contributed to the Coyotes first goal (BizNasty also got into a nice little scrap with Anaheim thug, and moustache afficionado George Parros). Shane Doan scored on the power play to make it 2-0 and Lee Stempniak added an empty-netter to ice the game late. It was a real chippy affair that saw Wojtek Wolski mixing it up with Paul Mara late in the game and a number of slightly dirty plays throughout the game both called and let go. Basically, what one comes to expect with Anaheim. This was the Coyotes first win in three tries against the Ducks and the teams will play three more times.
The Week Ahead
This week is a light one for the Desert Dogs as they get prepared for their six game Christmas road trip the following weeks. They are at home for two tilts, Thursday night against the Wild and Saturday night against the red hot and Pacific Division leading Stars. Both should be spirited affairs as the Coyotes look to stay near the top of the Western Conference standings. I promise we'll take a look at the Eastern Conference so far later in the week, especially with the 'Yotes headed out that way soon.