Mental miscues and odd bounces doomed the Phoenix Coyotes on Tuesday night.
A pair of odd puck bounces around Mike Smith led directly to two Ottawa Senators goals, while a lack of communication in overtime cost the Coyotes the game. Ottawa's 4-3 overtime victory allowed the Coyotes to earn one point but their performance was not encouraging, especially for their netminder.
Smith's troubles began in the second period when he dove and attempted to prevent a pass through the crease. The puck squeezed between his legs anyway and rattled around his pads before coming to a stop in the blue paint. Ottawa captain Jason Spezza swatted the puck into the open net. Unfortunately for the Coyotes, this was not the low-light of the night for their goaltender.
While attempting to play the puck outside of his net, Smith bobbled the puck into the restricted trapezoid area. A penalty if he played it in that zone, Smith had to retreat but collided with teammate David Schlemko. The collision did not allow Smith to get back into his net. After a failed attempt at a behind-the-net poke check, Colin Greening passed the puck to a wide-open Spezza who slapped the puck into the vacated net.
Phoenix's 2-0 lead was no more as Spezza scored another goal, to complete the natural hat trick. He scored one more goal than the number of hats thrown on the ice to celebrate his accomplishment.
"You should play a little better and smarter (with a two-goal lead)," Radim Vrbata said.
The Coyotes entered the game after completing a five-game road trip that saw them win three of those games. The team appeared tired early on, recording only four shots in the opening period. Coach Dave Tippett does not believe that's any excuse for losing.
"Doesn't matter if it's the first game back from a road trip, doesn't matter if you're tired...find a way to win," Tippett said.
The one point the Coyotes earned on Tuesday moves them into second place in the Pacific Division with nine points.
Fans in attendance took great pleasure in booing former Coyote Kyle Turris every time he touched the puck. Turris held out of training camp and part of the regular season in 2011 before being traded to Ottawa in exchange for David Rundblad and a second round pick.
Aside from the Turris booing, the first period was fairly uneventful. Smith was bumped in the crease a couple times, drawing a penalty once. Phoenix's power play was anemic as they gave as many scoring opportunities to the Senators as they generated themselves. Smith kept the Coyotes in the game, stopping all 12 Ottawa shots in the first period.
Period two was far more exciting. Phoenix bounced back from a lackluster first period to score a pair of goals in the first 2:35 of the middle period. Rob Klinkhammer scored his third goal in the last two games after an offensive zone face-off win by Antoine Vermette bounced off Craig Anderson and right onto the stick of number 36. Vrbata added his fourth goal of the season not too long after, increasing the Yotes' lead to two.
Ottawa answered back with three straight goals to take the lead mid-way through the third period.
The goal that put the Senators ahead was a power play goal. Ottawa was awarded a power play after the Coyotes were called for too many men on the ice. Referees did not blow the whistle after Coyotes defenseman Rostislav Klesla was injured from a high hit by Bobby Ryan. By the time Klesla got to his feet and began to make a change, Ottawa drove through the neutral zone and another Coyote defenseman had already joined the play. Klesla was initially down on the ice for several seconds before stumbling to his feet.
Mike Ribeiro tied the game with 3:30 left in the third period after deflecting a Oliver Ekman-Larrson shot. It was Ribeiro's first goal as a Coyote.
The miscues popped up again in overtime as both Klesla and fellow defenseman Michael Stone attempted to block a shot by Marc Methot. Instead of shooting, Methot passed the puck to the now wide-open Cory Conacher who tapped the puck in the net for the game-winning goal.
After starting 1-2, the Coyotes have earned points in four straight games.
- Derek Morris did not play and is listed as day-to-day
- Phoenix is now 4-0-1 this season when leading after two periods
- Coyotes haven't won four games in a row since the 2011-2012 season
- Boedker notched his 100th career point with an assist in the second period
- Attendance: 10,594
Our Three Stars of the Game
- Jason Spezza: Natural hat trick earns the number one spot every time.
- Cory Conacher: Game winning OT goal.
- Antoine Vermette: Two assists and won 54 percent of his faceoffs.
The Coyotes head back on the road for one game in Anaheim on Friday. Puck drop is scheduled for 7 p.m.