(photo credit: Dinur Blum)
Six seconds into a game, and the gloves drop. The Dallas Stars Captain Jamie Benn and Coyotes Forward Martin Hanzal go to the box on fighting majors. 96 seconds later, defenseman Connor Murphy nets a wrist shot and puts the Arizona Coyotes up on the board 1-0. Several minutes later (not even 5 into the period) two more men get sent to sit in the sin bin for 5 minutes for fighting. Now we’re 5 minutes into the game and Dallas gets a holding call on them. Coyotes are on their first power play of the game….The first of many.
One might think that the first period was setting the Coyotes up for a successful game. Dallas was on a 7 game loosing streak, and Arizona was leading the game, drawing penalties and keeping the puck in their offensive zone. The ‘Yotes 17 shots in the first topped their 19 shots in the whole game against the Islanders on Saturday night.
The second period was a different story. The Stars were still racking up the penalties, Jamie Benn finishing the second with his third trip to the box. The Coyotes were still not producing on the power play; this is something we’ve seen in the past several games. The Coyotes put another on the board for good measure. Joe Vitale got awarded his first of the season, and first with the team (to which Vitale said it was “great…But at the end of the day it’s just about winning hockey games here and we didn’t do the job tonight.”). Everything still looked good, more powerplay opportunities, but the shots they had weren’t getting in. They led 2-0…That is until Stars center Tyler Seguin put in his 11th goal of the season on a turnover to make the deficit smaller. A poor call for interference on Connor Murphy opened the door for the Stars to use their strong PP line against the Coyotes penalty kill. Not a minute after his first goal, Seguin produced on their PP and tied the game up at 2-2.
The third period was different. The Stars had some life to them, and were ready to break free from their slump. Nothing much happened in the first ten minutes besides another PP for the Coyotes that they couldn’t execute on. At 15:19, the Stars took the lead with a goal from Erik Cole.
Coyotes Mikkel Boedker would have none of that, and snuck one past Lehtonen to tie it up. When the Coyotes got a power play with barely 2 minutes left to play, things were looking up. It’s the perfect textbook win. Player A gets a goal on the PP with barely any time left to win the game….. That’s what it looked like, but that’s not what it was. A bad break, and the defenders can’t jump on it soon enough. Stars’ Ryan Garbutt got a breakaway and sunk a short-handed goal to take the lead 4-3. The Coyotes got close, but they just can’t do what they need to, and fall to the Stars 4-3.
The Power Play
What started the season off as spectacular, is now a painfully unproductive part of the Coyotes game. When the ‘Yotes couldn’t produce on the 5-on-5 and pretty much only on the power play the first several games, there was a need to fix their regular play, not the PP. Fast forward a couple weeks and you have a team thats been in a PP goal drought for quite a few games. They had 6 chances in last nights game, yet they couldn’t execute on any of them. They are getting shots, but if those shots aren’t getting anywhere, there isn’t much help from these opportunities to score.
The short-handed goal that Dallas scored to win the game was “inexcusable from our power play,”says Tippett. He then went on to say that the team was almost not in the right mindset, they expected that the power play would be effective and they could win the game. No one expected the shorty. Tippett said that the loose puck that lead to the breakaway was kind of just looked at as they were icing the puck, so the Coyotes just stood around. Big mistake there.
Coach Dave Tippett is not too fond of their PP saying, “Probably since all you guys started writing about how good it was, it’s just gone downhill from there. And I thought it was poor, even before we gave up the shorty (short-handed goal), and so we are going to have to look at some stuff.” The question he faces now, is what sort of changes he needs to make to give the team the execution it once had.
Road Trip Ahead
The Coyotes leave for a three game Canadian road trip, today. They start of up in Calgary tomorrow night, then Vancouver and lastly, they hit Edmonton before they travel back home for a game against the Capitals.
The team is aware that there is a quick turnaround after their loss. They see the weaknesses in their game, and hopefully can put the knowledge of what needs to be improved on, into action.
They have three games to get to the pace of game that they need to play to get wins. This road trip could be a rough one, considering a back to back game in Calgary and then Vancouver, but they can’t show signs of wear out on the ice. That happened in the game against the Islanders, and they just couldn’t produce to get the ‘W’.
They need to produce more on the power play. Being there in the net on rebounds is also essential. The amount of times the puck bounces out, and they could have a chance is incredible. Towards the end of last nights game, it seemed there was some improvement, but it could obviously use even more work.
Next Home Game
The Coyotes are back at Gila River Arena on November 18th to face off against the Washington Capitals. Last game against the Caps, Dubnyk was in goal and the ‘Yotes pulled out a 6-5 win. Can the Coyotes pull another one at home, this time?