On the back of their worst 6 game start in franchise history (0-5-1), the Arizona Coyotes desperately needed urgency, goal scoring and stability in net. They got a mixture of that, just not all at the same time and certainly not for 60 minutes.
And as a result, Arizona fell 4 goals to 5 against the Dallas Stars, dropping to a depressing 0-6-1 record to open the season. Tonight’s game appeared to follow the same pattern of events we’ve encountered a few times before this season: Arizona take an early lead and then begin to cruise, allowing their opposition to wrestle back control of the match. Their opposition then score and put themselves in a game winning position, which the Coyotes challenge courageously but are never able to retake the lead despite “working hard.”
It’s a heart-breaking trend for the fan, clinging onto hope from the sidelines as Arizona tease us with yet another late game charge. But it is unsustainable in every way really, even a poorly performing hockey team finds a way to steal a win here and there. There is only so much blind faith and positivity one can wear as their mask on a day-to-day basis before everything on the inside begins to turn numb while the Coyotes begin to turn into a tragedy.
1-0 Coyotes: Derek Stepan with his first of the season and his first in the Sedona Red. He redirected an Oliver Ekman-Larsson shot down low at 5:50 of the first. Secondary assist was awarded to Clayton Keller.
1-1 Tie: Dallas ties it up at 6:23 courtesy of an unassisted Jamie Benn goal scored on the power play. Jason Demers deserted Adin Hill in front of the net, leaving Jamie Benn wide open all alone to collect a spilled puck and dangle in an easy goal.
2-1 Stars: Less than a minute later Tyler Pitlick fluked in a goal, shooting the puck toward the net and forcing Hill to make a save. The puck unfortunately rebounded right on and off Luke Schenn’s stick in front of goal and went in for what was essentially an own-goal. Pitlick was awarded the goal as the last of the Stars to touch the puck, scoring unassisted at 7:04.
2-2 Tie: Stepan collected his second of the season and his second as a Coyote after Demers threw the puck toward the net through traffic. After Benjamin Bishop made the initial save, Max Domi forced the puck away from the pack that formed in front to Stepan who was able to score before Bishop could get across to make the save. Scored at 2:47 of the period.
3-2 Stars: With the Coyotes stuck in their own end for some time, Christian Dvorak coughs the puck up straight up the middle of Arizona’s defensive zone. Receiving the puck as if it was a pass intended for him, Stephen Johns accepts the gift and wastes no time capitalizing from just outside the face-off circle. Unassisted at 3:10.
3-3 Tie: Clayton Keller creates a breakaway opportunity for himself after blocking a shot at the Coyotes’ defensive blueline. He goes backhand then forehand and finishes through Bishop’s 5-hole. Unassisted at 6:41.
4-3 Stars: A Benn shot rattles off the cross bar and bounces into Hill before falling into the goal crease behind him. Hill, unaware of the puck’s location, starts to scramble in hope as Tyler Seguin’s hockey sense allows him to find the puck and push it in before Hill can figure out what’s going on. Scored at 8.20 with the secondary assist awarded to John Klingberg.
5-3 Stars: Alexander Radulov screens Hill, Benn passes the puck from below the goal line to Seguin sitting inside the near face-off circle. Seguin steps into a huge one-timer to put the game seemingly out of reach with less than 3 minutes on the clock. Scored at 17:03 with the secondary assist again awarded to Klingberg.
5-4: Stars: Another case of too little, too late for Arizona at the 19:38 mark of the final period. Dvorak records his second assist of the season with a beautiful pass to Keller charging hard to the net. Keller uses his magic to receive the pass smoothly before fooling Bishop on his forehand and then lifting the puck over him on his backhand. Secondary assist to Stepan.
How good can Adin Hill be - and can he start a goalie controversy?
Hill was decent enough again tonight. The stats look uglier than his play did. Two of the goals scored against Arizona were from ugly turnovers that gave Hill very little chance on the play and another was a freak own-goal. If the Coyotes weren’t the Coyotes, Dallas might have only managed to score twice tonight.
When will the ‘Yotes start scoring?
Arizona managed to score 4 goals tonight, which is brilliant. Stepan also found the net twice tonight and got on the board as a Coyote for the first and second time - also brilliant. But the problem remains, only Arizona’s top line players are producing. The Coyotes still desperately need secondary scoring.
Is desperate hockey good hockey?
Talking about desperation, the Coyotes just didn’t seem desperate enough at times. They’re still struggling to put together a 60 minute game of hockey and while at times they seemed desperate and hungry, other times they appeared lazy and uninterested.
Players of the Game
Arizona - Derek Stepan: His best game yet as a Coyote, clearly the hungriest man on the ice besides his line-mates Domi and Keller. Nearly had a hat-trick and still found a way to finish the night with three points.
Dallas - Jamie Benn: punished the Coyotes early on an awful Arizona penalty kill play and then set up Tyler Seguin nicely for two goals on the night.
3. Clayton Keller (2G, 1A)
2. Derek Stepan (2G, 1A)
1. Tyler Seguin (2G)
- For more on the Dallas Stars check out Defending Big D.
- Scratched tonight for the Coyotes were Brad Richardson, Adam Clendening and Antti Raanta.
- Zac Rinaldo led the team in hits with 4 and recorded 9:16 of ice time in his second outing for Arizona. Only one Coyote had less ice time than him, Lawson Crouse.
- Domi, Stepan and Keller each had 5 shots on goal while Anthony Duclair had 3. Outside of those four players, only Ekman-Larsson and Rinaldo recorded more than 1 shot.
- Attendance: 11,225
The Coyotes remain at home to face the Chicago Blackhawks on Saturday night before heading on a 5 game Eastern Conference road-trip. Puck drop against the Blackhawks is at 6:00 p.m. Mountain Time and can be viewed on Fox Sports Arizona Plus or tuned into on ESPN 620AM.