GLENDALE, Ariz. — The losing streak has hit double-digits.
Despite sporting a handful of new players, the Arizona Coyotes ended up with the same result Tuesday, falling to the Anaheim Ducks 4-1.
The Coyotes competed well in the first with a more talented Ducks team, trading chances and maybe, just maybe, making stars Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf a little worried. Could this Arizona underdog surprise one of the best teams in the NHL?
They gave it their all, but things began to unravel in the first when Ducks center Ryan Kesler outmuscled Sam Gagner for a loose puck and scored shorthanded. The period ended 1-0.
A second goal in the second period — off an incredible redirection — gave the Ducks a 2-0 lead and the communication breakdowns began for Arizona — think errant passes and players bumping into one another.
The Ducks’ third goal should make a few highlight reels. On a two-on-one, winger Jakob Silfverberg’s shot hit the post. He caught his own rebound and put it past Mike Smith. Even Coyotes fans had to applaud that one.
When the Coyotes went to the power play with just a few minutes left in the game, they were down 3-1. They took a risk and pulled Mike Smith. It didn’t pay off, as Anaheim put away another shorthanded goal and iced the game.
In the end, the combination of too many new players and a talented Anaheim team proved too much for the Coyotes, though Arizona was able to grab a consolation in the second.
Despite the loss, the new-look Coyotes are already more exciting to watch. With an injection of younger players, the team’s speed has already increased and it showed against Anaheim.
One of the best ways to shut down a talented team is to give them no time on the puck. That was the Coyotes’ plan, as there were few times a Duck wasn’t having to make a quick decision thanks to a closing Coyote.
While the team looked a bit nervous going forward, there were few times the Ducks had a chance at the odd-man rush. Arizona is a defense-first team and coach Dave Tippett must have said something like, “Get behind the puck. Protect Mike Smith.”
The Coyotes’ lone goal was a bright spot. New arrival Klas Dahlbeck kept the puck in the zone. Sam Gagner picked it up and fed Tobias Rieder, who sneaked it past Frederik Andersen. It wasn’t the prettiest, but it counted.
It’s not that the Coyotes are bad, they’re just not good. While they put forth effort, it was clear there were a lot of new faces on the ice. At any given time, there was a dark red helmet twisting around, trying to find where he should be standing or moving toward.
The lack of positioning was clear on offense. On multiple occasions, the Coyotes looked to be pulling their own version of the “Flying V” when entering the Ducks’ zone. Of course, it wasn’t as organized. I termed it the “Coyote Cluster.”
There were just a few too many new faces on the ice Tuesday for the Coyotes to beat the Ducks. Passes that would have easily lead to a goal with familiar players missed the target. Though Arizona had its chances, it just couldn’t top Anaheim’s chemistry.
STAT OF THE GAME
To beat a top team, such as the Ducks, you have to keep the puck. The Coyotes didn’t. They gave the biscuit away nine times.
HE SAID IT
“There was lots of try in everybody. We made a couple mistakes that cost us, but lots of try. And I still think we probably need a good practice together.” – Head coach Dave Tippett on his team
– Tuesday’s loss made it 10 straight for the Coyotes, which ties the longest in franchise history and is a record since the team moved from Winnipeg.
– The Ducks scored two shorthanded goals on the night — their first and their last one.
– Four, count ’em, FOUR new Coyotes made their debut on Tuesday. John Moore and Klas Dhalbeck were acquired in separate trades and Tye McGinne and Craig Cunningham both arrived via waivers.
– Tuesday was also the debut for the Coyotes’ two newest assistant captains: Oliver Ekman-Larsson and Kyle Chipchura.
– There was a rare captain fight between Shane Doan and Ryan Getzlaf that certainly got the fans going. It probably helped that Doan was the clear winner.
The Coyotes will be back in action Thursday against the Vancouver Canucks. The fun begins at 7 p.m. at Gila River Arena in Glendale. The call can be heard on ESPN Phoenix 620 AM.