It’s over halfway through the season for the Arizona Coyotes, but they’re still struggling with the issues that they’ve been talking about all season. A 3-2 loss to the San Jose Sharks on Tuesday night was just another reminder that the team’s struggle to get wins just can’t seem to end.
After Mike Smith was given the opportunity to start for the past four games, going 2-2, Devan Dubnyk was given the chance to redeem himself from the last time he was in net. Dubnyk has been sitting the bench since the Coyotes 6-0 loss to the Dallas Stars on New Years Eve, so he was hungry for a win.
Over a period of 19 games, Dubnyk has gone 9-5-2. His only really consecutive streak was in December, where Dubnyk was in between the pipes the majority of the time, leading up to the December 31st loss.
“It was great, it felt good and better as the game went on too. It’s just a disappointing finish.” Dubnyk said on getting the start. “I felt really good in the third period and to have a bounce like that go in… it’s just a frustrating win.”
Last time the Coyotes played in San Jose, Dubnyk blocked 40 out of 43 shots (3 in SO) against the Sharks. Last night, he blocked 22 out of 25 shots, but his effort was there. A couple of bad lies for the puck, such as it careening off of Zbynek Michalek’s skate and giving San Jose the lead. It wasn’t a horrible game, but we’ll see if he will get the chance against the Calgary Flames on Thursday or if Smith will.
“We absolutely played a great hockey game, there was just a disappointing bounce on the game winner.” Said Dubnyk. “It was just frustrating. It’s an unfortunate bounce and I don’t need to say much more.”
Boedker creating vital offense
The past three games have all started out in a similar fashion. Coyotes top goal scoring forward Mikkel Boedker put Arizona on the board for the third game in a row. Leading up to, and just after the goal, he was tied to an interesting statistic: Boedker had a goal streak of four goals on his past four shots in a span of three games. Apparently the goal scorer doesn’t need to make a lot of shots during a game, just one’s that count.
“It just bounced in the wrong ring. We just need to keep working at it and keep doing the things we’re doing.” Boedker said when sharing thoughts about the teams play against the Sharks. “We keep getting chances and opportunities and if we keep doing that for a long period of time it will start falling in for us.”
He’s first in the club this year with scoring, and is second to Antoine Vermette for overall points. His production has kept the Coyotes in games, and he’s been a vital piece of their offense.
“Everybody has to contribute and we haven’t been doing that on the power-play obviously.” Said Boedker on the team.”We are on the ice for a reason and Tippett trusts us and feels like we can score goals for us, we’ve done it in the past and I think we’ve done really well overall.”
Special teams spotlight
The outcome of every game recently has been reflective of how the special teams played. Some games, they are producing a lot on the power play, and some they aren’t getting anything. Some nights their penalty kill is nearly flawless, and others they can’t see to get by without allowing the opposition to score on them.
Last night, while it wasn’t extreme, it was a sure mix of both. They weren’t able to produce the three times they were put on the power play. That could’ve been a game changer, considering one bad bounce for the Coyotes lead to a San Jose game winning goal. Tough breaks have been a theme for the team this year, and it hasn’t seemed to stop.
“When your power play doesn’t score and you give up one, that’s the difference in the game.” Said coach Dave Tippett about the power play inability.
Even if your penalty kill is strong, it doesn’t mean you should continue to get unnecessary penalties. In the past five games, they’ve accumulated a total of 24 penalties. Putting your team, more specifically your goaltender, in compromising positions is not what a struggling team needs to do. The team needs to clean up their game all around instead of getting messy penalties that ends up leading to the opponents benefit. San Jose only scored one on the power play last night, but overall their penalty kill statistically looks rough.
“We took some unfortunate penalties… the one at the end of the second is one of those shoot it over those boards one.” Said Tippett.”When your margin for error is very thin, the way to give yourself the chance to win is discipline and doing the right things more often than not.”
Thoughts from the coach
“I thought the effort was excellent, I thought we competed hard. We came up a little short on a goal that went off our toe so it was an unfortunate break. There are little things that happen during a game… the more things like that that we can clean up with that kind of effort, it will give us a better chance to win.” -Dave Tippett, Coyotes head coach.
Things to know
- Martin Hanzal has been placed on the injured reserve for his upper body injury . He’s missed three games going.
- Brandon McMillan and Chris Summers both put on waivers Tuesday afternoon. They played the game Tuesday night, and have yet to clear waivers (Today at 10 a.m. deadline). If they clear, they will most likely be sent to the American Hockey League so the Coyotes can have team flexibility.
- Philip Samuelsson, an exchange for Rob Klinkhammer to the Penguins (who later went to the Oilers), has been brought up after initially playing with the Coyotes AHL affiliate the Portland Pirates after the trade.
- Coyotes go up against the Calgary Flames on Thursday, January 15th for their last home game against them this season. Game starts at 7 p.m. at Gila River Arena. It’s also the teams last home game until February 5th.