The Mikkel Boedker-less Arizona Coyotes were unable to solve the Pittsburgh Penguins in any aspect of the game as Arizona suffered their sixth straight loss in a row, and their eighth straight loss on the road (their last win away was on 1.25.16 @ Minnesota).
The 6-0 loss to the Penguins, in combination with the Boedker trade, all but confirms that the Coyotes have thrown in the towel for the season and will begin to focus on developing players for the next season.
The 30 shots Arizona amassed against Pittsburgh doesn't suggest how one sided the game felt, as the Penguins managed to score beautiful and skillful goals with little difficulty against the Coyotes' defense. Furthermore, the Coyotes' struggled to gain any real momentum after failing to score on early power play opportunities, including a 5 on 3 power play which could have lasted longer had Arizona not tried to overplay a 6 on 4 advantage with Domingue on the bench and another Penguin already in the penalty box.
As a result, the Coyotes were unable to score on a shortened 5 on 3 opportunity nor on a shortened 5 on 4 opportunity. From there, a series of penalties against the Coyotes, and excellent goals by the Penguins, prevented Arizona from building any momentum and clicking into gear.
1-0 Pittsburgh: The Penguins' first line was giving the Coyotes a headache early in the period, generating several good scoring chances. Eventually, the pressure got to the Coyotes as Sidney Crosby threw the puck to the front of the net on a 90 degree angle along the goal line. There, a scrambling Michael Stone and out of position Oliver Ekman-Larsson were unable to prevent Patric Hornqvist from slipping the puck past Louis Domingue and home for the first goal of the night at 5:42. Assisted by Crosby.
2-0 Pittsburgh: The Penguins' first line wasn't content with only a one goal lead for the period, scoring their second goal of the night through Patric Hornqvist. After receiving the puck in the zone, Crosby made a lateral pass across the width of the rink to Chris Kunitz. Meanwhile, Hornqvist raced toward Domingue and was able to deflect the shot made by Kunitz from the right wing into the back of the net for his second goal of the night. Assists to Kunitz and Crosby at 17:46.
3-0 Pittsburgh: Another goal to the Penguins' first line as Crosby fed the puck back to Kris Letang in the slot. Letang, with time, space, and a large group of players in front of Domingue, let the puck fly and find its own way in. The way in was through Kunitz who deflected the puck past Domingue and in. Assists to Letang and Crosby at 9:47.
4-0 Pittsburgh: An unfortunate bounce led to a delay of game penalty for Zbynek Michalek, setting up perfect conditions for the Penguins to really punish the Coyotes. After cycling through their power play for a time, Evgeni Malkin found himself with the puck on the right wing dancing through Coyotes toward the slot. After grabbing their attention, he dished the puck off to Hornqvist waiting on the far side post who shot the puck past a slow Domingue for the hat-trick. Assists to Malkin and Phil Kessel at 11:06.
5-0 Pittsburgh: Just when the Coyotes thought the bleeding had been stopped, Kris Letang skated around the Coyotes' defense before ripping the puck toward the net past a large group of players battling in front of Domingue. Reminiscent of the Penguins' third goal, the puck somehow slipped through all the bodies and then the 5-hole, giving Kris Letang his first goal of the night. Assists to Olli Maatta and Patric Hornqvist at 18:15.
6-0 Pittsburgh: 16 seconds later, on a seemingly harmless play, Matt Cullen raced down the left wing and entered the Coyotes' zone. There, he took a shot from the wing which hit Domingue's right shoulder and bounced into the net. Assists to Bryan Rust and Ian Cole at 18:31.
|Arizona Coyotes||Pittsburgh Penguins|
|First Period Shots||12||10|
|Second Period Shots||8||12|
|Third Period Shots||10||11|
- For the Pittsburgh perspective, check out PensBurgh.
- Jarred Tinordi and Nicklas Grossmann were both healthy scratches again for the Coyotes, sitting along side he recently acquired Alex Tanguay who was unable to make it to Pittsburgh from Colorado in time for the Coyotes' game.
- Sergei Plotnikov suited up to play for the Coyotes against the Penguins on the same day that Pittsburgh traded him to Arizona.
- Likewise, Jiri Seka, suited up to play his first game in the sedona-red since being claimed off waivers from the Chicago Blackhawks.
- Craig Cunningham played his first game for the Coyotes in 2016, getting the call up from the AHL as Tyler Gaudet was sent back down to the Springfield Falcons.
- Max Domi, Craig Cunningham, Kyle Chipchura, Sergei Plotnikov and Zbynek Michalek were the only Coyotes not to finish with a negative +/- against the Penguins tonight.
- The Penguins' first line of Crosby, Kunitz and Hornqvist combined for 9 points against the Coyotes and finished with a combined +/- of +12 for the night.
Arizona have now finished the disastrous Eastern road-trip that may force the Coyotes to settle for higher draft picks again this season, instead of a run at the playoffs.
Things aren't going to get any easier at home for the Coyotes, as upon returning to the ice in Arizona they will meet the red-hot Anaheim Ducks. Puck drop is at 7:00pm Thursday night at Gila River Arena and can also be viewed on Fox Sports Arizona.