The Phoenix Coyotes left home to come home. They got a chilly reception.
Virtually everything went wrong for the Coyotes as they dropped another game, by a final score of 5-1. Ondrej Pavelec made 18 saves in the win, as Mike Smith made 32 saves in the loss.
The first period started out fairly well. It appeared that both teams went into this game with the intent of putting as many shots on the goalies as possible. The Coyotes made it much easier on Winnipeg by taking two early penalties in the first 10 minutes. Thanks in no small part to the work of Mike Smith, Winnipeg did not convert either early chance.
But Phoenix did. On a holding the stick minor, the Coyotes executed a power play that would not have looked out of place on high skill teams like Washington or Pittsburgh. Oliver Ekman-Larsson wristed home a rebound after Ondrej Pavelec went sprawling to stop an earlier scoring chance to make it 1-0.
Winnipeg would only need 36 seconds to get it back though, as bad communication between Smith and Keith Yandle left a puck on the doorstep for former Coyote Olli Jokinen to collect.
Winnipeg would take a 2-1 lead thanks to yet another defensive zone turnover in the slot, this time by Mikkel Boedker. Eric O'Dell made easy pickings of the ill-advised pass and beat Smitty. To make matters worse, Yandle would take a penalty to end a very offensively inconsistent period for Phoenix.
The second period featured a pump-up fight from Paul Bissonnette early on. He took about as much as he gave from Anthony Peluso, and managed to take Peluso down as the linesmen were stepping in. The fight did little to change the Coyotes' fortunes as Blake Wheeler took advantage of a gaping net to knock home a rebound and make it 3-1.
The Coyotes poured on the misery in the third period, as Smith simply didn't stop a Michael Frolik wrist-shot. It did not appear to be deflected or screened in any way. Smith just straight-up fanned on it. Derek Morris fought Andrew Ladd, because at this point in the game the Coyotes really couldn't be playing more poorly.
Phoenix gave up a power play goal midway through the third, which is not surprising considering they were short handed eight times on the night. If there is a rock bottom, the Coyotes may be scraping it right now.
Our Three Stars of the Game
- 3rd Star - Ondrej Pavelec. He didn't have to be spectacular, but he made sure the Coyotes found absolutely no way to make it back into the game once the Jets took over.
- 2nd Star - Dustin Byfuglien. A pair of assists. He looked pretty strong playing back on the wing again.
- 1st Star - Blake Wheeler. His goal proved to be a back-breaker for the Coyotes.
- Michael Stone, a Winnipeg native, played his first NHL game in Manitoba. According to the broadcast, he grew up as a Detroit Red Wings fan.
- Evander Kane was scratched tonight. He has missed a few games in a row now with a hand injury, but is close to returning.
- Phoenix had four minors in the first period, yet killed off all four of those penalties.
- Phoenix went 14:36 in the 2nd period without registering a shot on goal.
- Keith Yandle took an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty in the third for abusive language.
- This was the first game Winnipeg played with Paul Maurice as head coach. The win snapped a five game losing streak for the Jets.
- Phoenix tied a season low for shots on net with 19.
Phoenix will have virtually no time to sulk, as they go to St. Louis tomorrow to play the St. Louis Blues. If you have the stomach for it, tomorrow's game will be televised on FOX Sports Arizona at 6 p.m. Arizona time.