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Could the Coyotes capture the Pacific?

Mar 19, 2010, 2:00 PM EDT

coyotes.jpgOK, this is probably crazy … even for the wacky stuff I bring up every now and then. Still, I cannot help but ask: could the Phoenix Coyotes sneak up on the San Jose Sharks and steal the Pacific division?

First let’s look at the simplest (and most important) numbers: the standings. The Sharks have 96 points and 43 wins in 70 games with a 12-5-4 division record. The Coyotes have 93 points and 44 wins in 71 games with an 11-7-3 mark in the Pacific.

So it’s still a solid lead for San Jose, but it truly is shocking how close things have become. The teams are clearly going in different directions: the Sharks have lost four in a row and the Coyotes are on an amazing seven game winning streak. Obviously, if things keep going this way, Phoenix could very well find themselves on the top of the division against all odds.

How possible is it, really? Let me make a simple breakdown of each team’s remaining schedules. Naturally, the road ahead isn’t everything, but in a tough as nails Western Conference it could make the difference.

Schedule breakdown and final thoughts after the jump.

San Jose schedule breakdown

12 games left, 7 on the road. Their only back-to-back will be finished today against Calgary. They only have one game against Phoenix, at home. The Sharks do have an extra game this season. Not too many tough games – in my opinion – aside from two against Vancouver.

Phoenix schedule breakdown

11 games left, 7 on the road. Two back to backs (vs. Chi, @ Dal; @Van, @Cgy). Their game against San Jose is on the road. Their schedule is pretty tough down the stretch, with two games against Chicago, one against Vancouver, one against LA and one against Nashville.

Looking at each team’s situation, I think that the Sharks will maintain their shrinking lead on the Pacific division crown. Then again, the Coyotes have been overcoming the odds all season long, so why not keep going?

  1. Kent - Mar 19, 2010 at 3:03 PM

    Another issue with the Sharks is they’ve relied on the bounces to sustain their record this season. They actually aren’t all that good a possession team. PHX, surprisingly, are (!)

  2. hoggy - Mar 19, 2010 at 9:23 PM

    It is great to see the Phoenix Coyotes overcoming all the negative publicity that arrose going into this season. Being a native Phoenician and having played roller and ice hockey during my youth here in the desert, I can tell you that there are many hockey fans in this Valley of the Sun. Hockey is a great sport and Phoenix has always supported the Phoenix Roadrunners back in the 60’s through the 90’s. Now that more and more players have retired/or living here now, there is no denying that Hockey is Alive and Well in the Desert! Go Coyotes!!!!

  3. The Royal Half - Mar 20, 2010 at 11:46 AM

    It would figure that San Jose would slip down to 4th in the West, the Kings would finish at 5th and have to face the Sharks in the 1st round of the playoffs.
    Oh, what am I talking about… the Kings aren’t going to make the playoffs.

  4. wdokken - Mar 21, 2010 at 12:03 PM

    It doesn’t seem a “possibility”, but rather a probability. Coach Dave Tippett has brought a collection of players who missed the playoffs last year and firmly planted them as 4th seed pre-olympics. However, there was a 12 point gap between San Jose and Phoenix pre-trade deadline. Post trade deadline, it’s a new team and a 1 point difference. Tippett and the GM have made it very possible that Phoenix could be the #1 seed.

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