GLENDALE, Ariz. — Dave Tippett was indiscriminate when critiquing his team’s 7-5 loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets on Thursday at Gila River Arena.
“We’re a poor, poor team with the puck, we don’t defend very well and we got poor goaltending,” the Coyotes coach said. “That leads to five, six, seven goals a night against. You’re never going to win in this league playing like that.”
Game 1 of the Anders Lindback era lasted 26 minutes and 29 seconds before he was pulled in favor of backup goalie Louis Domingue. Lindback allowed four goals on 10 shots, he didn’t save the Coyotes on many occasions, and the final goal he allowed was a soft one, but the play in front of him was almost shocking considering the Coyotes had four days off in between games and three straight days of focused practice time to eliminate the persistent problems in their game.
“One thing we’ve been talking about is being ready at the start and we weren’t today,” Lindback said. “It’s hard to play every game when you’re down.”
Columbus’s first two goals came on glaring mistakes. Brandon Saad found himself all alone with a loose puck in the middle of the ice when Coyotes defenseman Michael Stone came across to pick him up Alex Wennberg, leaving the slot wide open. Saad beat Lindback high to the stick side just 58 seconds into the game for his 11th goal of the season.
Blue Jackets left winger Matt Calvert widened the lead to 2-0 on Columbus’s second shot of the game when defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson overskated Lindback’s pass up the boards. Cam Atkinson intercepted the pass and fed Calvert for a point blank shot from the slot with both Coyotes defenseman deep and no forward tracking Calvert.
The Coyotes managed to push back and even take a 3-2 lead on Tobias Rieder’s seventh goal of the season midway through the second period, but the mistakes kept coming and Columbus grabbed the lead for good at 5-4, late in the second period, when captain Shane Doan failed to get a puck in deep at the end of a shift. Saad stole it from him and hit Nick Foligno on a stretch pass for a breakaway goal.
“We can’t have plays like that,” Tippett said. “We’re not good enough to make plays like that. He should be smart enough to know that.
“This isn’t about kids or growth or anything, this is about a team going out and being ready to play the way they should and we weren’t ready.”
The Blue Jackets (12-19-3) have scored 12 goals in two meetings with Arizona this season, or 14.5 percent of their goals in 35 games. The Coyotes’ five goals were a season-high, but given the mistakes that were coming at the back end, Tippett said there was no way they were going to sustain success on Thursday.
“We should have got more pucks to the net. Their goaltender was struggling just as much as ours,” Tippett said. “It’s just disgusting.”