If there’s one thing the Phoenix Coyotes have struggled with this season, it’s consistency. Some nights find the team scoring four goals and knocking off the red-hot Anaheim Ducks, while other night see the Coyotes get shut out by those same Ducks or by the St. Louis Blues and a rookie goaltender. The next two weeks will find the Coyotes facing some of the hottest teams in the Western conference to finish out their March schedule, and if they hope to hold on to their current playoff spot, they will need to find a way to score consistently while getting solid efforts from goalie Mike Smith.
The Coyotes first face the Columbus Blue Jackets on Saturday, and will try to end the surprising Blue Jackets’ nine-game point streak. Back-to-back games against the defending Stanley Cup champion Los Angeles Kings are next, and the Coyotes will look to duplicate their early-season success against Jonathan Quick and the rest of the Kings. Phoenix also faces the Vancouver Canucks, Detroit Red Wings, Minnesota Wild, Nashville Predators and San Jose Sharks to finish out the month, and every single one of those teams is a potential playoff contender. Six of those eight games will come on the road, which could be more of a problem considering the Coyotes’ 3-6-2 away record.
The Coyotes without a doubt have the skills to make the playoffs. They have some great young players in Oliver Ekman-Larsson and Mikkel Boedker, one of the league’s best goaltenders in Smith and for the most part have avoided the injury problems that have plagued other teams. If they can figure out how to put everything together consistently, and take at least eight points from their games over the next two weeks, they should be in great shape heading into the final month of the season.