Last night, the Arizona Coyotes battled the New York Rangers, whom even amongst the loss of goaltender Henrik Lundqvist to a freak injury, have been able to churn out the points. Even though the ‘Yotes have seemed to be doing better, their home record has been less than impressive, lately.
Back to back at home; it doesn’t happen often, but that doesn’t mean the team isn’t used to it. For the Coyotes, two different sets of back-to-back’s seemed to be an interesting situation.
Coach Dave Tippett commented on the seemingly odd situation, saying, “we do this on the road all the time.”
A fast, offensively powerful opponent means that the Coyotes had to match their game. New York is known for their offense, i.e Rick Nash. With the Coyotes best offense being out, the underdogs have to find a way to execute and they had to find a way to score or it’s easy to be rolled right over.
It seems as though there is a lack in sturdy offense, especially with their recent player losses. Everyone is trying to make an effort and show that they deserve a permanent spot on the team, but their luck seems to be reversed.
“The work is there, the guys are trying hard but we need some execution. We need to finish some plays. There are some mistakes that are getting made at critical time,” Tippett said about what needs to change. “You saw in the game tonight that a team like New York will capitalize on our mistakes.”
They’re getting the chances, but the puck just isn’t going where they want it to (or even need it to go). Toby Rieder even had a penalty shot, but NYR goaltender Cam Talbot was quick to read the 5-hole attempt. An apparently good situation, turned into a missed opportunity.
“You know, I think we played hard for about 50 minutes. I had a great chance on the penalty-shot, if I score the game goes the other direction, maybe,” said Rieder.
The goal that changed the entire pace of the game happened not on the Rangers power play, but instead, the Coyotes.
Short-handed goals happen, especially when you have a fast-paced team, but when the Coyotes aren’t capitalizing on chances, this kind of thing happens to them. During this particular SHG, defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson breaks his stick in his offensive zone, they lose puck possession after he tries to get back to grab another and it ultimately leads to a goal by Kevin Hayes.
Completely unfortunate situation that lead to a goal that most likely would’ve been stopped in any other circumstance. This is the kind of stuff that has plagued the Coyotes all season, and it’s costed them wins.
“Obviously I passed it over to Yands (Keith Yandle) and came up… I was lining up for the one-timer, and got a broken stick in my hands. So all that I can say is it’s just a bad break,” OEL said about the short handed goal.
On the road again
The Coyotes only play five games at home the entire month of February due to a heavy road schedule, and two on consecutive nights means that they are going to be right back on the plane again to face their next opponent, the Colorado Avalanche.
Their road win percentage has been exponentially higher than their home-stands. They set a franchise record this season with nine losses in a row at home, and they seem to be going down that same path with seven losses, if they don’t change something soon.
“There’s a lot of work there. I can’t involve the guys for work in the last two games, even in the Detroit game. There’s work there but we need more than work,” said Tippett about their home losing streak.
Things to know
- Joe Vitale returned after being sidelined 9 games for an upper-body injury. In lieu of this, Brendan Shinnimin was sent down to the AHL.
- The Coyotes play the Colorado Avalanche on Monday, February 16th in Colorado.
- The Coyotes will be back home at Gila River on Saturday, February 21st for their last home game of the month against the Tampa Bay Lightning before they embark on a trip to the East.