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Chayka: Coyotes hope for ugly goal to open the floodgates

Arizona Coyotes' Christian Fischer, left, tries to position himself while Minnesota Wild's goalie Devan Dubnyk defends as a shot sails over Dubnyk in the third period of an NHL hockey game Tuesday, Oct. 16, 2018, in St. Paul, Minn. The Wild won 2-1. (AP Photo/Jim Mone)

A power play goal on Tuesday helped the Arizona Coyotes avoid their fourth shutout loss in five games. But the same theme from each of those previous losses returned once again.

The Minnesota Wild pushed past Arizona, 2-1, in St. Paul, Minn., despite getting out-shot by the Coyotes 32-28.

Arizona is in the top-five in shots per game (35.6) as of Wednesday morning and ranks first at 24.2 shots against per game. Yet, it ranks dead last in goals per game.

“When you only score one goal or you get shut out, everything gets magnified,” general manager John Chayka told Doug & Wolf on 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station. “When we look at our group, we wanted to have great defense which so far we’ve had. We wanted to have elite goaltending, which we’ve gotten, and we wanted to score some timely goals.

“Obviously, two-for-three isn’t good enough.”

The Coyotes have yet to score a five-on-five goal this season. Chayka said he’s not concerned about the effort but admitted the Coyotes are “squeezing their sticks” amid the drought.

The way out: swarming to rebound shot attempts and hoping scoring an ugly goal opens the floodgates.

“We can kind of go a little deeper and know that we’re not only out-shooting but we are out-chancing and we’re getting quality opportunities,” he said. “I don’t think it’s an issue of quality of shots. Having said that, anytime you get in a funk like this … you got to get bodies to the net, you got to get traffic, get second and third opportunities, get some ugly ones and then kind of roll from there.”

Injury outlook

Chayka suggested that center Alex Galchenyuk is close to returning from a lower-body injury as Jakob Chychrun and Christian Dvorak are also on the mend.

“Alex is progressing well. He’s on the road trip for a reason, we hope he plays at some point. No firm date yet, he’ll skate again today and we’ll go from there,” the general manager said. “Jakob Chychrun continues to skate, looks well. Now it’s just a matter of getting reps out there. Obviously he’s healthy, looks good, just got to continue to get some reps so he’s still probably a few weeks away.

“Christian had a setback in a rehab skate, totally unrelated, kind of a fluke play and got another injury, a different injury. So still evaluating that and seeing what the best path moving forward is, but no timetable right now for him.”

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