Once the stronghold of the team, the Arizona Coyotes couldn’t get its power play going.
Sunday’s 6-2 loss to the Nashville Predators at Mullett Arena saw the Coyotes go 0-for-5 on the power play and surrender three consecutive goals in the third period.
It was the Coyotes’ second loss in the last six games at Mullett Arena. The Coyotes have had past success defending its home ice, but have faltered as of late, giving up 12 goals in the last two games. Against the Predators, the Coyotes gave away the puck 13 times.
“When you turn the puck over that much, it’s the NHL — teams are going to score,” Coyotes defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere said. “I think for us, a little more discipline in our game is what makes us a good team in getting pucks deep. We said it before the game, we have to get pucks behind them and we did it for some points in that game, but we got to stick with it for a full 60.”
Both lineups have been affected with the trade deadline approaching. The Predators have become sellers and were without winger Nino Niederreiter, who was traded to the Winnipeg Jets on Saturday. Coyotes defenseman Jakob Chychrun was still scratched for trade related reasons and the Coyotes went with 12 forwards and six defensemen.
Finding some offense on special teams
The power play didn’t yield results for the Coyotes and had a hard time keeping the puck in the zone.
“The big difference was our special teams and our power play,” Coyotes coach Andre Tourigny said. “That lacked execution, we did not connect, we did not create enough high-end connections. They connected on their power play and they separated themselves from there.”
A bright spot for special teams was a shorthanded goal in the first period.
Gostisbehere was right on the puck after Cody Glass won the faceoff against Barrett Hayton and went on the rush with Nick Schmaltz. The give-and-go between the two ended with Gostisbehere flexing his wrister on Juuse Saros for a shorthanded goal.
Schmaltz stays hot
Nick Schmaltz and Clayton Keller’s chemistry propelled the Coyotes’ top line in the second period. Schmaltz brought life back into the game when he returned a cross-seam pass from Keller into the net to cut the deficit to 3-2. Schmaltz has had goals in the last three games and has scored in six of his last eight games.
After the game, his 10 goals since Jan. 24 is second-most among all NHL skaters in that span.
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Roman Josi has built a history against the Coyotes in the last 12 years with 28 points (11 goals, 17 assists) in 29 games. This season, he accumulated six points (4 goals, 2 assists), including two goals and an assist in Sunday’s game. Josi’s power play goal in the third period marked the first of two goals on the man advantage for the Predators.
Cody Glass finished off a play from Mikael Granlund and Josi on the power play for the final score. The Coyotes didn’t give many power play opportunities, but were burned by the Predators converting two of its three chances.
Connor Ingram made 11 saves in the third, while the Coyotes only had eight shots on goal. Ingram finished with 28 saves on 34 shots.