Often times it is difficult to pinpoint exactly what causes a team to win or lose on any given night. That was not the case Tuesday.
As Dallas Stars forward Ryan Garbutt glided up the ice short-handed, around a flat-footed Keith Yandle, keeping his distance from a trailing Oliver Ekman-Larsson, there was no mistaking the culprit for the 4-3 defeat that was to follow -- Arizona's putrid power play.
Garbutt fought through an Ekman-Larsson hook and went backhand-forehand, beating Arizona Coyotes goaltender Mike Smith for the game-winning goal.
The Coyotes had six power play opportunities and were outscored 1-0 -- that's no way to win. The Coyotes had their best five offensive players on the ice against only four Stars in the waning minutes of regulation. They still lost.
"I thought (the power play) was poor, even before we gave up the shorty," head coach Dave Tippett said. "So we are going to have to look at some stuff...whether we want to change some personnel on it or something.
"But tonight you get a power-play with two minutes to go in the game and the power-play is your best players on the ice, and you give the game away -- it's really disappointing."
Arizona has failed on its last 20 power play opportunities.
Dallas snapped a seven-game losing streak (0-5-2) on the strength of a pair of goals by Tyler Seguin and late goals by Erik Cole and Garbutt.
Late-game mistakes have proven costly to a Coyotes team that has such a small margin for error.
"To win games in this league you can't make critical mistakes at the wrong time," Tippett said.
Before everything fell apart, things started off well for the Coyotes as they came out swinging, figuratively and literally. On fresh legs, the Coyotes started the game with some fight -- err a fight.
Six seconds into the game, Martin Hanzal and Jamie Benn dropped the gloves and duked it out -- err spun in circles whilst flailing their arms. I can't imagine why these two would not like each other. Weird.
After the litany of hockey equipment was tided up and returned to its rightful owners, the two teams briefly decided to play hockey.
Connor Murphy broke out of his slump with a top-shelf goal that opened the scoring 1:42 into the contest.
But that was a little too much hockeying for these two teams.
Kyle Chipchura and Brenden Dillon sparred 4:07 into the period, but these two threw and landed more than a few haymakers. If there was ever a night for the idiom "I went to a fight one night, and a hockey game broke out," it was tonight.
The Stars (Seguin) woke up in the middle frame after the Coyotes extended their lead to two on Joe Vitale's first goal in Sedona Red -- a top-shelf snipe past Kari Lehtonen.
Seguin proceeded to take over the the final minutes of the second period, scoring two goals 57 seconds apart (one on the power play) to tie the game at two with his 11th and 12th goals of the season. At that point, the 22-year-old had the Stars' last five goals.
Dallas sandwiched Mikkel Boedker's first goal in a long time between a pair of goals of their own in the third period, including Garbutt's shorty with 1:16 left in the game, as they completed the comeback.
The Coyotes will have to go back to the drawing board after losing two heartbreakers at home before heading out on a three-game road trip. Arizona cannot afford to give away points, and that's exactly what they have done recently.
- Dallas' perspective: Defending Big D
- All three of Murphy's goals have come at home.
- Tonight's game was Dave Tippett's 391st behind the bench for the Coyotes -- surpassing Bob Francis as the longest tenured coach in franchise history.
- Smith allowed four goals on 22 shots, but was far from the reason Arizona lost.
- The Coyotes have allowed a power play goal in seven of the last eight games.
- Attendance: 11,866
1. Tyler Seguin - A one-man wrecking crew out there with two goals
2. Ryan Garbutt - Game-winning short-handed goal
3. Erik Cole - A goal, four shots, five hits and at times the fastest man on the ice
The Coyotes begin a three-game road trip through western Canada when they face the Calgary Flames on Thursday night. Puck drop is scheduled for 7 p.m.