Arizona Coyotes Still Can’t Solve Minnesota Wild, Lose at Home 5 to 2

Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports /

The Arizona Coyotes continue to be unwilling patsies for the Minnesota Wild as they lose their sixth out of seven games against them on Monday night.

Well, not many hockey fans could say they were surprised by the outcome of the Minnesota Wild‘s (28-13-3 59 points) handling of the Arizona Coyotes (20-21-5 45 points) at Gila River Arena, but there was some cautious, low level optimism being clung to like a life preserver by Coyotes fans based upon the Yotes’ inspiring victory over the St. Louis Blues two days prior.

It didn’t take long for that life preserver to lose its buoyancy, however, although it did take the third place Minnesota Wild a bit longer than usual to take their very first shot. You can only delay the inevitable for so long, however, before reality sets in. In this case the first of the “real life” scenarios appeared in the form of needless penalties, two of which resulted in power play goals.

The Coyotes were also doomed by their lack of scoring. Their shots were most often high and/or wide, and they only scored twice in the game. The first goal was Christian Fischer‘s first of the season on a nice assist by the Wild’s Ryan Suter. Suter recognized that Fischer was wide open and had plenty of time to set him up for the shot that beat goalkeeper Cam Talbot to the netminder’s left. Nice pass Ryan!

What was most perplexing, however, was the Arizona Coyotes inability to play any sort of consistent hockey. I know, what else is new, but there were times when the Yotes were being the much more aggressive team on the ice and forcing the Wild to defend in its “D” zone, but then the Coyotes would let up (or tire out) and would be outnumbered and outskated during the transition from defense to offense.

Did anyone see anything positive to build on in the Monday night tilt against the Wild? Did you initially have that flicker of hope that things would turn out differently when Christian Fischer tied the game at 1, or when Alex Goligoski brought the Yotes to within one in the third period? Were you glad that Darcy Kuemper was the guy holding the fort when the Wild was peppering shots at the goal? Most Coyotes fans are grateful that the boys are still in the playoff hunt, but their performance against the Minnesota Wild is not anything that inspires confidence.

The Coyotes have lost 6 of their past 7 games against the Wild, but of more concern is that they have lost 6 out 7 games period. They will try to break their slide against the Wild again on Wednesday night before traveling to L.A. to play the Kings, but by the end of the second period I began wondering how the San Jose Sharks (18-22-5 41 points) were doing in Vegas against the Golden Knights. As it turned out the Sharks gained a point in the standings by losing 3 to 2 in a shoot out, and are only 4 points behind the Coyotes.

It is becoming clearer than ever that the 3 games against the L.A. Kings (April 24 in L.A. and May 3 and 5 at GRA), and the 4 head-to-head games between the Coyotes and the Sharks, all in San Jose, will decide who advances to the playoffs and who stays home. The Desert Dogs play the Sharks on April 26 and 28, and then on May 7 and 8, the final two games of the season. In the interim, let’s see if the Coyotes can muster up another inspired performance and beat the playoff bound Minnesota Wild.