Another Thursday, another Phoenix Coyotes loss.
Thursday's have not been kind thus far in 2013 for the Coyotes as they have lost all four games played on that night in regulation. This Thursday was one of them as the Coyotes fell to the Minnesota Wild 4-3.
Phoenix started so poorly that even two goals in the final five minutes of the game couldn't save them. Phoenix found themselves down 3-0 just 26 minutes into the game and could never recover.
Coyotes head coach Dave Tippett acknowledged that his team was tired but that they still needed to, "manufacture a win." He also noted that even though Kyle Chipchura's line deserved to be the best line, the other players need to step up. Tippett essentially said that Chipchura's line cant be the best line on the ice, period after period, game after game.
The Coyotes dominated the first two minutes of the game but poor coverage in the defensive zone allowed Minnesota to gain the early 1-0 lead. Jason Zucker tipped a Matt Cullen pass past Mike Smith just 1:35 into the game. The opening period also saw a scrap between two fighting veterans, Paul Bissonnette and Mike Rupp. Rupp landed three right hands to the face of Bissonnette and clearly won the fight. Dany Heatley scored the second goal of the period for the wild after wristing the puck past Smith on a 2-on-1 created by a poor pinch at the blue line by Derek Morris. The Wild nearly made it 3-0 to end the period as Smith could not handle a rebound and the puck sat just outside of the crease.
Heatley scored his second consecutive goal just seconds after the Minnesota power play expired, to give the Wild a 3-0 lead. The Coyotes would finally get on the board five minutes later as Rusty Klesla backhanded a Kyle Chipchura pass behind Niklas Backstrom. The goal was Klesla's first of the season. Jared Spurgeon scored his first goal of the season, o the power play, to give the Wild their three-goal lead back. There were three Coyotes in the crease yet seemingly no one was adequately covered.
Jason LaBarbera, not Smith, led the team out on the ice for the third period. A crazy dump-in off of the glass bounced its way past Backstrom to cut Minnesota's lead to two. Keith Yandle shot the puck in the zone and it hit high off the glass and bounced just behind Backstrom's skates. Phoenix was almost able to come all the way back, as Captain Shane Doan scored with 58.9 seconds remaining after the team pulled LaBarbera for the extra skater.
- Heatley's second goal gave Minnesota their first three-goal lead of the season.
- Boedker now leads the Coyotes in assists with 11.
- Chipchura, who has arguably been the team's best player as of late, received some power play time in the third period.
- The Coyotes have allowed a goal in 10 of the last 12 periods.
Five For Winning
1. Defense: As previously mentioned the Wild do not score a lot of goals. It is important that the Coyotes play well defensively to keep them off the score card. This includes doing the little things like clearing the zone and clogging up the neutral zone that prevent the Wild from taking a lot of shots, or at least making sure the shots they take aren't good ones. Poor mental mistakes on defense led to three of the four Wild goals. From missing coverage to ill-advised pinches at the blue line, the defense was beaten throughout the night.
2. Play 20 minute periods: Last season the Coyotes had a few problems finishing periods and games. This season the problem has reappeared. If the Yotes want 2 points they are going to need to make sure they play 20 solid minutes of hockey each period, and not let opponents score in the final minutes. Closing out periods was not an issue for the Coyotes on this night. The issue was every other part of the period.
3. Shots from everyone: With 2/3rds of the Coyotes top line injured the Coyotes are going to need to continue generating offense from everyone. Kyle Chipchura has been the big success story, and even Paul Bissonnette is generating points, and the Yotes are going to need to continue getting points from everyone. The Desert Dogs out shot the Wild 28-23 but never had a dominant period. As for "points from everyone," eight Coyotes recorded a point in the game.
4. Disciplined play: Last time the Desert Dogs played the Wild they didn't have many penalties. Although the Wild do not have many goals this season they do have offensive talent, and they shouldn't give that talent a chance to shine with a man advantage. The Yotes took five penalties, killing off four of them. Unfortunately, the one they didn't kill off was the game-winning goal.
5. Score first: Things go so much easier for the Coyotes when they are playing with a lead and not struggling to come back against a team. The Wild may not score a lot, but they don't let a lot through either, so if the Yotes give up the lead they may not be able to regain it. Phoenix did not score first. Or second. Or third. Getting down 3-0 is no way to play a hockey game and it showed. The ‘Yotes mustered a comeback but it was not enough to garner any points.
Our Three Stars Of The Game
1. Matt Cullen: Two primary assists and could have had a couple more if guys buried open shots.
2. Dany Heatley: Two goals for the sniper put the game out of reach for the ‘Yotes.
3. Devin Setoguchi: Two assists and made the plays that resulted in both of Cullen's points.
Get used to seeing the Anaheim Ducks as the Coyotes play them three times in a row starting Saturday. The Ducks currently lead the Pacific Division, and if the Coyotes hope to catch them any time soon, they will need at least a couple wins.