ARIZONA COYOTES

The Arizona Coyotes’ possible path to the playoffs, explained

Apr 1, 2019, 8:02 PM | Updated: 8:46 pm
Arizona Coyotes head coach Rick Tocchet, center top, looks on in the second period of an NHL hockey...
Arizona Coyotes head coach Rick Tocchet, center top, looks on in the second period of an NHL hockey game against the Colorado Avalanche, Friday, March 29, 2019, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
(AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

The Arizona Coyotes lost what was billed as their most important game since 2012 on Friday night when they fell 3-2 in the shootout to the Colorado Avalanche.

A win in regulation for Arizona would’ve allowed the Coyotes to control their destiny for the rest of the season and determine on their own whether they make the playoffs for the first time since the 2011-12 season.

The good news: Arizona shut out the Wild on Sunday, and Colorado failed to earn two points in its next game, losing to the St. Louis Blues 3-2 in the shootout on Monday. Arizona now sits two points back of the Avalanche heading into Tuesday.

From here, the Coyotes and Avalanche will battle over their final three games apiece. Arizona owns the tiebreaker at the end of play on Monday, but Colorado could still eventually get it.

Here’s why: 

First tiebreaker — Games played: The first tiebreaker goes to whichever team has the fewer games played on the season (in other words, point percentage). But unless something crazy happens and one of these teams has a game canceled, the two teams will both finish with 82 games played on the season. Moving on.

Second tiebreaker — ROW: The next tiebreaker if two teams are tied in points in the standings is the two teams’ number of regulation and overtime wins, or ROW for short. This is the number of games a team won, excluding games won in the shootout. Arizona and Colorado are tied in ROW (34), thanks to the Avalanche’s loss in the shootout on Monday.

Third tiebreaker — Head-to-head points: If two teams are tied in points, games played and ROW, the playoff team shall be the one which earned more points in the standings in games between the two tied teams, EXCLUDING the first home game in the season series for the team that had more home games than the other.

Here are the games between Colorado and Arizona this season:

Nov. 23 vs. COL — 5-1 L (does not count; see above)
Dec. 22 vs. COL — 6-4 W
March 29 at COL — 3-2 SO

The Coyotes own this tiebreaker. They earned two points in December and one more on Friday (three total). The Avalanche got zero points against Arizona in December and two on Friday (two total).

Fourth tiebreaker — Goal differential: The Avalanche’s goal differential on the season is plus-12, while Arizona’s is minus-9. Colorado owns this tiebreaker.

This is all somewhat complicated, but things would be much simpler if the Coyotes just way out-perform the Avalanche for the rest of the season. It will be difficult and take some good luck, though. Here are the remaining schedules for the two teams:

Colorado’s three remaining games: vs. EDM, vs. WPG, at SJS

Arizona’s three remaining games: vs. LAK, at VGK, vs. WPG

The Coyotes also have Minnesota behind them in the standings by three points.

Minnesota’s three remaining games: vs. WPG, vs. BOS, at DAL

Arizona Coyotes

St. Louis Blues right wing Pavel Buchnevich (89) celebrates with center Brayden Schenn (10) and cen...
Associated Press

Blues’ Buchnevich suspended 2 games for headbutting Coyotes’ Crouse

St. Louis Blues winger Pavel Buchnevich has been suspended two games for headbutting Arizona Coyotes forward Lawson Crouse.
5 days ago
Arizona Coyotes defenseman Jakob Chychrun (6) and St. Louis Blues center Ryan O'Reilly battle for t...
Tom Kuebel

Coyotes drop home opener after 2nd-period barrage by the Blues

The Coyotes got out to a fast start in their home opener, but the Blues broke the game open in the second period to put it out of reach.
5 days ago
Arizona Coyotes goalie Karel Vejmelka (70) makes a save in traffic during the first period of an NH...
Associated Press

Coyotes get first point of the season in shootout loss to Sabres

Arizona Coyotes goalie Karel Vejmelka made 32 saves to help the team pick up a point against the Buffalo Sabres.
8 days ago
Conor Timmins #25 of the Arizona Coyotes controls the puck against Eric Robinson #50 of the Columbu...
Associated Press

Blue Jackets breeze past Coyotes in season opener

The Arizona Coyotes dropped the season opener and first game under coach Andre Tourigny 8-2 on the road against the Columbus Blue Jackets.
10 days ago
Andrew Ladd #16 of the Arizona Coyotes at a faceoff during a 4-1 win over the Los Angeles Kings in ...
Arizona Sports

Arizona Coyotes name alternate captains for season opener

The Arizona Coyotes have named their alternate captains for the season opener against the Columbus Blue Jackets.
10 days ago
FILE - In this July 1, 2021, file photo, Arizona Coyotes new head coach Andre Tourigny speaks durin...
Associated Press

Arizona Coyotes enter 2021-22 with overhauled roster

With a slew of new faces, the Arizona Coyotes are hoping to reshape a franchise that’s been to the playoffs just once in the past nine years.
10 days ago
The Arizona Coyotes’ possible path to the playoffs, explained