Raanta misses start after auto accident, Coyotes fall to Stars
GLENDALE, Ariz. — The supermoon set long before the Coyotes and Stars faced off at Gila River Arena on Thursday. Its effects lingered, creating bizarre theater in a 4-1 Dallas win.
Devin Shore and Tyler Seguin scored goals 2:21 apart in the second period and Mattias Janmark scored from an impossible angle to extend the Coyotes’ losing streak to two games and end Dallas’ losing streak at the same number. The Stars have defeated the Coyotes seven straight times, including all three meetings this season.
The strange night began when Scott Wedgewood replaced Antti Raanta in the Coyotes goal before the game ever started. Raanta was involved in a car accident in which he was rear-ended on the Loop 101 on his way to the game. Coach Rick Tocchet got a phone call at around 4:30 p.m.
“It was a pretty good hit,” Tocchet said. “He was kind of shaken up so we obviously kept him out tonight. He could have been available. He was just in the dressing room… in case it was an emergency, but I don’t know if we would have put him in.”
The Coyotes dominated offensive-zone time in the first period and had 23 shot attempts to Dallas’s eight, but they only managed to get six through to goalie Kari Lehtonen.
Kevin Connauton gave the Coyotes a 1-0 lead at 4:06 of the first period when his shot from the top of the right face-off circle beat Lehtonen high to the glove side through a Christian Fischer screen. It was Connauton’s first goal since Oct. 10 at Vegas, a stretch of 40 games.
The Stars flipped the play in the second period, beginning with one of the more unusual goals you’ll ever see. Stars forward Jason Spezza and Coyotes defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson slapped sticks behind the net, forcing the puck over the top of the net where Devin Shore batted it out of the air on his backhand to tie the game at 3:00 of the second period
Tyler Seguin scored his team-leading 24th goal of the season from the slot at 5:21 to give Dallas a 2-1 lead.
Jamie Benn thought he had given the Stars a 3-1 lead at 10:30 of the second period, but Tocchet challenged the goal for offside and the goal was overturned because Benn was ruled offside.
Janmark picked Benn up when he scored from the goal line to the left of Wedgewood to give Dallas a 3-1 lead at 13:24. The puck banked off Wedgewood’s pad and into the net behind him. Wedgewood hadn’t played since Jan. 13 at San Jose.
“I don’t really know what the difference was other than I don’t think we worked really well as five-man units,” center Derek Stepan said. “You give that team the puck and they’re going to score a lot of goals.”
Esa Lindell scored into an empty net with 1:36 left to make it 4-1.
The Coyotes didn’t help their cause by going 0-for-6 on the power play.
“We practiced three days of power play and I thought we had good power play practices,” Tocchet said. “Obviously, tonight some guys didn’t look good out there tonight.”