GLENDALE — It’s not that the Phoenix Coyotes don’t want to make the playoffs, but they can’t seem to put back-to-back quality efforts together. After pounding the Pittsburgh Penguins, the Coyotes came out listless and were pounded solidly 3-1 by the Dallas Stars.
The game had an ominous start, with Zbynek Michalek picking up a hooking penalty just 1:05 into the game. The Coyotes killed it off and ended up having a pretty good back-and-forth period against the Stars. Dallas outshot Phoenix 13-11 in the frame as it ended in a scoreless tie.
The second period saw one of the Coyotes hottest players get on the board, when Antoine Vermette stole the puck and scored on a backhander, his 21st goal of the year and his eighth straight game with a point. That was at 9:18 of the second period and less than two minutes later, the Coyotes were back on the penalty kill.
That’s been the problem in these games for Phoenix. When they break through with a positive play, they end up shooting themselves in the foot by doing something else. Granted, the Derek Morris penalty for tripping was a bit weak, but nonetheless, they were back on the PK.
Shawn Horcoff broke through on the power play for Dallas, scoring his seventh of the season, with assists to Tyler Seguin and Rich Peverley. To continue the theme, the Coyotes got back on the power play at 14:49 of the period, only to be called for a penalty of their own at 15:48. Dallas outshot the Coyotes 19-7 in the second period.
Dallas took the lead for good at 3:25 of the third period, with Antoine Roussel scoring his ninth of the season, assisted by Ryan Garbutt. The Coyotes would get a full power play, but they stayed cold and were unable to make anything happen.
Garbutt added an empty-net goal at 19:33, assisted by Cody Eakin.
- The Coyotes had 13 takeaways, to just two for the Stars.
- Phoenix outhit the Stars 32-23.
- Mike Ribeiro won just 3-of-13 faceoffs (23 percent).
Antoine Vermette kept his point streak going, so he earns our award for the night. His goal was the only real bright spot for the Coyotes tonight. He recorded a hit and a takeaway and was an even 8-f0r-16 in the faceoff circle. It wasn’t impressive, until you compare him to the rest of the team. Also, kudos to Mike Smith for stopping 37-of-39 shots, for a .949 save percentage.
Runt of the Litter
Mike Ribeiro is our runt of the litter tonight, as he was one of two players to post a minus-2. He got just one shot on net, missing his other attempt. He gave the puck away twice and as previously mentioned, stunk it up in the faceoff circle (3-13).
The Coyotes play host to the Chicago Blackhawks on Friday, February 7th, from Jobing.com Arena in Phoenix, Arizona.