Off the Ice: Coyotes situation quickly becoming do-or-die

Jan 22, 2012, 5:06 AM | Updated: 5:20 am

It’s not supposed to happen this early.

The Phoenix Coyotes are currently 12th in the Western Conference — a mere two points out of a playoff spot — and they can’t win a game to save their lives.

After a monstrous offensive effort on Martin Luther King Day, the Coyotes looked to have things turned around, but apparently that’s not the case. The Coyotes are currently on a three-game skid, with losses to Anaheim, Detroit and now Tampa Bay.

With just one game remaining going in to the All-Star break — still no mention of Radim Vrbata getting in –, the Coyotes need to get going on the right foot now, not the last day in January when the season resumes.

Coyotes captain Shane Doan said his team was focused on winning the Detroit and Tampa Bay games, but didn’t get the result and the Coyotes are now worse-off.

“It’s huge, I mean these two games were so big for us and it makes this next one even bigger, so, we have to find ways to get points in every game we play in and that’s, this next one coming up is going to be a big one and we got to find ways to get some momentum going,” he said.

While two points may not seem to be a dire, must-win situation, it is constantly a battle to climb the Western Conference standings. There is only one true “whipping boy” this season — the Columbus Blue Jackets — and the Coyotes managed a loss to them earlier this month. Also worth noting is that the competition on this side of the Mississippi is getting tougher, as teams are making more desperate moves to compete in an increasingly more strenuous conference. Nothing is a given, and in a conference where five teams are within two points of each other and only one gets the eighth seed in the playoffs, the luxury of losses needs to become a thing of the past.

The Coyotes also have an uphill battle on their bench, with D-man Derek Morris being listed as day-to-day with a lower body injury and Adrian Aucoin still working to get fully fit after a few injuries this year, including taking a puck just over his right eye.

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Off the Ice: Coyotes situation quickly becoming do-or-die