‘Yotes Notes: Coyotes fall to Predators for eighth-straight home loss

Dec 12, 2014, 5:40 AM | Updated: 5:40 am
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GLENDALE, Ariz. — The Arizona Coyotes have lost eight straight games at home.

Eight.

The most recent loss was at the hands of the Nashville Predators on Thursday, who dropped the Coyotes in a 5-1 decision.

It seemed things were turning around for the Coyotes in the first period, when Martin Erat drew a holding call and sent Arizona to a power play. After some nice zone possession, Mikkel Boedker fed Antoine Vermette in front of the net, who dropped to one knee and fluttered the puck past Nashville ‘tender Pekka Rinne. It wasn’t the most glorious goal, but the Coyotes will take what they can get.

To say the Coyotes can’t buy a bounce would be akin to calling the ocean a puddle. The Preds scored on the power play just 2:46 after Vermette’s goal, but it was the second that hurt the most. After Mike Smith made a save, the puck bounced in the air and off Nashville’s James Neal into the back of the net. Even Neal wasn’t sure what happened until the lamp was lit.

The second period, aside from a late Nashville penalty, was incredibly uneventful in terms of scoring and chances. However, the Coyotes began to play hockey and created some pressure in the Nashville zone and outshot the Preds 12-8. It was arguably their best performance all game.

The third was an echo of the first for Arizona, especially after Nashville nailed the Coyotes’ coffin shut with a fourth goal, and hermetically sealed it with a fifth.

THE GOOD

It feels weird to type this, but Keith Yandle put together a decent game. In fact, he was probably the bright spot for Arizona. He tied for a team-high six shots in 21:08 of ice time. It’s like he was trying to win the game himself, but that clearly didn’t work.

“When you get down, you’re trying to help your team get into it, and it’s not really the kind of way you win here,” Yandle said after the game.

Despite his effort, Yandle finished Thursday’s game tied for a team-worst minus-3 on the night.

THE BAD

You know it’s a rough game when a completely uneventful second period was the highlight of the Coyotes’ night.

Vermette’s goal in the first was nice, but it seemed to put the Coyotes in a state of shock, as if they couldn’t believe they had a lead. From there, the Preds went on to tally four unanswered goals and easily contained a lackluster Arizona squad the remainder of the night.

After the Preds put their fourth past Smith, Coyotes center Sam Gagner sat on the ice and looked around as if to ask, “What’s happening with this team?”

“It’s just one of those things,” Gagner said. “I was mad at myself. I need to be better in those situations if I want to be a leader and help this team to kind of pull out of (a slump).”

It’s hard to determine exactly what’s wrong with the Coyotes because there’s a long list: Bounces aren’t going their way, passes are missing targets, players are dropping assignments. The list continues, but I don’t want to pile on.

STAT OF THE GAME

In case I didn’t make it obvious enough, the Coyotes have lost eight straight games at home. They last won a game in Arizona when you were pulling down your Halloween decorations on Nov. 4. In that span, they’ve been outscored 28-10 on home ice.

HE SAID IT

“It’s just one of those games where you let it slip away. Obviously we got up on a lead. I don’t know if we got too comfortable or thought we were going to try to win it 1-0. It’s one of those things, when you’re trying to get out of a slump like this, when you do get a lead, you fight for the next one, and we weren’t able to get that,” – Yandle on where the Coyotes went wrong

NOTED

– Yandle is moving up in the Coyotes’ record books. When he assisted Vermette’s power play goal in the first, Yandle notched his 226th career assist with the team, tying him for fourth overall with Randy Carlyle in franchise his history. Yandle also has a point in five straight games against Nashville.

– Mike Ribeiro, once a coveted free agent before being signed and subsequently bought out by the Coyotes last season, made his first appearance Thursday since departing the desert. He tallied one assist.

– The announced attendance of 10,194 was the smallest crowd at Gila River Arena this season.

UP NEXT

The Coyotes welcome the Minnesota Wild to the desert on Saturday. Faceoff is scheduled for 6 p.m. and the forecast said it will be in the 60s and a bit rainy. It’s supposed to be in the 40s and foggy in Minnesota, so expect some visitors from the north. The game can be heard on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM.

Penguin Air
Nashville Predators left wing Gabriel Bourque (57) and Phoenix Coyotes right wing Mikkel Boedker (89), of Denmark, watch a rebound bounce by in the second period of an NHL hockey game, Thursday, Feb. 14, 2013, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey) Phoenix Coyotes center Steve Sullivan (26) shoots as he is defended by Nashville Predators' Ryan Ellis (4) in the first period of an NHL hockey game, Thursday, Feb. 14, 2013, in Nashville, Tenn. At left is Predators goalie Pekka Rinne (35), of Finland. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey) Nashville Predators defenseman Ryan Ellis (4) dives for the puck against Phoenix Coyotes left wing David Moss (18) in the first period of an NHL hockey game, Thursday, Feb. 14, 2013, in Nashville, Tenn. At left is Predators center Nick Spaling (13). (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey) Nashville Predators defenseman Ryan Ellis (4) clears the puck away from Phoenix Coyotes left wing David Moss (18) in the first period of an NHL hockey game, Thursday, Feb. 14, 2013, in Nashville, Tenn. Behind Ellis is Predators center Nick Spaling (13). (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey) Nashville Predators center Mike Fisher tries to move between Phoenix Coyotes defenseman Zbynek Michalek (4), of the Czech Republic, and goalie Mike Smith (41) in the second period of an NHL hockey game, Thursday, Feb. 14, 2013, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey) Nashville Predators center Mike Fisher, right, is congratulated by defenseman Roman Josi (59), of Switzerland, after scoring against the Phoenix Coyotes in the third period of an NHL hockey game, Thursday, Feb. 14, 2013, in Nashville, Tenn. The Predators won 3-0. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey) Nashville Predators goalie Pekka Rinne, of Finland, pulls on his mask during a stop in play in the third period of an NHL hockey game against the Phoenix Coyotes, Thursday, Feb. 14, 2013, in Nashville, Tenn. The Predators won 3-0. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey) Phoenix Coyotes center Steve Sullivan (26) circles behind the net as he is defended by Nashville Predators' Paul Gaustad (28) and Jonathon Blum (7) in the third period of an NHL hockey game, Thursday, Feb. 14, 2013, in Nashville, Tenn. The Predators won 3-0. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

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