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Coyotes dive into December after a point-packed, productive November

Arizona sits at second place in the Pacific after a successful, challenging November

by Alex Kinkopf @AEKinkopf / Arizona Coyotes

The Coyotes did much more than survive a rather grueling November, a month that called for 16 games in 29 days, four back-to-back sets, extended road trips, and nine intra-division matchups.

You could argue they thrived, even if that's a bit melodramatic.

Arizona earned points in 11 of its 16 games played during the month, posting an 8-5-3 record. At the time the calendar turned to December, the Coyotes sat only one point out of first place in the Pacific Division. They head into December in second place.

"Consistency, body of work, we bounced back after some adversity," head coach Rick Tocchet said of the team's restless, yet, respectable month. "The plane rides, the trips, we played some heavy teams and came out of it with some points."

19 points, to be exact, which were the most earned during the month of November since the 1998-99 season, when that club totaled 20 (10-0-1). It is the third-highest point total in November in franchise history. The 1986-87 Winnipeg Jets earned 22 (11-4-0) in November of '86.

Amidst their victory-rich stretch, the Coyotes reached the 30-point mark in their 24th game of the year after their win over the Los Angeles Kings on November 23, which is tied for the fourth fewest games needed to reach that mark in franchise history.

The Coyotes became the first team in NHL history to defeat the previous two Stanley Cup championship teams on consecutive nights on the road, beating the Washington Capitals and St. Louis Blues on November 11 and 12.

"We had some good games, we played some good hockey, we got points maybe when we didn't play our best, and that's always good," Nick Schmaltz said. "We've got to keep going, it's a long season, it's a tight division and a lot of teams are playing well so it's going to be tough, we've got to stick with it and go game-by-game here."

Nine of the Coyotes' 16 games played came against Pacific Division opponents; they earned points in eight of them (5-1-3), and in the process, set the second-longest point streak in franchise history against division opponents, a run of nine games that began in October and ended with the team's loss to the San Jose Sharks on the final day of November.

"We got points against division opponents for eight or nine straight games, and that's tough to do," Tocchet added. "Guys were picking up for injured guys, the goaltending's been great, and everybody's been playing for each other."

Darcy Kuemper started seven of the 11 games in which the Coyotes earned a point, racking up a 5-3-2 record during the month with a .937 SV% - he enters December with a league-best .935 SV%.

Christian Dvorak led the team in scoring during the month with 11 points (4G, 7A), while Schmaltz registered nine (1G, 8A) and Conor Garland seven (4G, 3A).

Defenseman Alex Goligoski continues to pace Coyotes defensemen in the points department after recording eight more points (1G, 7A) during November, including a season-high three-assist performance against the Edmonton Oilers.

"We won some games, but the games don't stop," Goligoski said. "We've got a big road trip here, four in a row on the road. It's a tough league, every game's tough, but we're in a good spot and we've just got to keep moving forward."

The Coyotes are 8-3-3 on the road so far this season as they transition into the trip Goligoski speaks of, four games in six nights in four Midwest cities. They earned points in six of their seven away games during November (4-1-2).

"The players know, they hear me enough," Tocchet said. "If you think the month of November was hard, it's only going to get harder. We're in a position where we're the hunted now, we're the ones getting chased. So, it's a different feeling; now, how do we handle that?

"That's the thing, we can't let our foot off the gas pedal."

Lead Photo Credit: Terry Quinn - Getty Images // Body Photo #1 Credit: Keith Gillett - Getty Images // Body Photo #3, #4 Credit: Kevin Anggara - Arizona Coyotes

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