Déjà vu struck yet again for the Coyotes in their 4-2 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks. They let an early lead slip away, found themselves trailing midway through the game, battled back to tie the game and let at least a point slip away in the third period by allowing a late goal. The script has been all too similar these past few games and this one was no different. Sure, Chicago is a good team and you can look at how the Coyotes played them and say it’s positive thing, but this is now eight games with no wins and only one point to show for it. Eventually there has to be results and “almost” isn’t good enough anymore.
One could say that “almost” was the theme of this game because Arizona had plenty of chances to take control of this game & “almost” did. The biggest example coming in the first period when they were given an extended five-on-three for over three minutes and managed a grand total of one shot on goal during the entire sequence. From that moment on, it was clear the Coyotes were doing whatever they could to keep up with the Hawks and they just couldn’t match it. The complexion of the game could have been different if they converted then, but good teams aren’t stuck playing the “what if” game all the time.
1-0 Coyotes (Fischer): The Blackhawks were a bit disorganized on their forecheck & Oliver Ekman-Larsson hit Christian Fischer with a stretch pass to start an odd-man rush. Chicago defenseman Jordan Oesterle did a nice job of angling Fischer to the perimeter, but the Arizona forward was able to bank the puck off Oesterle’s stick and through the pads of Corey Crawford.
1-1 (Panik): Chicago cycled the puck around for about 15 seconds after winning a draw on the power play and Seabrook was able to draw a couple penalty killers up in the zone. This allowed him to quickly get the puck to an open Jonathan Toews in the left faceoff circle. His shot was deflected in by Richard Panik, who was parked all alone in front of the crease.
2-1 Blackhawks (Kane): Jonathan Toews spoiled what looked like a good shift for a Coyotes after blocking Jason Demers’ shot and hitting Patrick Kane, who was flying out of the zone the second Demers let the shot go. Kane went through both Coyotes players who were covering the points and scored on the breakaway.
2-2 (Keller): Keller went straight to the net after a face-off win by Derek Stepan and scored on a rebound off Max Domi’s blocked shot. Favorable matchup for the Coyotes as they were able to get their first line out against the Hawks third defense pair and Keller got to the puck before Gustav Forsling could react to Domi’s shot.
3-2 Blackhawks (Bouma): Long shift for the Coyotes top line & second defense pair as they found themselves pinned in against the Blackhawks fourth line. Hawks were able to work a cycle and got the puck back to the point where Duncan Keith fired a one timer that was tipped on goal by Tommy Wingels. There were two Hawks around the net and Lance Bouma was able to fend off Alex Goligoski for the puck & scored on the rebound.
4-2 Blackhawks (Wingels): Wingels blew by Kevin Connaution in the neutral zone while the Coyotes were playing with an extra attacker and scored on the empty net to salt this one away for the Blackhawks.
Can the defense get it together?
Statistically, they didn’t do this. Arizona had to play the counter-attack game and try to match the Hawks speed for most of the game and they allowed 26 scoring chances on the night.
Domingue had to bail them out more than a few times, but they didn’t offer much resistance for any of Chicago’s lines, as even their depth was creating a lot of action in the Arizona zone. Most importantly, the defense could not hold the Hawks under wraps in the final stages of the game when it mattered most and it cost them yet another point in the standings.
Can the Coyotes get secondary scoring?
While the top line of Domi, Stepan & Keller was responsible for 12 of the Coyotes chances, they did get a goal from their third line early in the game. It was nice, but it was just one goal and they’re obviously going to need more than that going forward. The top-line is still doing the bulk of the work.
Will we be annoyed to death with the Keller comparisons to Kane?
I watched this with the sound off for the most part, so I’ll have to defer to you folks here.
Players of the Game
Arizona – Oliver Ekman-Larsson: Hard to pick a standout in a game like this, as most of the Coyotes best players were also responsible for critical errors. Ekman-Larsson gets the shoutout here. He made a great pass on the opening goal and showed signs of looking like his normal self.
Chicago – Duncan Keith: Chicago’s five-man unit of the Toews line & Keith-Seabrook ran amok on the Coyotes in this game. They completely tilted the ice at 5v5 and Keith had the initial shot that led to the Hawks game-winning goal. The Coyotes did not have an answer for any of these five and it showed in a big way.
Media Three Stars
3. Patrick Kane
2. Clayton Keller
1. Lance Bouma
- For the Blackhawks perspective of this game, check out Second City Hockey
- The power play really let this team down early. There wasn’t much organization and they had a devil of a time finding the net at all. The extended five-on-three sequence was also cut short when Domi took a bad offensive zone penalty, which threw a wrench into things.
- Tommy Wingels was awarded a penalty shot late in the second period after being taken down in front of the net. He appeared to score to give the Hawks a 3-1 at the time but the goal was reviewed & waved off after it was determined that Domingue made contact with the puck before Wingels shot it. This wasn’t exactly a clear-as-day call, but the Evanston, Illinois native got his revenge later in the game with an empty net goal.
- Arizona handled themselves okay on the rush this game, aside from Kane’s goal, but they didn’t have much of an answer for the Hawks cycle game. Chicago had prolonged stretches of a game where they played keep-away in the Arizona zone, settling for point shots when they need to but it eventually led to better chances after wearing the Coyotes defense down.
- We saw a little more organization out of the Coyotes breakouts, as they were skating the puck out more and having the forwards help with getting the puck out of the zone more than they were in the first few games. There were glimpses of Tocchet’s original plan of having the defense move the puck out quickly on Fischer’s goal, but it looks like they’ve adjusted a little. Now they just need to work on playing without the puck….
- Arizona made an interesting call when playing with an empty net, sending out Cousins, Fischer & Rinaldo with Connauton as an extra attacker, the latter of whom was playing very high in the zone I might add. Whatever the plan was, it backfired in a bad way.
- Attendance: 13,777
The Coyotes will head out east in search of that elusive first win, beginning their sojourn n Tuesday to take on the New York Islanders at the Barclays Center. That game will be 5:00 PM Mountain Time and can be viewed on Fox Sports Arizona.