If you observe the record of the 2018/19 Arizona Coyotes (17-20-2) you will notice some issues which would worry any loyal fan who wants their team to be in the playoffs... for the first time since the 2011/12 season.
Streaks are good... or bad
Looking at the team's winning and losing streaks this season it is apparent that there are more losing streaks than winning streaks... never a good thing.
The Coyotes had a stretch where they lost four straight, won four straight and then lost four straight again.
Sorta like the old theory of taking five steps forward, and seven steps backward... your progress never mounts any achievable momentum.
Any team wishing to be playing in the playoffs finds a way to be consistent.
Take the Pacific Division-leading Calgary Flames for example.
They have two three-game winning streaks, one five-game winning streak, and a four-game winning streak.
They have managed to only have two three-game losing streaks, and that is why they are leading the division with a 23-12-4 record for 50 points so far this season.
Good teams turn around a losing streak, or even a bad game to turn things around and win important games which determine their fate at the end of the season.
Two different games in contrast
Take for instance the game last night against the Anaheim Ducks. There were a couple of bad calls, but the Coyotes managed to overcome things they couldn't control and come back to gain an overtime victory.
They also overcame diversity by going down 3-1 and cutting the lead to 3-2, only to allow the Ducks some swimming room by giving them another two-goal lead.
Now, good teams bounce back from two different two-goal deficits and that was exactly what the Coyotes did in this game.
Then, take in contrast what happened to the Desert Dogs against the Vegas Golden Knights tonight. They thought they had tied the game 1-1 on a beautiful wrist shot tally by the hot Nick Schmaltz only to have the play challenged successfully as an offside negating the goal.
Then, the wheels fell off the Coyotes' play on their home ice as they allowed three unanswered goals to completely destroy any hope of pulling out another miracle comeback as they did in Anaheim.
Losing 5-1 to a very hot Vegas team just accentuated the point of their inconsistency.
How can you come back last night and steal a game from the Ducks and then not show up tonight? Doesn't that adrenaline carry over from game to game?
With the Coyotes' inconsistency showing its ugly head again, the grand question becomes will it destroy any playoff hopes this team may possess?
The team has just two more games until they reach the halfway point of the season.
They did get one injured player back in Vinnie Hinostroza. After missing nine games due to injury, he was a welcome addition to the offense.
Yet, it takes more than getting some injured players back into the lineup. They lack that 'killer' instinct to maintain a lead when they get one and finish off an opponent once and for all.
They have come back on a few occasions which is encouraging, but their overall play needs to be stepped up a few notches if they don't want to be watching the playoffs instead of participating in them.
At their current pace, they will finish with 84 points and in 12th place in the Western Conference. Yet, that would only place them five points out of a playoff spot.
So, their goal must be to try and be more consistent, as repeated again by head coach Rick Tocchet.
Easy for me to say, sitting here typing at a computer and not getting hit into the boards, slashed or high sticked.
Of course, I'm not getting millions of dollars either...
Do the Arizona Coyotes have a shot at the playoffs? Or is their inconsistent play going to prevent them from their goal? Let us know in the comments section below.