The Phoenix Coyotes are spiraling out of control and are truly in danger of not only missing the playoffs for the first time in three years, but also becoming sellers at the trade deadline.
The Coyotes lost to the Detroit Red Wings 3-2 on Monday night for their sixth consecutive loss (0-5-1). Six losses in a row is uncharted territory for Phoenix since Dave Tippett arrived as head coach.
A search for answers (and a win) continues for a Coyotes team that was nearly at a loss for words when attempting to describe what is holding them back. Tippett can continue tinkering but the now 13th place Coyotes are running out of time.
The Red Wings opened the scoring when an Ian White point shot weaved through a two-man Detroit screen and into the net. Phoenix once again was unable to score first and once again found themselves chasing the game. They would not have to chase the game for long as the Coyotes would tie the game a few minutes later with a power play goal. Martin Hanzal deflected a Radim Vrbata shot past Jonas Gustavsson as Coyotes fans finally saw two-thirds of the old Czechs connect for a goal. Rob Klinkhammer gave the Coyotes their first lead since Mar. 12. The Hammer was the ultimate opportunist on the play as he picked up a loose puck near the crease and roofed it past Gustavsson for his third goal of the season.
The only of the second period would come with just 38.6 seconds left, when the Red Wings tied the game at two. Johan Franzen scored his seventh goal of the season, on the power play, by wristing the puck past LaBarbera. Franzen skated up the middle of the ice in the offensive zone and was not picked up by any of the Phoenix penalty killers.
A too many men on the ice penalty against Phoenix led to Detroit re-taking the lead. Pavel Datsyuk swatted a Henrik Zetterberg rebound into an open net for his 11th goal of the season. Lauri Korpikoski was awarded a penalty shot with 4:12 to play after being hooked on a short-handed breakaway. Unfortunately for the Yotes, he could not convert. Korpi skated in the zone wide then skated toward Gustavsson's right, before shooting left. Gustavsson made the save with his left shoulder. The unsuccessful penalty shot sealed the Yotes' fate.
- Klinkhammer led all Coyotes with four hits.
- LaBarbera stopped 32 of 35 shots in the game.
- Mike Smith was a scratch for the game with Chad Johnson dressed as the back-up.
- Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson was in attendance.
- Attendance: 17,428. A season high.
Five For Winning
1. Score First - For the past couple of games Coyotes fans were simply happy when they scored, but the reality is they play so much better when they have a lead. If they can jump on the Red Wings early, they might be able to get back in the win column. The Coyotes were unable to score first yet again. However, they would answer back with two goals before the first intermission.
2. Help the Netminder Out - Mike Smith and Jason LaBarbera have not played terrible hockey in the past month or so, they just aren't getting much support. Keep the crease clear, keep shooting lanes open, and keep the play at the other end of the ice to give whoever starts in net an easier time.
3. Shut Up and Play - As much as the fans like the drama and the conflict that emerged from the controversial plays between the Kings and Canucks, the Coyotes need rhythm a lot more. Try and avoid the penalty box and keep the extracirriculars to a minimum and just play hockey. There were no extracurricular issues during the game, yet penalties were a problem. Detroit's game tying and winning goals were scored on the power play.
4. Keep the Power Play Going - Radim Vrbata's return already appears to be showing dividends, as the Coyotes lodged a power play goal Thursday night. The passing and shot selection has looked much better; if the Desert Dogs can make good choices on the power play and hold the offensive zone, they will really tire out the Detroit defenders and keep some of their top scorers off the ice. The Coyotes scored their first goal of the game on the power play. Oliver Ekman-Larsson and Vrbata both received assists on Hanzal's goal.
5. Avoid Mistakes - It doesn't take much for someone like Pavel Datsyuk to make a brilliant play or two. The Coyotes can't allow that to happen in this one. Don't take unnecessary chances, make the simple play, and stick to your assignments. A deflected puck off of a defenseman's skate was all Datsyuk needed to score the GWG.
Our Three Stars Of The Game
1. Pavel Datsyuk: Two power play points including the GWG.
2. Niklas Kronwall: Assists on both the game tying and game winning goals.
3. Rob Klinkhammer: A goal, four hits and an all-around solid night for the Hammer.
Phoenix will embark on a three-game road trip, seeking a win, beginning on Wednesday night in Minnesota. They will then travel to Nashville the next night before going to San Jose on Saturday.