A losing streak is no fun for anyone involved.
The Arizona Coyotes were unable to snap theirs despite returning home, as they fell to the visiting Anaheim Ducks 4-1 Tuesday night at Gila River Arena. The team has now lost ten consecutive games.
Because of the quick turnaround from the Trade Deadline to tonight's action, Head Coach Dave Tippett had little time to build chemistry with his roster. Still, the coach did what he could to get the team ready.
"We had a slightly longer morning skate today to try and get a few things in place." Tippett said after the game.
Whatever Tippett did, it paid some dividends. Arizona did not look like a tanking team in the early stretches of the opening frame. Mark Arcobello in particular generated several early scoring chances on Frederik Andersen, but none could find the net. Anaheim started to tilt the ice in their favor, but Mike Smith stood strong early, making 11 saves in just over 11 minutes.
Newcomer Klas Dahlbeck attributed some of the energy the Coyotes had to begin the game to the atmosphere in the locker room, which got a boost from the addition of some new players.
"We felt that there was a lot of excitement in the room before the game today. We've got a lot of new players, and everybody's on the same page that we've got to be a hard working team." Dahlbeck said after the game.
Though the Coyotes would get the first power play, Anaheim would get the first goal. Ryan Kesler fought off two Coyotes defenders, drew a penalty, and scored while falling at 13:34 of the first. Arizona would struggle to hit the net during the power play, and could not get the goal back. Arizona would go into the first intermission trailing 1-0.
Among the newcomers, John Moore would earn :49 seconds of power play time in the first, primarily as an opportunity for Tippett and the coaching staff to figure out how well Moore fit on the man advantage.
"That's where his forte is going to be," Tippett noted, referring to Moore. "I think there's a lot of growth that has to come in his game in that department, but you're not going to find out where that growth has to come from until you find out where he is."
Anaheim jumped on the Coyotes early to begin the second period, hemming them in their zone and forcing Mike Smith to make some big saves. Martin Erat would nearly tie the game four minutes in, but Andersen would dive across the goal line to deny him with just inches to spare.
At 5:56 of the second period, Andrew Cogliano would deflect a puck in past Mike Smith, who leapt up to stop a high puck and consequently let the suddenly descending puck go under his legs. The play would be upheld on video review, and the Ducks would take a 2-0 lead.
Arizona would get one back as Tobias Rieder shoveled a backhand past Andersen. The Ducks' goalie went to casually scoop it up and missed, bringing the Coyotes back to within one at 9:30 of the second period. Trade deadline acquisition Klas Dahlbeck did not record an assist on the play, but kept the puck in the zone to set up the goal.
The Ducks and Coyotes would trade chances throughout the second, but the best chance was a Shane Doan breakaway with 5:30 left to play in the period. Doan managed to slip past the two Anaheim defenders, but was unable to separate himself from the trailing defender and never got a good shot off.
The Ducks would get a glorious chance of their own as Corey Perry got past Oliver Ekman-Larsson and crashed into Mike Smith. In the ensuing scrum, Doan took exception to Ryan Getzlaf's attempt to pull another Coyote off the pile, and the two dropped the gloves.
Even if the fight didn't change the outcome of the game, its importance was not lost on the players in the locker room.
"You could see it [the bond developing between players] in Shane Doan there in the second period. That really says all you need to say about that." John Moore said after the game.
The chippiness would not end there. Tye McGinn got into a minor scrum in front of Andersen, and Connor Murphy and Corey Perry would each receive concurrent roughing minors after the whistle. Both teams would settle down after that, and after a Ducks' two on one was denied by Smith, the game would remain 2-1 at the second intermission.
Both teams appeared to have settled down to start the third period, as there would be no altercations or scrums after the whistle. Neither team had particularly good looks at the net. At 7:21, Jakob Silfverberg took a shot that bounced off the post. Incredibly, he managed to catch the rebound, put it on the ice, and bang it home without losing a stride. Arizona was losing 3-1 thanks in large part to two incredible individual displays of skill.
Corey Perry would finally be sent off for an elbow to Connor Murphy, but Cogliano would buy Anaheim's second shorthanded goal on the night into an empty net at 17:26 to give the Ducks a 4-1 lead that they would carry to the end.
Though the Coyotes would again fall, Tippett liked the effort the team put out.
"I thought we tried hard today. There was lots of try in our team. Still made a couple of mistakes that cost us, but lots of try".
But with the team the Coyotes are currently icing, try is simply not going to be enough.
Our Three Stars of the Game
- 3rd Star - Frederik Andersen: Stopped 29 of 30 Arizona shots.
- 2nd Star - Jakob Silfverberg: a goal and two assists on the night. His speed and reflexes are something else.
- 1st Star - Andrew Cogliano: Scored two big goals for the Ducks. He remains a Coyote-killer.
- For Anaheim's perspective, check out Anaheim Calling.
- Anaheim acquisition James Wisniewski did not play tonight. He is nursing a bone bruise and is expected back in one to two weeks.
- Arcobello recorded his first assist as a Coyote on the Rieder goal. He had scored five goals of his own for the Coyotes since being picked up on waivers from Pittsburgh.
- Rieder's goal was his first since February 3rd.
- Final shot totals: Anaheim 35, Arizona 30.
- Getzlaf fought for the 21st time in his career. For Doan, it was his 41st NHL fight.
- Attendance: 11,387.
Arizona will be back at Gila River Arena on Thursday to play the Vancouver Canucks. Puck drop is at 7 PM Arizona time.