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Arizona Coyotes start strong but finish poorly in 6-3 loss to Winnipeg Jets

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The first period looked pretty good. The second and third? Not so much.

NHL: Arizona Coyotes at Winnipeg Jets Bruce Fedyck-USA TODAY Sports

The first period of the Arizona Coyotes’ game against the Winnipeg Jets looked pretty promising. Arizona got a pair of goals, outshot the Jets, and went into the intermission with the lead.

But from the drop of the puck in the second period on, it was all Winnipeg, as the Jets avenged a 4-3 loss against the Coyotes last week with a 6-3 victory of their own at the MTS Centre on Wednesday night.

Scoring Summary

First Period

1-0 Arizona - Josh Jooris got the Coyotes off on the right foot early. His seemingly innocuous wrist shot may have changed direction slightly off of Jacob Trouba’s stick, but whatever the case, Ondrej Pavelec couldn’t stop it from going in low glove side. Assist to Lawson Crouse on the goal at 2:49.

1-1 Tie - Winnipeg got the opening goal right back less than a minute later, as Josh Morrissey uncorked a slapshot from the near-side point that got past Mike Smith, who was screened by both Bryan Little and Christian Dvorak. The official scorer determined that the puck deflected off of Bryan Little’s leg, so he received credit for the goal. Assists to Morrissey and Dustin Byfuglien on the goal at 3:36.

2-1 Arizona - The Coyotes made the most of an early five-on-three chance based on a designed play. Shane Doan won the near-side faceoff and fed Oliver Ekman-Larsson, who was wide open at the point. He uncorked a wrist shot from the high slot that beat Ondrej Pavelec blocker side. Assist to Doan on the five-on-three goal at 8:50.

Second Period

2-2 Tie - It had to be him. A defensive miscue in front of Mike Smith cost the Coyotes, as Blake Wheeler managed to out-muscle Oliver Ekman-Larsson to the front of the net and tap home a centering pass from Mathieu Perreault. Assists to Perreault and Bryan Little on the goal at 3:03.

3-2 Winnipeg - Less than two minutes after Winnipeg tied the game, the Jets took the lead for good on another defensive miscue. Neither Luke Schenn or Oliver Ekman-Larsson were able to mark Andrew Copp in front of the net, which gave Copp enough time to wait for Mike Smith to lay out before he moved over to the far-side to tuck the puck in behind the sprawling goaltender. Assists to Chris Thorburn and Nic Petan on the goal at 4:42.

4-2 Winnipeg - Winnipeg extended their lead immediately after a successful Coyotes’ penalty kill as Joel Armia slipped in behind Oliver Ekman-Larsson. That extra step was just enough for Armia to get his stick in the right place to redirect Shawn Matthias’ pass home. Assists to Matthias and Dustin Byfuglien on the goal at 12:49.

Third Period

5-2 Winnipeg - Jacob Trouba made the rout official in the third period. Jordan Martinook whiffed on a backhanded clearing attempt at the top of the defensive zone, which Drew Stafford turned into a scoring chance. Mike Smith made the initial save, but Trouba was able to streak through the middle unmarked and put home the rebound. Assists to Stafford and Mark Scheifele on the goal at 7:42.

6-2 Winnipeg - Nikolaj Ehlers earned Mike Smith the mercy pull with a wicked wrist shot after the Coyotes failed to clear the puck after an earlier scoring chance by Ehlers. The Coyotes had no answer for Winnipeg’s speedy forwards all night long. Assist to Paul Postma on the goal at 8:59.

6-3 Winnipeg - Jakob Chychrun provided the Coyotes with a late boost with his second professional NHL goal. Chychrun brought the puck down along the far-side boards to the top of the faceoff circle, and then eluded Dustin Byfuglien to get inside position near the dot. His backhander squeaked through Pavelec and trickled over the goal line for a late moral victory for the young defenseman. Assists to Alexander Burmistrov and Radim Vrbata on the goal at 14:42.

Three Answers

  1. Will Pavelec get the start for the Jets and will Winnipeg’s goaltender of choice have a steady night? - It was Pavelec after all, and his numbers weren’t stellar. But they were enough to get the job done, and his second period save on Christian Dvorak and Brendan Perlini was a dandy.
  2. Will Arizona’s offense spark again? - Arizona got two even-strength goals and a power play goal tonight. But it was the defense that let them down.
  3. How will Alex Burmistrov’s night play out? - Burmistrov had an assist on the Chychrun goal and was a +1 in shot attempt differential; he also made a great diving effort in the second period to prevent a Winnipeg scoring chance.

Players of the Game

Arizona - Jakob Chychrun - There were not a ton of bright spots on the ice for the Coyotes tonight, but Chychrun’s second NHL goal was definitely one of them. He did an excellent job creating space for himself, and his efforts were rewarded.

Winnipeg - Bryan Little - Little had a goal and an assist on two shots in 18:30 worth of work for the Jets tonight.

Paw Prints

  • For more on the Winnipeg Jets, check out Arctic Ice Hockey
  • Martin Hanzal was a scratch after returning to Arizona to deal with a personal matter. It is uncertain if he will return for tomorrow night’s contest.
  • Ondrej Pavelec started for the Jets for the first time this season after spending most of the year in the American Hockey League. He looked shaky early in the first, but finished the game with 30 saves on 33 shots.
  • Arizona continued its perfect penalty kill streak by going three-for-three tonight.
  • Chris Thorburn recorded his first assist of the season on the Andrew Copp goal. He had three goals prior to tonight.
  • Arizona has scored 11 goals in 2017. Seven have been against the Winnipeg Jets.
  • Luke Schenn and Oliver Ekman-Larsson were a combined -25 in 5v5 shot attempts on the night.

Looking Ahead

Arizona is at it again immediately tomorrow, as they head to the Twin Cities to play the Minnesota Wild. Puck drop is at 6 PM Arizona time.