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The Desert Dog Blog: Keep an Eye on These Numbers

Wednesday, 02.01.2012 / 7:02 PM / The Desert Dog Blog - by Dave Vest
By Dave Vest
GLENDALE – The Coyotes don’t play again until Saturday night at home against San Jose so I figured today would be a good day for a fresh blog.

Knowing how readers love blogs with lists and/or numbers in them, I submit the following list of seemingly random numbers - with explanations as to why they are significant:

Photo by Getty Images.
95 – I think the Coyotes will need to earn around 95 points to earn a third straight trip to the Stanley Cup Playoffs. They have 52 points now with 62 more up for grabs over the last 31 games. Thus, to reach 95 they will have to start winning games in bunches, not just one every other game or so. There is little room for error but it can be done.

4 – The number of games the Coyotes have left vs. the Calgary Flames. Can you believe these teams have yet to square off in the 2011-12 season with only 31 games left on their schedules? What’s even more intriguing is that the Coyotes and Flames are tied with 52 points apiece after 51 games. Those four head-to-head matches will be extremely important for both teams as they try to climb into the playoff hunt.

11 – Defenseman Derek Morris has played 989 NHL games. I’m no math wiz, but I’m pretty sure that means he needs to play just 11 more to reach 1,000 for his career.

Yandle
224 – This number is the number of games defenseman Keith Yandle has played in a row. That's right, the last time the Coyotes played a game without Yandle on the ice was March 22, 2009 at Anaheim. To put this feat in proper perspective consider this: Only three players on the team’s current roster – Shane Doan, Martin Hanzal and Mikkel Boedker – were with the team when it last played a game without Yandle in the lineup.

31 Winger Ray Whitney needs 31 more points to reach 1,000 for his NHL career. That means Whitney will have to average a point per game over the rest of the season. It's do-able, for sure.

1 The number of dollars each beer, soda and/or hot dog will cost fans at Saturday’s home game vs. San Jose. In other words, it’s another Arizona Lottery Buck Bash.

OK, now for some quick news:

Photo by Norm Hall
• The Coyotes practiced on Wednesday for more than an hour – lots of compete drills and lots of skating. Afterward, I asked Head Coach Dave Tippett to outline his strategy for practice over this three-day break from games.

His answer: “Hard, harder and hardest.”

Click here to listen to all of Tippett's remarks after practice on Wednesday.

• The Coyotes lost center Cal O’Reilly on Wednesday when the Pittsburgh Penguins claimed him off re-entry waivers. O’Reilly notched two goals and three assists for the Coyotes after coming to Phoenix in a trade with Nashville on Oct. 28.

• Coyotes prospect Mark Visentin was named the Ontario Hockey League’s Player of the Week last week. Click here to read more about the goalie's big week.

Contact Dave Vest at thedesertdogblog@phoenixcoyotes.com and follow him on Twitter @davest4yotes.
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