Coyotes Fall Short of Magic Win No. 20 with 3-2 Red Wings Loss

Derek PivkoCorrespondent IDecember 15, 2009

GLENDALE, AZ - DECEMBER 12:  Goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov #30 of the Phoenix Coyotes makes a save on a shot from the San Jose Sharks during the NHL game at Jobing.com Arena on December 12, 2009 in Glendale, Arizona. The Coyotes defeated the Sharks 2-1.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

It took the Phoenix Coyotes 41 games last season before they earned their 20th victory on the season.  

This season it might take the Coyotes 34 games to earn their 20th victory of the season.

In the midst of a four-game road trip, the Coyotes have continued to fall on road trips—losing to Detroit 3-2, and going 1-6 in the last seven road games.

After the Red Wings started the game with a commanding 2-0 lead, Taylor Pyatt capitalized on an injured Jonathan Ericcson after Shane Doan delivered a heavy hit to him during the first period.

The Red Wings would get their retaliation by accident during the second period when the puck went into the Coyotes bench, striking the Coyotes captain in the jaw.

One Coyote that has had opponents' jaws drop this season is Ilya Bryzgalov. Heading into the game with Detroit, Bryzgalov has been taking care of business in net, appearing in a season-high 13 straight games. The Russian goaltender is in the running for the Vezina Trophy (awarded to the best goaltender).

If the Coyotes want to continue this Cinderella run this season they will have to learn how to win on the road.  Despite posting on the best home records in the league, the Coyotes have struggled to win anywhere else besides the Jobing Arena.  

One player whose clock is about to strike midnight is Peter Mueller.

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On Sunday, ESPN reported a story that I posted on Bleacher Report back on Nov. 9 that the struggling Mueller could be traded to a struggling New York Rangers.  ESPN states, “The Rangers wanted to send minor league defenseman Bobby Sanquinetti to the Coyotes, but Phoenix wanted either Brandon Dubinsky or Ryan Callahan—and GM Glen Sather stalled. It could still happen, but it doesn't appear Sather's going to give in.”

According to ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun, Mueller is not fitting-in well with the Coyotes' head coach Dave Tippett.  Perhaps this is why Mueller’s ice time has decreased, as well as his recent performance.

The sad saga of Mueller has been one of the top stories surrounding the Coyotes this season.

One story that has impacted the Coyotes this season has been the lack of scoring. Mueller was expected to be one of team leaders in scoring, however, Mueller has only registered for one goal.  This ranks him 445th in the league, not a statistic for someone who was supposed to be the face of the franchise.

Back in November, I discussed how trading Mueller to the Rangers for either Dubinsky or Callahan could serve as a nice scoring threat as Radim Vrbata, Scottie Upshall, and Shane Doan can’t do it all.

Mueller should be in this scoring threat discussion, but instead, the discussion involving Mueller is how quickly can his bags be packed?

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