The Phoenix Coyotes headed into the 2013 season knowing they would need some scoring depth to stay competitive. The play of goaltender Mike Smith gives them a chance to win nearly every game, and scoring options beyond Shane Doan, Radim Vrbata and Mikkel Boedker are crucial to the team’s success. In the past five games, the Coyotes have gone 3-1-1 and have received an unexpected offensive contribution from fourth-line center Kyle Chipchura.
Chipchura has four goals in the past five games for the Coyotes, helping the team to wins over the Vancouver Canucks and Columbus Blue Jackets. He scored twice against the Canucks and is now only two goals away from matching his career high. After more than three years in the Montreal Canadiens organization, Chipchura was traded to the Anaheim Ducks during the 2009-10 season. He scored six goals for the Ducks that season, which remains his best output for a season. He joined the Coyotes last season and scored three goals while reaching 16 points. He typically does more for the team with his fists and hitting in an agitator role, so getting goals from him is a bonus for the Coyotes.
The current hot streak may not last long, but there’s no reason for Chipchura’s ice time not to increase while he’s playing this well. Raffi Torres, Nick Johnson and Steve Sullivan each have four goals as well, as the Coyotes continue to find ways to win games with a balanced offense. Martin Hanzal leads the team with seven goals, Antoine Vermette has five, and no one else has more than four. However, 10 players have at least four goals as this year’s team seems to be taking a share-the-wealth approach and it seems to be working well enough to get the Coyotes back to the playoffs.