GLENDALE, Ariz. — Reactions to the Coyotes’ 5-4 overtime loss to the Chicago Blackhawks on Thursday were all over the map.
Forward Mikkel Boedker saw the upside of the Coyotes earning a point, goaltender Louis Domingue wasn’t happy with a third straight game allowing five goals and coach Dave Tippett called the game “entertaining” with more than a hint of sarcasm in his voice.
Leave it to captain Shane Doan to whittle the game to its essence after Jonathan Toews scored with 28.5 seconds remaining in overtime for the Western Conference’s top team.
“It was big getting the one point but we’ve got to find ways to get that second one,” Doan said. “Right now, everything is so tight. Two points are important.”
February may be too early to start standings watching, but for a team that set a modest preseason goal of competing for a playoff spot, allowing too much daylight to open between itself and its chief competitors is a perilous venture.
In case you haven’t noticed, the Anaheim Ducks have awoken and the San Jose Sharks are circling. Anaheim defeated the Los Angeles Kings on Thursday for its fifth straight win and eighth in its last 10 games.
San Jose beat St. Louis to improve to 7-1-2 in its last 10 games.
That collective charge has left the Coyotes in fourth place in the Pacific Division with nine weeks remaining in the season. Arizona is one point behind the Ducks for the final playoff spot and Anaheim has two games in hand. The teams will meet Friday at Honda Center with the Ducks looking for payback after the Coyotes won the first three games of the season series.
Arizona has lost seven of its last nine games (2-5-2).
“We gave up too many chances,” Tippett said of Thursday’s loss. “Some of that is mistakes we made. Some of it is just the pure skill that they have.
“There were some things we did well and some things we didn’t do well that they exploited.”
The Coyotes caught an early break when Marian Hossa’s goal was disallowed due to goaltender interference. Chicago coach Joel Quenneville lost his mind over the call and drew a bench minor for unsportsmanlike conduct.
On the ensuing power play, center Martin Hanzal gathered a loose puck in the corner of the Chicago zone and fed defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson as he crashed the net. Ekman-Larsson beat Crawford high to the glove side for his 15th goal of the season and a 1-0 lead at 17:12 of the first period.
The Coyotes never could build on that momentum in a seesaw game. Much of their failure to do so was due to their own mistakes.
Hossa got his disallowed goal back 2:53 into the second period when he won a foot race with Coyotes center Boyd Gordon from the corner to the net. Hossa pulled Domingue off the post as he cut across the slot and slipped it in the open side to tie the game at 1-1.
The Blackhawks took a 2-1 lead 1:07 later on Toews’ third short-handed goal of the season — a goal that was the product of some brutal defensive coverage.
Hossa carried the puck up the right wing with Hanzal draped all over him. Despite the coverage, Boedker cheated toward Hossa, allowing him to pass across to an unmarked Toews, who deked Domingue to the ice and backhanded the puck into the net.
Coyotes right winger Anthony Duclair was ahead of Toews on the play but never picked up Toews — or anyone for that matter.
“Duclair is right with Toews and he just goes for a skate,” Tippett said. “That’s just a young mistake. Boeds should have switched over but he thinks Duclair is taking Toews.”
The Coyotes managed to tie the game on Boedker’s 13th goal of the season. After former Coyote Michal Rozsival’s first goal of the season gave Chicago a 4-3 lead at 7:18 of the third period, Doan tied the game at 4-4 on a wraparound at 11:30 for his team-leading 18th goal of the season.
That’s when Toews took over, scoring his fifth overtime game-winner of the season from between the circles to hand Domingue his third straight loss.
“With the score being what it was I thought I gave the team a chance to get a point tonight,” Domingue said. “Every time you play Chicago something like that can happen so you have to stay focused and move forward.”