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Arizona Coyotes still winless on road trip after 3-2 loss to the New York Rangers

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For the second game in a row, mistakes at critical moments cost the Arizona Coyotes a chance at a win.

NHL: Arizona Coyotes at New York Rangers Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

The Arizona Coyotes were once again unable to get it done.

Despite a strong showing from Radim Vrbata and an excellent start, a series of bad mistakes culminated in a fourth straight loss, as the Coyotes fell 3-2 to the New York Rangers on Sunday night at Madison Square Garden.

Scoring Summary

First Period

1-0 Arizona - Radim Vrbata got the Coyotes off on the right foot by scoring on the team’s first shot of the game. J.T. Miller mishandled a puck on the boards, which allowed Connor Murphy to hold the puck in at the right point. His wrist shot tipped off of Vrbata’s stick past Lundqvist. Assist to Murphy on the goal at 0:33.

1-1 Tie - The Rangers got on the board midway through the first when Michael Grabner centered the puck from the near-side boards to Josh Jooris. Jooris had enough to to skate completely around a sprawling Louis Domingue before tucking the puck in with nary a Coyote defender in sight. Assists to Grabner and Jasper Fast on the goal at 12:13.

Second Period

2-1 New York - The Rangers took the lead on a power play goal courtesy of J.T. Miller. Miller and Brandon Pirri played a brief game of catch along the near-side before finding Ryan McDonagh at the center-point. His shot caught the stick of Miller, who was skating across the top of the crease unmarked. Assists to McDonagh and Pirri on the power play goal at 5:45.

2-2 Tie - Arizona fought their way to a tie late in the second period, as Christian Dvorak manufactured a turnover in the neutral zone. Max Domi was able to cleanly enter the zone and create space for him and Radim Vrbata, who Domi promptly found in the high-slot for his second goal of the night. Assists to Domi and Dvorak on the goal at 16:18.

Third Period

3-2 New York - Dan Girardi gave the Rangers the lead for good early in the third period on a slapshot from the far point that may have been partially redirected by Jordan Martinook. Assist to Brady Skjei on the goal at 1:55.

Three Answers

1. Will the Coyotes have a lead this game? - The Coyotes grabbed a lead just 33 seconds into the first period, but they could not hold onto it, and ultimately spent most of the second and third periods trailing.

2. Will Domingue keep improving? - On the one hand, Domingue made some incredible saves down the stretch, including on this point-blank shot from Rick Nash that left the forward visibly impressed.

But, as with Friday’s game in Brooklyn, the game-winner was a stoppable shot, and Domingue simply didn’t get to it. And that’s what shows up in the standings.

3. Where are Max Domi and Anthony Duclair? - Max Domi might have played his best game of the season tonight; he set up Radim Vrbata’s second goal of the night with a great zone entry and an even better pass. It still wasn’t enough though.

Players of the Game

Arizona - Radim Vrbata - Vrbata’s goal on Friday created expectations of more tonight, as the Czech forward is a notoriously streaky goal scorer. With both of Arizona’s tallies, he exceeded expectations.

New York - Ryan McDonagh - McDonagh is the workhorse of the Rangers defense, and it showed. He had an assist on New York’s power play goal, blocked five shots, and led all Rangers skaters in TOI with 22:17.

Paw Prints

  • For the Rangers’ perspective, check out Blueshirt Banter
  • Dylan Strome took a seat for this game, with Ryan White taking his place
  • Jakob Chychrun played 16:23, with just under a minute and a half on the penalty kill. And with the net empty in the third, Chychrun was on the ice again. He’s going to be very hard to send back to the OHL.
  • Girardi’s game-winning goal was his first tally since November 12th, 2015 against the St. Louis Blues.
  • Arizona is now 1-2-0 against teams playing on the second half of a back-to-back.
  • Arizona’s 1-4-0 start is tied for the worst opening five games of the season in the Dave Tippett Era with the 2012-13 lockout shortened year; Arizona started that season 1-4-0 before going 3-0-2 in their next five games.

Looking Ahead

The Coyotes stay in the New York area for a game against the New Jersey Devils on Tuesday night. Puck drop is at 4:00 PM Arizona time.