The Arizona Coyotes’ tour of the Sunshine State was far from leisurely. After a 7-3 drubbing by the Tampa Bay Lightning on Tuesday, the Coyotes were again denied a point Thursday, when goaltender Roberto Luongo and the Florida Panthers staved off more than 30 Arizona shots to win, 2-1.
Just five nights prior, of course, the Coyotes won a 2-1 game of their own against the Panthers in overtime, but that was on home ice, at Gila River Arena in Glendale. Sunrise, Fla. — while a different setting — provided a similar backdrop for the Coyotes’ offense, which has heaped nearly 75 shots on the Panthers’ net in the last week.
Oliver Ekman-Larsson, who scored the game-winner via an overtime power play on Saturday against Luongo and the Panthers, again helped his team past the Florida netminder, though notching just an assist Thursday. Ekman-Larsson’s first period power play wrist shot was astutely deflected by Martin Hanzal between the pipes for the Coyotes only goal.
That would be the end of the Coyotes’ impact on the scoreboard, however.
Brandon Pirri’s power play goal in the second period leveled matters and Scottie Upshall’s third period breakaway goal put the hosts on top for good.
Here’s a look at Thursday’s loss by the numbers:
Thursday was just the first time all season the Coyotes had scored first, but they failed to hold the lead, despite coming back in three of the seven games in which they’ve trailed first.
The Coyotes had four power plays in total on Thursday, scoring on just one such opportunity.
Struggling goaltender Mike Smith fell to 2-5 on the season with Thursday’s loss. Though stopping 24 of 26 shots against him, Smith allowed a total of eight goals in two contests in Florida.
The assist man, Ekman-Larsson, racked six shots on goal in Thursday’s match. The Coyotes star now has seven points on the season — good for second on the team to assistant captain Keith Yandle.
In addition to scoring his team’s only goal, Hanzal was 11-for-16 in the faceoff department Thursday.