Lead by Justin Fontaine's hat trick the Minnesota Wild came into Phoenix and shut down the Coyotes 4-1 on Thursday at Jobing.com Arena. It was the Coyotes third loss in their last four games and their season record dropped to 21-13-9.
“We had chances to capitalize and we didn't capitalize,” Coyotes head coach Dave Tippet said. “They capitalized on their chances. That's the way it goes sometimes.”
Minnesota got on the scoreboard first. With less than 90-second left in the opening period Fontaine scored his ninth goal of the season and after one period the Wild held a 1-0 lead.
The Coyotes inability to score in the first period is a nasty trend. This season Phoenix has been outscored 36-23 in the opening period.
Early in the second period Minnesota forward Matt Cooke was whistled for cross checking Martin Hanzal. At 2:04 Coyotes forward Mikkel Boedker back handed a rebound and with the power play goal the game was tied at 1-1. It was Boedker's team leading 14th goal of the season.
Unfortunately for Coyotes fans that was the last time the home team was in the game.
Phoenix gave up three unanswered goals in the third period, including an empty netter, and when all was said and done it was a 4-1 loss. With the win Minnesota took sole possession of eighth place, and the final playoff spot, in the Western Conference.
The Coyote have one more game remaining in their six-game home stand and home cooking has been unkind, as they have gone 2-3 in that stretch.
Phoenix has Friday off and on Saturday they host the Pacific Division leading Anaheim Ducks. Despite it only being January, and barely past the half way point of the season, there is a sense of urgency for the Coyotes to forget any past mistakes and focus on the task at hand.
“We need to find a way to win that game (against Anaheim on Saturday),” Doan said. “Go off on the road and find a way to win the next one. We've just got to win the next game. We've talked about it as a group. We've got to let things go once the games done. We've got to get ready to play the next one. That's the best part of the NHL, we play quickly. We play a lot a games and you play them right after each other.”