“It’s just pissin’ points away.”— Craig Morgan (@craigsmorgan) November 8, 2019
— Coyotes coach Rick Tocchet on back-to-back losses in which Arizona had leads.
“It wasn’t what Columbus was doing. We were shooting ourselves in the foot.”
Things didn’t start well for the Arizona Coyotes in their last game. The Columbus Blue Jackets, who lost their last five games, scored 14 seconds into the first period off a faceoff. The Coyotes have had a few issues starting periods slow, but this one seemed especially ominous.
Perhaps the biggest disappointment of the game was that the Coyotes looked good through stretches. Carl Soderberg was able to tie the game with his fifth goal of the season halfway through the first, a period in which the Coyotes outshot the Blue Jackets 16-9. And while the Coyotes were outshot 14-7 in the second they were able to get the lead with Jakob Chychrun’s third goal of the season.
Unfortunately, things would go downhill from there. Alex Goligoski would get called for tripping at 17:04 into the second period, and the Blue Jackets would tie the game with a late power play goal. The team started the third period rather slowly, and at 10:12 into the game Oliver Bjorkstrand would get the game-winning goal. That wasn’t the end of the game, but the way the Coyotes had been playing, it might as well have been.
The Coyotes have a big problem with their special teams as of late. Arizona has gone three games without a power play goal, and the penalty kill has allowed their opponents to score three times in the past two games. Special teams can make or break a team, a lesson the Coyotes hopefully learned in their past two games.
Like the Coyotes last opponents, the Minnesota Wild are bad this season. They are currently at the bottom of the Central Division and tied with the Los Angeles Kings at the bottom of the Western Conference.
The Wild have been letting in a lot of goals this season. They are currently 28th in goals against, having allowed 57 goals in 16 games. Devan Dubnyk, who had been solid since the Coyotes traded him to the Wild during the 2014-15 season, currently has a .883 save percentage and a 3.64 goals-against average. Backup Alex Stalock has been better, but not much, with a .903 save percentage and 2.85 goals-against average.
That’s not to say that the Coyotes should take the Wild lightly. While they were beaten by the San Jose Sharks in their last game, they beat the Anaheim Ducks 4-2 in the previous game and took the Stanley Cup Champion St. Louis Blues to overtime. And while they allow a lot of goals, they have also shut out Edmonton Oilers and Ottawa Senators.
Players to Watch
Arizona: Jakob Chychrun - With the Coyotes blue lining dealing with both major and minor injuries, everyone else is going to need to step up. Chychrun has definitely stepped up, and in his last game against the Blue Jackets, he scored a goal and played a season-high 24:39.
Minnesota: Eric Staal - Despite being 35, Staal isn’t slowing down. In 16 games this season he has 6 goals and 8 assists and he is currently riding a six-game point streak.
Arizona: Jason Demers (questionable, lower body), Niklas Hjalmarsson (leg)
Minnesota: Marcus Foligno (doubtful, lower body), Greg Pateryn (lower body)
Tonight’s game will be at Gila River Arena and will air on Fox Sports Arizona and Fox Sports 910 AM.