The Phoenix Coyotes had an opportunity to move up in the standings but mistakes and penalties led to a 3-1 loss to the visiting Dallas Stars on Monday night. The defeat dropped the Coyotes season record to 26-20-10 and they have loss two out of their last three games.
“I didn't think we had enough players play well enough to win this game,” Coyotes head coach Dave Tippett said. “Simple as that. We lost too many battles. Made too many mistakes with the puck and didn't give ourselves a chance.”
Phoenix blew a solid effort from their goalie Mike Smith. The Coyotes netminder stopped 31-32 shots ,the Stars scored an empty net goal late in the third period, and was one of the few bright spots from a dreadful evening.
“It was a wasted performance like that from him (Smith),” Coyotes forward Shane Doan said. “That's tough. He played great. We didn't find a way to generate enough offense.”
The Coyotes offense, which is 11th in the NHL in scoring with 2.82 GFG, stalled throughout the evening and got only one-shot past Stars goalie Kari Lehtonen.
At 9:18 in the second period Vermette broke away from the pack and scored his 21st goal of the season. Vermette is leading Phoenix in goals this season and now has points in eight straight games. In that span he has scored eight-goals and dished out three-assists.
But the Coyotes lead didn't last very long.
Phoenix defenseman Derek Morris got a two-minute vacation in the sin bin for tripping the Stars' Eric Cole at 11:02 in the second period. 90-seconds later Dallas center Shawn Horcoff scored on a backhand and the game was tied.
Early in the third period Phoenix turned over the puck after a botched line change and Dallas pounced on the opportunity. Stars forward Antoine Roussel scored his ninth goal of the season after the turnover and gave Dallas a 2-1 lead less than four minutes into the final period.
“They played well,” Tippett said. “They beat us. They played better than us. We made a couple of mistakes. Those couple of mistakes cost us.”
Dallas added an empty net goal to cap the 3-1 win.
Phoenix had the opportunity, due to a Vancouver Canucks loss earlier in the evening, to move into the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference with a win but blew the chance. The Coyotes remain one-point behind the Canucks.
The Coyotes have the next two-days off before hosting the Chicago Blackhawks February 7. The puck is scheduled to drop at 7 p.m. (MT) at Jobing.com Arena.