The Arizona Coyotes (1-4-0) dropped their fourth game in five contests to start the year, falling 2-1 to the Minnesota Wild (2-2-2).
The early offensive struggles continued for the Coyotes as they failed to convert an even-strength goal for the 5th time in 5 games this season. That sentiment was echoed by Coach Rick Tocchet in his post-game conversation with team reporters following last night’s defeat. “Once again, we only scored one goal, we’ve got to score some goals.” The Coyotes have lit the lamp a measly 4 times in their first 5 contests.
The Coyotes dominated the first 40 minutes but failed to convert on golden opportunity after golden opportunity. “We had a couple of ‘point-blankers’, and we didn’t put them in,” said a visibly frustrated Coach Tocchet, “comes [back] to haunt you.”
The Coyotes wasted another stellar goaltender performance, this time from back-up and former Wild goalie Darcy Kuemper. Kuemper turned away 26 of 28 including two highlight-reel saves against his former teammates Eric Staal, and Zach Parise. Wistfully, Kuempers’ Coyotes debut wasn’t enough to counter his teams’ offensive ineffectiveness, as the Yotes fell to 1-4-0 to start the 2018/19 campaign.
There were, however, some positive takeaways from Tuesday’s defeat. The faceoff circle continues to be a point of strength for the Coyotes, particularly for centers Dylan Strome and Brad Richardson who won a combined 26 of 36 face-offs. Brendan Perlini scored his first goal of the young season, and this years’ offseason addition Alex Galchenyuk skated pre-game with the team for the first time since suffering a lower-body injury in the preseason.
The Coyotes will look to right the ship offensively against a tough Blackhawks team this Thursday at the United Center. However, it won’t be easy, the Yotes have struggled mightily against Chicago in recent history, winning just twice in 11 contests dating back to 2015.