The Arizona Coyotes thought they might be breaking out of their losing ways after the last time they hosted a Canadian opponent — Thursday, when they beat the Vancouver Canucks 3-2 in a shootout.
That wasn’t the case. Symptoms from the 10-game losing streak that preceded that win over the Canucks resurfaced Saturday at Gila River Arena, the site of the Coyotes’ 2-0 loss to the visiting Montreal Canadiens.
The Canadiens jumped out to a fast start, but Coyotes goaltender Mike Smith matched that effort, keeping all 15 of the Canadiens’ first period shots out of the net. He would break in the second, though, on a quick turn-and-shoot from Lars Eller.
And in the third period, it would be Montreal’s own net-minder, Carey Price, who was doing the bending, no-breaking jig. Price kept 16 Coyotes’ shots out of goal in that frame, preserving his clean sheet and his team’s victory.
With Smith out of net late, the Canadiens’ were able to cherry pick a second goal as just 1.5 seconds dressed the clock.
Here’s a closer look at the Coyotes’ loss, by the numbers:
The Canadiens are the NHL’s toughest nut to crack after scoring first, winning over 84 percent of such games. The Coyotes, meanwhile, win just 25 percent of the contests that they trail first in. Those percentages held true Saturday at Gila River Arena.
The Coyotes have managed to tally just two points in their last 12 games, losing 11 and winning just one — their last, against the visiting Vancouver Canucks. They have lost those games by a total aggregate score of 44-17.
The Canadiens’ dominance began early. Five of the game’s first six shots were theirs and the visitors also won all six of the game’s first six faceoffs.
The Coyotes were looking clearly outpaced on the offensive end for the first two periods of the contest, but managed to catch up a little in the third, puttin 16 shots on Price’s net, but to no avail. The Canadiens won the final shots-on-goal tally, 35-29.
The top-tier 84.6 percent penalty kill percentage the Canadiens’ brought to Glendale will look even better after Saturday’s contest, in which the team snuffed out both of the Coyotes’ power plays. Arizona managed just one shot on goal during the advantages.