Sustained Pressure Folds Coyotes; Preds Win 5-2

Published On December 1, 2015 | By Jason Harrison | B-Sides

That was a blowout.

41 shots by the Predators. 15 for the Coyotes. Despite the lopsided zone times the Coyotes held a slim 2-1 lead heading into the 3rd period despite the fact that they rarely had the puck out of Mike Smith’s end or the neutral zone. Mike Smith and the posts did everything they could to keep the Coyotes in this game but to no avail. A blitzkrieg third period by the Nashville Predators – a team that has been tremendously snakebitten in recent games – resulted in four goals and a quick, merciless end to any notion that the Coyotes might squeak another win out like they had the last two at home.

Here’s how it went down:

  • Max Domi was part of what little offense the Coyotes could muster. He may or may not have scored on the first power play – it was very close – but also feathered a sweet pass to Oliver Ekman-Larsson for the early 1-0 lead. He had 3 of the Coyotes’ 15 shots on net and extended his career long point streak to 4 games.
  • Likewise, Oliver Ekman-Larsson‘s 4 shots and 1 goal was about the only other sustained bright spot. Unfortunately for OEL, he gave the goal he scored in the first right back to the Predators in the third period with an errant pass that was intercepted by former Coyote Mike Ribeiro. Ribeiro’s uncontested shot on Mike Smith found the back of the net and tied the game of 2-2, of course, kickstarting the avalanche of Predator goals that was to come.
  • Forward Kyle Chipchura managed to grab a bit of a dirty goal in the 2nd period to put the Coyotes up 2-1. It was 100th career NHL point. Stick taps to #24.
  • Mike Smith stood on his head through two periods but found his teammates abandoning him in the third period. The Ribeiro goal and second Forsberg goal were simple lapses in defensive coverage (or terrible attempts to pass), while the Calle Jarnkrok goal was a result of the defense allowing a 5’11 186 lb Swede in front of Mike Smith for an easy tap in. Long story short, Smitty did his job and the team didn’t do their’s around him on either end. That’s pretty disappointing considering how desperate the team has been for good goaltending at points this season.

The Coyotes managed no shots until there was 8:36 left in the period. During the early stages of the 2nd period they picked it up a bit, but that died off just prior to the Predators power play that resulted in the Calle Jarnkrok goal. With ten minutes left in the 3rd period, the Coyotes were still being outshot 35-12. Despite the Predators backing off for the final five minutes of the 3rd, the Coyotes only managed 3 more shots in that time frame to end with the ominous total of 15.

15 shots on net is not enough and for Dave Tippett and the Coyotes it shouldn’t be acceptable. It is understandable that a team the caliber of the Predators should win the majority of games against a rebuilding team like Arizona, however there should never be a game where you can’t muster 20-25 shots. Pekka Rinne (.911 save percentage) is having the same kind of up and down season that the Coyotes are experiencing from Mike Smith. He needed to be tested and the Yotes failed to do much of that.

The primo chances afforded Filip Forsberg and Mike Ribeiro in particular doomed the team and their goaltender. Forwards of that caliber are going to eat you up eventually given enough chances. Tippett’s postgame comments echo the sentiment. “(Mike Smith) kept us in it for a long time. You can’t keep giving them Grade-A chances like that off turnovers and expect to win.”

Lesson hopefully learned. Time to move on and perform better next time out.

Thursday night the Coyotes are in Detroit to face-off against the Red Wings. Let’s go Yotes.