Up two, down two.
That describes the Arizona Coyotes in the month of February so far.
Following a shootout loss two evenings prior, the Coyotes hosted the Detroit Red Wings on Saturday night and had trouble generating much offense.
Arizona’s defense and goaltending was solid through two periods, but the Eastern Conference-co-leading Red Wings eventually wore the home team down.
The game was scoreless until a little before the halfway mark of the second period, when Detroit center Riley Sheahan converted on a power play, and then the two clubs combined for three goals in the final three minutes of the game.
Unfortunately for Arizona, two of those goals went Detroit’s way, and the visitors emerged with a 3-1 victory, their third in a row.
Arizona has lost two straight at home after opening the month with a pair of road victories. The team fell to 19-27-7, including 9-13-4 at home, with the loss. The group has scored just one goal in each of the last two defeats.
Here’s a look at Saturday’s game in Glendale, by the numbers:
The Coyotes have been one of the league’s strongest teams at penalty killing since mid-January, but the group did allow Detroit (31-12-9) to score once in six opportunities with a man advantage. By contrast, Arizona had no success on the power play Saturday, failing to capitalize on any of its five opportunities.
The final three goals of the game all happened within a 1 minute, 44-second span, the last of which was an empty netter by Red Wings center Darren Helm. Tomas Tatar kicked off the outburst with his 23rd goal of the year, while Oliver Ekman-Larsson followed with the Coyotes’ lone tally of the night. Arizona went scoreless for the first 58 minutes and six seconds of the contest.
The Coyotes have lost six of their last seven contests at Gila River Arena, including a whopping five in a row. The last time they won at home was Jan. 8 against Winnipeg.
Defenseman Keith Yandle kept his team-high points streak going despite the loss. Yandle picked up an assist on the Coyotes’ third-period goal for his sixth straight game with a point; he has a total of eight assists over that span. The 28-year-old defenseman leads the team with 34 assists and 38 points. Right wing David Moss was also credited with an assist on the third-period goal, his second straight game with a point.
Ekman-Larsson extended his team-leading goal total to 16, which is a new personal best for the 23-year defenseman.
By several metrics, the Coyotes were stronger than their opponent all evening. Arizona had more hits (35-23), won more faceoffs (35-22) and took the puck away more (17-9) — although the team did gave it away eight times, while Detroit only had six giveaways.
Mike Smith had a solid game, but the Coyotes offense didn’t provide him with enough to earn a win. The 32-year-old netminder stopped all but two of the Red Wings’ 25 shots against him Saturday, good for a save percentage of .920. Detroit’s final goal was on an empty net. Smith’s record, unfortunately, fell to 9-22-5 on the season. He has allowed only four goals in his last three appearances.