Tomorrow the Coyotes play their first game in March, an extremely tough month for the Desert Dogs.
February was an interesting month for the Arizona Coyotes.
Multiple games had to be rescheduled due to COVID protocol, and the Coyotes found themselves playing in a seven-game series against the St. Louis Blues.
Unfortunately for the Coyotes, things aren’t going to be getting any easier from there. March may be the toughest month of the season for the Coyotes.
A condensed season is always going to lead to difficulties. You have to play a lot of games in a short amount of time, and often those games are back-to-back.
Arizona is currently scheduled for 15 games in March, nine of them on the road and six at home. All of the games at home are back-to-backs, with the Coyotes playing the Minnesota Wild, Colorado Avalanche, and San Jose Sharks.
The Coyotes will be playing five games against the Wild, five games against the Avalanche, two games against the Sharks, two games against the Ducks, and a single game against the Los Angeles Kings.
After two losses, the Coyotes can not be looking forward to the five games against the Avalanche. The Avalanche handily beat the Coyotes in the playoffs last season, and even though it was a closer matchup when they faced each other last week, the Avalanche still won both games.
Minnesota will also be a tough matchup for the Coyotes. Arizona did not stack up well against the Wild last season, losing all three of the games played in regulation. After missing time due to COVID, the Wild have been great, and despite playing in two fewer games they have four more points than the Coyotes.
The Coyotes only saving grace may be the five games against the California teams, although that is far from a guarantee.
The Coyotes had to fight their way back against the Ducks, which is not a recipe for long-term success. Arizona lost both of their games against the Kings and split their first two games with the Sharks, and the first game against the Sharks also required a last-minute goal.
But, despite being a tough month, this may be the best thing for the Coyotes.
Before the season started, most people expected that the Coyotes and the Wild would be competing for the final spot in the division. The Coyotes will have a chance to leapfrog the Wild.
And while losing to the Kings may sting, the Coyotes also have a chance at revenge tomorrow. They also have a shot at beating a team that has surpassed them in the rankings. A win would be the perfect time to reignite the Coyotes/Kings rivalry, just in time for the Coyotes to change divisions next season.
And if nothing else, at least the three back-to-backs are all at home rather than on the road.
Nobody is sure how the 2020-21 season is going to end. But by the end of the month, the Coyotes should have played 36 of their 56 games this season. We should have a good idea if the Coyotes can make the playoffs this season midway through the season, barring unexpected collapses.
If Arizona can find ways to beat the Avalanche and Wild and win the games against the California teams, they will be in an ideal position. On the other hand, they will probably find the hole too big to dig themselves out of if they drop their games against the Wild or the California teams. But we should know more soon enough.