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Coyotes GM Chayka looking for consistency to make a playoff push

Philadelphia Flyers' Claude Giroux puts the puck in the net against the Arizona Coyotes goalie Darcy Kuemper (35) as teammate Alex Goligoski (33) looks on during the third period of an NHL hockey game Monday, Nov. 5, 2018, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Darryl Webb)

Sitting fifth in the Pacific Division, the Arizona Coyotes have finished at the bottom or second-to-last in the division over the last two seasons. Projecting them as a playoff team right now might seem like wishful thinking.

But considering that the Coyotes are only three points away from a guaranteed playoff spot as a top three team in the Pacific and have the least amount of games played, there is hope.

“We are 20 games in now. Usually you have a pretty good sample size of what your team is,” Coyotes GM John Chayka told 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station’s Doug & Wolf on Wednesday.

“I think right now we are a competitive playoff contender. As the season evolves and as teams start getting consistency in their own games, we have to get some consistency.”

What the team has been is banged up. Injuries to the defense and starting goalie Antti Raanta have contributed to the team’s .500 record and inability to win consecutive games since the start of November.

“If you would have told me after 20 games that we would miss Antti Raanta for a quarter of the season, Alex Goligoski, Christian Dvorak and we’re still .500, I would have probably told you I would take that,” Chayka said. “But having said that, we know we are going to have to up our game to take that next step and the next 20 (games) will be informative of where we are headed.”

The Coyotes wrap up a five-game homestand this week with three more games, including two matchups against division rivals, the Vegas Golden Knights and Calgary Flames.

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