GLENDALE, Ariz. Mathematically speaking, the Coyotes are still in the hunt for the playoffs. By any other measure, the underdogs who won the Valleys heart last season were done as soon as they left the ice following a 4-0 loss to San Jose on Monday at Jobing.com Arena.
There were ill omens before the Coyotes were even introduced. Goalie Mike Smith, who had been so spectacular since returning from the injured list, was scratched with a lower-body injury apparently sustained in Sundays practice.
He just came in this morning and said he couldnt play," coach Dave Tippett said. We didn't think it would be an issue, but it ended up being an issue."
Things only got worse from there.
Former Coyote Raffi Torres set the tone early, flattening defenseman Keith Yandle with an open-ice hit about 10 seconds into the game, then elbowing Yandle in the head in front of the Coyotes net, leading to coincidental minors after Yandle retaliated with a slash.
Just like that, the Sharks were...