The Arizona Coyotes finally broke their win one, lose one streak, but not in the way they hoped. A few small mistakes did the Coyotes in on Tuesday night as they fell to the San Jose Sharks 3-2 for their second consecutive loss.
They say hockey is a game of inches and that sure was the case on this night. A pair of deflections found their way into the net for San Jose, while the Coyotes got one bounce of their own, but were unable to take advantage of some golden opportunities.
Arizona played well for large portions of the game, but an awful sequence in the first 93 seconds of the second period led to a pair of Sharks goals. The Coyotes clawed their way back to a tie before a bad bounce ultimately cost them the game.
Zbynek Michalek's attempt to block Brenden Dillon's shot resulted in doing just enough to turn a shot heading wide into a five-hole goal. The puck hit Michalek's skate and found its way into the net for the game-winning goal.
"You hate to lose on a goal like that, especially when I thought we played a decent game and battled hard," Michalek said. "Just not a good feeling right now to lose on a goal like that."
It was a tough way to lose, but the team did take some positives out of the loss.
"It didn't feel like we were outplayed or outmatched at any point of the game," Mikkel Boedker said. "I felt like we were in the game the whole way and it's tough when the bounces fall that way."
Coyotes head coach Dave Tippett echoed that sentiment, saying his team competed hard and had "excellent" effort.
While goaltending has been a major hinderance to the Coyotes' success this season, that was not the case on Tuesday despite that deflected goal. Devan Dubnyk stopped 22-of-25 shots in his first start of 2015. He rebounded fairly well from New Year's Eve's 6-0 loss in Dallas, but it was not quite the game he hoped to have.
"It felt good and better as the game went on," Dubnyk said of his game after not playing for two weeks, but added, "It's a disappointing finish."
The Coyotes opened the scoring on Boedker's team-leading 13th goal of the season, extending his goal streak to three games. A little hesitation move by the Dane froze a Sharks defender and goaltender Antti Niemi, who could only watch the puck fly by him through a Kyle Chipchura screen. Boedker leads all Coyotes with 18 home points (11-7-18) in 23 games.
"(I'm) getting the puck in good spots," Boedker said of his recent scoring streak. "Obviously it's nice to produce and score, but it kind of (gets) overshadowed when we lose. It's nice to get the points, but I would rather take the win."
After escaping the first period with the lead, Shane Doan took a poor and unnecessary slashing penalty late in the first period that let the Sharks back into the game. It was the prelude to a high-scoring middle frame.
Arizona killed off the first minute of the ensuing power play as the opening period expired, but the Sharks needed only 30 seconds to tie the game in the second.
Joe Pavelski scored his 22nd goal of the season by wristing the puck past Dubnyk to tie the game. Dubnyk was screened on the play by Michalek, in a night he would love to forget.
San Jose continued to push, scoring their second goal 1:03 later. Brent Burns made a beautiful shot-pass right on the stick on Tomas Hertl, who deflected the puck into the net for his eighth goal of the season.
The Coyotes finally got a bounce of their own on Shane Doan's 10th goal of the season. A centering pass from behind the net by Antoine Vermette bounced off the back of Logan Couture's skate and landed on Doan's stick. The captain promptly scooted the puck over the goal line to tie the game 2-2.
However, Michalek's rough night continued in the third period as he deflected Dillon's game-winning goal off his skate.
It was a night of bad luck in a season full of bad bounces and bad play.
- San Jose's perspective: Fear The Fin
- Ekman-Larsson played his 300th career NHL game
- Boedker leads all Coyotes with 10 even-strength goals
- The Coyotes are 8-4-1 when scoring first this season
- Doan has scored at least 10 goals in 15 consecutive seasons
- Attendance: 10,631
The Coyotes play the final game of their six-game homestand on Thursday night against the Calgary Flames. Puck drop is scheduled for 7 p.m.