Playing the best team in the Eastern Conference is one thing.
Playing them at TD Garden is wholly another.
And playing the Boston Bruins in Boston while they’re in the midst of a six-game winning streak — well, that’s an other-worldly challenge.
That was the irrevocable lot drawn by the Phoenix Coyotes on Thursday as they took the Bruins’ ice and it wasn’t enviable.
Despite outshooting their opponent 22-20 — and 14-8 over the final two periods — the Coyotes failed to capitalize on scoring opportunities and had no luck in digging out of the 2-0 hole they find themselves in at the first intermission.
The lone goal for Phoenix was had by left wing Lauri Korpikoski, coming via Shane Doan and Oliver Ekman-Larsson. Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask was otherwise flawless, preserving the early lead given him by teammates Zdeno Chara and Jarome Iginla over the Coyotes’ onslaught of shots and man advantages.
Here’s a closer look at the loss, by the numbers:
The Coyotes failed to capitalize on any of the five power play opportunities bestowed on them — all scattered throughout the game — bowing to the Bruins’ 11th-ranked penalty kill. The struggles weren’t fully precedented for Phoenix, who boast the seventh most efficient power play in hockey.
A slashing penalty taking by defenseman Michael Stone in the second period accounted for the only two penalty minutes given the Coyotes in the contest.
The Bruins extended their winning streak to seven with their effort Thursday. They are now 44-17-5 with 93 points on the season.
Keith Yandle skated for 8 minutes and 39 seconds of the Coyotes’ 10 total power play minutes — getting 27:21 of ice time in total — but failed to do much in his hometown, logging just two shots on goal, a block shot and a hit to work against a giveaway early in the game.
Center Mike Ribeiro struggled in the faceoff circle, winning just 3 of his 13 faceoffs, good for 23.1 percent. The Coyotes in general struggled in that department losing 17-24 in faceoffs on the night.
The Coyotes’ 73 points on the season currently have them a point off pace for the Western Conference’s second wild card with 15 games to go.