Listless Coyotes shutout by Blues

Mar 26, 2012, 3:38 AM | Updated: 7:56 pm

The Phoenix Coyotes can’t say they didn’t have their chances in a 4-0
shutout loss to the Western Conference powerhouse St. Louis Blues Sunday
at Jobing.com Arena.

Unfortunately for the Coyotes, their listless play, poor puck handling and
inefficiency on the power play cost them two vital points in their quest for a
playoff birth in the hotly contested Western Conference.

“When you have this many games left, every opportunity you have to try to
seize that opportunity [to get points],” Tippett said.

The Coyotes, who showed signs of fatigue coming off their 4-3 shootout
loss in San Jose Saturday, failed to capitalize on two power play
opportunities early in the first period, ultimately setting the tone for the
game. The Coyotes, who are last in the league in power play effectiveness,
finished the contest 0-for-4 with the man advantage.

After a penalty-laden, scoreless first period, the Blues struck first when
Alex Pietrangelo lit the lamp 0:32 seconds into the second on the power
play. The Blues continued to lull the Coyotes to sleep with continuous back
and forth hockey and minimal scoring opportunities.

“The game started not bad, not many chances either way,” Tippett
explained. “From a coaching standpoint that was probably not a bad way
for it to go. Then we gave up that early one in the second period, and
giving up the lead and having to chase tonight wasn’t going to be a good
recipe for success with two games in less than 24 hours and the travel.”

The Coyotes failed to muster any intensity and seemingly had no gas left in
the tank in the third period. An onslaught of Blues goals followed with
captain David Backes, Patrik Berglund and scrapper Ryan Reaves beating
Coyotes back-up goaltender Jason LaBarbera to ice the victory.

“We just didn’t execute tonight,” LaBarbera said. “We had chances early, we
had a couple of power plays early and any time you have that you got to be
able to try and build some momentum. Unfortunately it went the other way
and kind of killed any momentum that we had.”

Blues goaltender Brian Elliott was the beneficiary of the Coyotes inability to
generate any offensive pressure. Elliott stopped 20 shots and notched his
eight shutout of the season and St. Louis’ franchise record 14th of the
year.

“With a team like [St. Louis], I think they’ve given up twenty less goals
than everybody else in the league; they’re pretty stingy,” LaBarbera stated.
“They stick to their systems and they did what they were supposed to do
tonight.”

The Coyotes desperately missed the presence of captain Shane Doan, who
was serving the final game of his three game suspension. Doan, who
notoriously gets his teammates riled up on the bench or sends a message
with a bone-crushing check, could have made a difference in the Coyotes
lackluster performance.

Tippett spoke of the importance of the Coyotes having the next three days
off to regroup and regain a leadership presence on the ice.

“If you look at where we are in the schedule with people missing and we get
Shane Doan back again coming Thursday, these are much needed days off
for us,” Tippett said.

The Coyotes entered the game in seventh place in the Western Conference
and could have taken over 1st place in the Pacific Division with a win.
Instead, they’ll remain in seventh with five critical games remaining on the
schedule.

It’s safe to say that all are now deemed “must-wins” for the Coyotes, who
will still likely need help from their division foes if they want to ensure their
place in the playoffs.

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