Arizona Coyotes at Winnipeg Jets: Game Recap – A Missed Opportunity

Even when the Arizona Coyotes took a 2-0 on the road in Winnipeg, it just didn’t feel like that would hold up. It was certainly nice to see the Coyotes go into enemy territory and take a commanding 2-0 lead, but I just felt like it wouldn’t be enough.

Maybe it’s because of the way they blew a lead in Calgary the game before but more than likely it was how they have played as a whole for almost 2 months now. And the Coyotes proved like they have done time and time again, that 2-0 wasn’t enough to get the job done and secure two very precious points at this point in the season.

The Coyotes played a very nice first road period. It seemed as if the sense of urgency was kicked up and notch and the player understood the task at hand the way they came out the first twenty minutes.

Nick Schmaltz opened the scoring for the ‘Yotes with 4:10 remaining in the first period. Kessel lugged the puck into the zone and found a streaking Schmaltz bearing down the left side of the ice. Kessel fired the puck over to Shmaltz who cut in front of the net and buried the puck top shelf, blocker side on Connor Hellebuyck. A fantastic set up by Kessel and a great finish by Schmaltz and the Coyotes were in business.

With time winding down in the first, lightning would strike twice for Schmaltz and the Coyotes. Jason Demers would skate the puck into the zone and find Kessel on the left side of the ice. Kessel would skate to the top of the red circle and rifle a shot on net that resulted in some loose change in front that Schmaltz is able to bury with only about a second remaining in the first period. The Coyotes had all the momentum in the world heading into the dressing room but unfortunately, all that momentum would go for naught as the ‘Yotes would not be able to find the back of the net again the rest of the night.

That momentum would quickly switch hands early in the second period. The Coyotes would come out flat and another defensive lapse would turn into a goal for the Winnipeg Jets. Nikolaj Ehlers would take a long pass down the right boards and sneak behind the Coyotes defense and deposit a point-blank opportunity into the net behind Darcy Kuemper. The Coyotes knew coming out of the first intermission that the Jets would need to make a hard push and that is exactly what they did, cutting their deficit to 2-1 with 17:47 remaining in the second period.

The Coyotes would have their opportunities to make it a 2 goal game again and take back some control. Taylor Hall would have a partial breakaway but would be unable to convert. There would be some opportunities on the doorstep with some guys hack and whacking, but nothing that would find its’ way to the back of the net. There were some signs of life from the Coyotes after the Jets pulled within one, but they just couldn’t get another one past Hellebuyck to push the game along as former Coyotes coach Dave Tippet would say.

With time winding down in the second, the Jets were able to find some room to skate down the middle of the ice in the offensive zone. Some poor defensive coverage in front of the net and a nice little passing play would result in a shot on net that Kuemper would be able to fend off, but inevitably a juicy rebound would be put in by Tucker Poolman. The Coyotes would find themselves in a dogfight (pun intended) heading into the 3rd period.

Same story for the Coyotes in the 3rd, they showed some fight, they showed some heart, but at the end of the day, the only thing that matters is how many goals you are able to score compared to your opponent and the Coyotes were just not able to muster another goal.

With about eight and a half minutes remaining in the final period, there would be a faceoff in the Coyotes defensive end. The Coyotes would lose that draw and Laine would try to force something towards the net. The puck would take an unfortunate bounce or two and end up on the stick of Jets forward Cody Eakin who was streaking across the front of the Coyotes net. Kuemper would attempt to make a play but Eakin would hold onto the puck just long enough for Kuemper to become out of position for an easy backhand attempt into a somewhat open net. This would prove to be an insurmountable lead to overcome for the desperate, desert dogs.

The Jets would put one into the open net late in the game to seal this one.

Another game and another disappointing performance and result for the Coyotes. The Coyotes are nothing if not consistent. They consistently are unable to score enough goals to put a game away. They are consistently giving teams an opportunity to stay in and win games with defensive lapses, every, single game. This game was no different and the club has now lost 2 straight games to Conference rivals also fighting for their playoffs lives.

Up Next: Home against the Vancouver Canucks, 3/12/20