If it weren’t for late comebacks by the Edmonton Oilers and Calgary Flames over the weekend, the Phoenix Coyotes would be on a five-game winning streak, with three of the victories coming on the road.
After being up 2-0 in the second period, the Coyotes allowed the Oilers to score two unanswered goals before going to overtime and losing in a shootout.
The following night, Phoenix was up 4-3 with two minutes left and the Flames would score twice within 30 seconds.
Coach Dave Tippett told Arizona Sports 620’s Burns and Gambo that the league’s new rules have been a factor in the Coyotes late-game mishaps.
“That’s a little bit of a byproduct of the league right now,” Tippett said. “Since the lockout, it’s a lot harder to hold leads. You’re going to have a little sway back and forth.”
In other words, Tippett is saying the game has changed.
“In the old days, you used to get a guy in front of the net and you used to just hang on to his stick and he couldn’t get away, or you could bear hug him in the corner — a small player was very ineffective in the game,” Tippett said. “Now you can’t hook, you can’t hold, you can’t hold up people on the forecheck. All those things are creating more chances in the game. It’s going to lead to more goals against.”
Tippett still believes in his guys and the way they finish games, and Tuesday night’s win over the Vancouver Canucks was a perfect example of why. The Coyotes held a 2-1 lead before scoring again to make it 3-1 with seven minutes remaining. But a minute later the Canucks got one back, and it was 3-2 until Kyle Chipchura put one in an empty net with less than 30 seconds to go.
“It was a good bounce back game for us,” Tippett said. “The two games earlier on the road trip we played good in stretches, but couldn’t hold leads in both those games.
“We have a real good mindset in close games, one-goal games.”