Don’t look now, but the Arizona Coyotes have dropped their last three games. And not only that, they have lost their previous two 8-1.
The game started with the Minnesota Wild applying pressure. Arizona actually got a lucky break when Kirill Kaprizov was called for hi-sticking, just over a minute into the game. It gave them a chance to reset and take control.
Arizona’s resulting power play was not good, and like we have seen so many times, resulting in them not getting a shot on goal.
In fact, they wouldn’t record that shot until 5 minutes and 44 seconds into the game. Minnesota had only had one shot then too. If you were being charitable, you could say that the Coyotes were keeping pace, except, of course, for that power play.
For a brief moment, it looked like they were starting to get their footing. Drake Caggiula fired a shot that hit both posts, and soon after, Nick Schmaltz had a good chance on a partial breakaway.
And when the Wild were in the Coyotes’ zone, Arizona was doing a decent job keeping shots to the outside.
Arizona would get rewarded. Lawson Crouse forced a turnover in the Minnesota zone, and the puck got back to a streaking Phil Kessel. Kessel put it five-hole past Cam Talbot, and the Coyotes were on the board.
Phil Kessel: American icon. pic.twitter.com/j65mgYl6M1— Arizona Coyotes (@ArizonaCoyotes) March 14, 2021
It wasn’t a great goal, but it did the job. We are so used to seeing other teams score those dirty goals, and it was nice to see the Coyotes finally get one.
Arizona took a penalty early in the second. Tyler Pitlick was in the box for tripping Victor Rask, and the Coyotes’ penalty kill did a good job.
The problem came when the Coyotes went on the power play. There were far too many tiny mistakes, they had issues entering the zone, and they were having trouble completing passes.
And Minnesota built off that successful kill, and less than a minute later, the Wild tied the game. Minnesota was working the puck down low, and Matts Zuccarello back-handed the puck on net. Antti Raanta got a little of it, but the puck landed behind him, where Victor Rask knocked it into a wide-open net.
All credit to them, the Coyotes started the third period with some life. They even drew an early penalty, with Nick Bonino getting called for hooking.
The resulting power play was not great, neither was the direct aftermath. Kevin Fiala found an open Nick Bonino, who was seconds out of the box, and he was able to skate in and score.
Special teams would come back to haunt the Coyotes one final time. With Dryden Hunt in the box for hi-sticking, the worst power play in the league scored on them.
And the Coyotes were not going to recover from that. And Christian Dvorak said it best after the game, “[w]e’re definitely in a rut here offensively.”
Joel Eriksson Ek would get awarded the final goal of the game after getting tripped going in on the empty net. And with that, the Coyotes dropped their third straight.
The short leash line returns. pic.twitter.com/D3TJ9qxk2M— Arizona Coyotes (@ArizonaCoyotes) March 14, 2021
- The “Short Leash” Line was back, but they didn’t really do anything. Honestly, nobody really did anything.
- Arizona is going to need to figure out their power play woes because it is really starting to affect their 5-on-5 play now.
- Jakob Chychrun was called for a delay of game, puck over the glass violation. I don’t hate the puck over the glass rule as much as some, but that one was too much for me.
- That being said, the Coyotes took fewer penalties and looked much more disciplined. But they had other issues.
- Oliver Ekman-Larsson did not have a good game all around. He blew his coverages, and he got walked by Jordan Greenway.
- Cam Talbot - 21 saves on 22 shots
- Kevin Fiala - 1 goal, 1 assist
- Phil Kessel - 1 goal
Arizona plays the Wild again on Tuesday at 5:00 pm and then will thankfully be leaving Minnesota.