Lapses in the 3rd period doom the Coyotes in loss to Oilers

Feb 19, 2024, 5:46 PM | Updated: Feb 21, 2024, 1:40 pm

Nick Bjugstad #17 of the Arizona Coyotes shoots to score a goal past Mattias Ekholm #14 of the Edmo...

Nick Bjugstad #17 of the Arizona Coyotes shoots to score a goal past Mattias Ekholm #14 of the Edmonton Oilers during the second period of the NHL game at Mullett Arena on February 19, 2024 in Tempe, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

TEMPE — Two goals from Nick Bjugstad and one from Clayton Keller weren’t enough to stop the Arizona Coyotes (23-38-4, 50 points) losing streak on Monday as they fell 6-3 to the Edmonton Oilers (33-18-1, 67 points). Arizona has now lost 10 in a row.

Keller earned an assist on one of the two Bjugstad goals to extend his team lead in points to 51 and give him 50 or more points in a season for the fourth time in his career.

The Coyotes led after two periods but allowed four goals in the third, including one empty-netter.

“We break down for five minutes and we cannot stop the bleeding,” head coach Andre Tourigny said. “They had three scoring chances and three goals right there.”

Coyotes goalie Matt Vallalta made his first career start after being plugged into action during the Coyotes 5-1 loss to the Hurricanes on Friday.

Vallalta played well in spurts, stopping all six shots he faced in the second period.

It was not an easy assignment for Vallalta as the Oilers came into the matchup fifth in the NHL in power play percentage while scoring the third-most shots on goal per game.

“[The loss] is not on our goalie, they put traffic at the net. They’re a tough team to play against,” Tourigny said.

Vallata held reigning MVP Connor McDavid off the goal column on the All Star’s lone shot attempt of the game.

Leon Draisaitl started the scoring for Edmonton by roofing one from in close on the power play to give the Oilers an early lead.

Bjugstad, who was sent to the penalty box for that power play, responded by scoring a goal on a two-on-one rush that he buried behind Oilers goalie Stuart Skinner.

The play developed fast after Bjugstad won a face-off in his own zone and raced past everyone down the ice.

Edmonton regained the lead early in the first period with a goal from third-liner Mattias Janmark.

Clayton Keller tied the game in the second during a Coyotes power play with a clapper from the right circle. It was Keller’s 50th point of the season.

That goal changed the momentum of the frame as the Coyotes began to establish pressure in the Oilers’ zone for most of the period.

Bjugstad capitalized again with a goal midway through the stanza to give the Coyotes a 3-2 lead.

Despite the big game, Bjugstad said things are not easy right now for the Coyotes, who are one of the youngest teams in the league.

“It is what it is, it’s tough in the [locker] room right now. We gotta figure it out. It’s very frustrating,” he said after the game.

Goals by Evander Kane and Zach Hyman just 26 seconds apart in the final stanza gave the Oilers a 4-3 lead they would not relinquish. Kane would add another to make it 5-3 before an empty net goal by Warren Foegele capped the scoring.

Next, the Coyotes get a day off before welcoming Scottsdale native Auston Matthews and the Toronto Maple Leafs to Mullett Arena on Wednesday.


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