The Arizona Coyotes have suffered three losses in a row, their longest losing stretch of the season so far, and all of the games saw the team relinquish a lead.
Rick Tocchet’s team has looked good so far in 2019/20 and sits close to the playoff spots despite having played fewer games than teams such as the Calgary Flames, Edmonton Oilers, and Vegas Golden Knights.
But picking up just one point in their last three games, against the Flames, Columbus Blue Jackets, and Minnesota Wild, is a situation that should have been avoidable.
In each of the three games, the Coyotes led at one stage or another but were unable to maintain this and ultimately fell to their opponents.
The team’s banged-up defense had its work cut out for it with absences from Niklas Hjalmarsson, Jason Demers, and Jordan Oesterle.
While holding a one-goal league is a challenge, as seen against the Blue Jackets, it is the two-goal leads that the team failed to hold on to against the Flames and Wild that have been the biggest disappointments.
A two-goal cushion is a strong position to be in, with the Coyotes riding some strong goaltending performances from Darcy Kuemper and Antti Raanta along with a fairly steady improvement offensively.
Ultimately, however, the Coyotes weren’t able to maintain their impressive early starts and allowed two Western Conference teams to pick up maximum points against them.
The loss to the Wild hurts more, with the Coyotes being defeated in regulation and seeing a team with a losing record (6-10-1 after the game) slow down the momentum they appeared to be building.
The Coyotes have two extremely challenging matchups against the Washington Capitals and St. Louis Blues before they have a chance at making up for lost points when they take on the Wild and Flames in back-to-back games this week.
Tocchet will need to ensure his team works on their defensive responsibilities when they hold a lead, otherwise, these games could be viewed as the moments that derailed what should be a playoff-earning campaign.