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The Coyotes have to stay out of the penalty box to give the defense and goalie Mike Smith a chance.
The 2012 Phoenix Coyotes were a keen example of what discipline can do for a hockey team.
They finished 26th in the league in penalty minutes against and did not force themselves into situations that could lead to disaster. If you can limit shorthanded situations, your defense and goaltending will be more effective. The stats will reflect better and your team can benefit from more time at even strength or with a man advantage.
One example of the team's recent lack of discipline came against Chicago in a testosterone-filled rematch of last season's playoff series in which Coyotes winger Raffi Torres hospitalized the Blackhawks Marian Hossa with a vicious and illegal hit.
In Torres' first game back against the Blackhawks, it turned into a undisciplined penalty fest that put the team in multiple shorthanded situations that allowed Chicago to run away with a 4-0 first-period lead and a 6-2 victory.
The Coyotes are ranked 15th so far this season in penalty minutes against, and this elevation in rank is not a good sign. The hope will have to be that the Coyotes shake off their early-season rust, resume playing Dave Tippett-style hockey and regain the discipline that led to their success last season.