By starting the 2017/18 NHL campaign with a record of
0-10-1, the Arizona Coyotes made the league's record books for the worst start
ever to a season. If there was any good news related to their catastrophic run
it was the fact that the New York Rangers share the record for futility with
them. However, the Rangers' woes were suffered 74 years ago when the team
kicked off the 1943/44 season with 11 straight losses in an era that didn't
feature overtime and shootouts.
The Coyotes managed to snap their losing skid on October 30th
in dramatic fashion though with a 4-3 overtime win over the Flyers in
Philadelphia. The Coyotes came close to blowing it however as they allowed a
3-1 lead to slip away in the final minute of regulation time. Philadelphia
pulled their goaltender for an extra attacker and scored with 52.6 seconds to
go to make the score 3-2. The home team then tied the game with just 15 seconds
remaining on the clock to send it to overtime with goalie Brian Elliot back on
The nail-biting comeback was just the second time in Flyers'
history the club has scored twice in the final minute of a game to earn a
point. The first time they pulled off the feat was back in 1980. Defenceman
Alex Gologoski saved the Arizona franchise's embarrassment of possibly becoming
the first ever club to lose their first 12 games of the year by scoring the
winner with only 14.4 seconds to go in overtime. It was his first goal of the
year and couldn't have come at a better time. The victory means all 31 NHL
teams now have at least one win under their belt in the new season.
The Coyotes still have a long way to go though if they hope
to climb the standings and join the playoff race later this season. Their three
points leaves them in the basement of the Pacific Division with a record of
1-10-1. They've scored 30 goals and allowed a league-high 51 against. But on
the bright side, they're just four points behind the Edmonton Oilers in the
league standings and sit just five back of the Buffalo Sabres and New York
Rangers. But one of the reasons the Coyotes are off to such a brutal start has
been injuries to key players.
The most notable absence in the lineup has been veteran
goaltender Antti Raanta who has been out of action with a lower-body injury
since October 12th. Backup Louis Domingue has seen the majority of
the workload since then, but Arizona then made a deal with the New Jersey
Devils on October 28th for their former backup goalie Scott
Wedgewood. He became the sixth goalie on the team's roster so far this season
and earned the win over Philadelphia in his first start with the club.
The Coyotes definitely
needed some help between the pipes as Domingue lost all six games he played,
posted a save percentage of 85.8 and allowed 24 goals against on 169 shots.
Goaltending hasn't been the team's only problem though as the squad's shooting
percentage was just 7.4 in the first 11 games, which ranked 28th in
the league. However, there could be some light at the end of the tunnel now the
monkey's off their back and the goaltending situation has been shored up for
now. But don't expect the Coyotes to suddenly go on an extended winning streak,
at least not until Raanta returns to the lineup.
Labels: Ian Palmer