The Phoenix Coyotes offense stalled on Saturday night and the visiting Carolina Hurricanes were paced by the Staal brothers and came away with a 3-1 victory. Jordan and Eric Staal combined for four-points, on one-goal and three-assists. Phoenix has lost three of their last five-games.
The Coyotes could only muster a single goal and it came from an unlikely source. Phoenix forward Paul Bissonnette took a Connor Murphy pass and scored at 6:14 in the opening period. It was Bissonnette's first goal in 71 regular season games. Jeff Halpern also tallied an assist on the rare Bissonnette goal.
“He (Bissonnette) told me to look for him backdoor and I did,” Murphy said. “He was there, so he made a great play on that one. It was nice to get that started but I wish we could have held on.”
The Hurricanes tied up the game at 1-1 after Nathan Gerbe wrist shot got past Phoenix goalie Mike Smith. It was Gerbe's seventh goal of the season and it was the only scoring tn the second period.
Carolina scored two more goals in the third period, including an empty netter.
The Coyotes anemic offensive showing on Saturday is possibly linked to the extended absence of their leading goal scorer and captain Shane Doan. The Captain has missed the last four-games with an undetermined illness and it is unclear when he will return to the ice for the Coyotes.
"It's going to take a little bit of time but I'll be back, hopefully sooner than later," Doan said on Saturday.
Phoenix is also missing Derek Morris and Lauri Korpikoski.
“It's a guy (Doan)you can't replace,” Coyotes forward Rob Klinkhammer said. “He's our leader. Our captain. He does a lot for our team...He plays pretty well on both ends of the rink. He just does so much in this room but you can't use that as an excuse. Guys get injured. Guys go down. You got to step up and fill the void.”
The loss dropped the Coyotes season record to 18-9-5 and they are currently fifth in the Pacific Division and eighth in the Western Conference. The Coyotes will spend the holidays on the road as they embark on a four-game road trip against the Eastern Conference. Phoenix gets a few day off before taking on the Montreal Canadiens on Tuesday, December 17.
“Obviously you just want to put everything behind you,” Connor said. “After every game just kind of look back on the things we could improve on tomorrow and go from there. Flight out east and look to get more points... It's huge for us to get back in the race and become another top team in the West.”