The Arizona Coyotes have lost their last five games.
Three of those losses came against the Minnesota Wild, a team they were supposed to be competing with for a playoff spot. One came against the Colorado Avalanche, an extremely good team that tends to win a lot. Their last loss came against the Anaheim Ducks, currently ranked last in the West Division.
Arizona tends to play down to its opponents. If the team they are playing against is better than them, they tend to go all out and play their best hockey. But with that, they also play down to weaker opponents.
It is tough to say that the Coyotes played down to the Ducks on Thursday. They started strong, getting two early goals with goals from Conor Garland and Clayton Keller. Both players got their ninth of the season, and the team desperately needs them to get rolling in the worst way.
After dropping their last four games, an early lead was a breath of fresh air. Arizona was shut out twice against the Wild, and they haven’t had a multigoal game since March 8th.
An early lead changes the way teams play as it will generally lead to them playing more defensively. Considering the Coyotes’ scoring woes, I have to imagine they were nervous about maintaining a lead after dropping their past four.
But the inability to build off that lead killed them. The Ducks had taken control of the shooting and got tied things up in the second. Jamie Drysdale and Trevor Zegras each scored the first goal of their NHL careers, and suddenly, it was a different game.
Arizona had plenty of chances to rebound after that. They had two power plays in the third period, providing a perfect opportunity to retake the lead. But as we have seen a lot lately, the Coyotes’ power play struggled, not only failing to score but also giving the Ducks momentum after a successful kill.
Arizona’s struggles with the man advantage should be very familiar for fans. Their last power play goal was on March 8th, even with several opportunities per game. Arizona’s power play struggles are a big reason why the team is struggling right now and could prove to be a nail in the coffin for the team’s season.
And with 26 seconds left in regulation, the Coyotes took a call. It was immediately after their power play expired. Arizona managed to force the game into overtime, but Adam Henrique scored less than a minute into overtime, giving the Ducks the win.
Players to Watch
Arizona: Conor Garland - Garland had a goal and an assist in the last game and leads the team with 24 points. He is one of four players with nine goals on the season.
Anaheim: Adam Henrique - The Ducks have a lot of good, young talent, but you can't count out the veterans like Henrique. He had the game-winner on Thursday and has four points in his last two games.
Arizona: Antti Raanta (questionable, lower body), Darcy Kuemper (lower body)
Anaheim: John Gibson (lower body), Josh Manson (lower body), Sonny Milano (undisclosed), Hampus Lindholm (wrist), Carter Rowney (leg)
Tonight's game is at 5:00 pm Arizona time and will air on Fox Sports Arizona and Fox Sports 910 AM.