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Arizona Coyotes’ home struggles continue with loss to Flames

Calgary Flames right wing Michael Frolik (67) gets the puck past Arizona Coyotes goaltender Antti Raanta (32) and Coyotes defenseman Jordan Oesterle (82) for a goal during the first period of an NHL hockey game Tuesday, Dec. 10, 2019 in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

GLNEDALE, Ariz. — The Arizona Coyotes lost their second-straight home game on Tuesday to the Calgary Flames, marking their fourth loss out of their last five home games (1-3-1).

The Coyotes are now 7-7-1 at Gila River Arena this season, which is odd given how effective they have been on the road (11-4-3). At the time of their Tuesday loss, Arizona had accumulated the third-fewest home points in the NHL only ahead of the Detroit Red Wings and New Jersey Devils.

“I don’t have any answers,” center Derek Stepan said. “I know that as you focus on your own game an evaluate yourself, I think one piece that needs to be better as a collective group is to be better at home.

“If you want to win down the stretch and win in the playoffs, your home building needs to be difficult to play in and at moments we see that and we can be a little flat.”

Arizona is the only team in the Pacific Division with a below-.500 home record. This is odd, but head coach Rick Tocchet has a theory.

“Some guys, when they come home they prepare different,” Tocchet said. “On the road it is a stricter routine and at home you’re on your own a bit more. I’ve got to figure it out, it’s on me that some guys aren’t prepared.”

Perhaps the distractions of being at home have a toll or the different routines have thrown off this team’s rhythm. It is an interesting issue for Tocchet and his staff to tackle.

Or, potentially nothing changes and this turns out to be a poor stretch that balances out as the season progresses. However, last year they were 20-17-4 with the seventh-worst point total at home.

The Coyotes have started well to set themselves up for a run at the division crown. After Tuesday, they were tied with the Edmonton Oilers atop the Pacific Division with 40 points.

But, Arizona started a three-game home-stand with a misstep, and have chances against the struggling Chicago Blackhawks and Devils to right the ship.

“We have another opportunity coming up and we have to be better,” defenseman Jakob Chycrun said.

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