The effort is there from the Arizona Coyotes through the first 20 games of the season, but the results just haven’t been.
In fact, Arizona’s record is woeful.
The Coyotes will try to get on track Saturday night when they face the Dallas Stars in Glendale, Ariz. Dallas arrives after a 3-1 home win over the Colorado Avalanche on Thursday while Arizona enjoyed its second consecutive day off.
After first-year coach Andre Tourigny watched the Coyotes fall behind by three goals against offensive juggernaut Edmonton on Wednesday, he was pleased to see his group battle hard against the likes of Oilers superstars Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl.
However, their firepower was too much to overcome, although the Coyotes made it interesting in the third period.
Travis Boyd and Shayne Gostisbehere tallied to cut a three-goal deficit to 4-3, but McDavid scored into an empty net for a 5-3 triumph, snapping Arizona’s two-game winning streak.
In observing his club recently, Tourigny said there is some good and some bad while admitting the team is in a rut.
“I like the fight in our guys. It would have been easy at 4-1 to close the door,” Tourigny said. “We’re in a tough stretch, I won’t lie, and I’m not looking for excuses, but we can feel guys are a little bit tired.”
Clayton Keller scored off a feed from Phil Kessel for the Coyotes’ first tally, and he later added two assists.
The speedy Keller has crafted a four-game point streak while Kessel has produced points in five of his past six games.
Arizona goalie Scott Wedgewood took his first regulation loss in four starts, stopping 39 of 43 shots.
Still, the Coyotes are tied for the NHL’s worst points percentage — .250.
“I never, not once this year, had to address the effort of our guys or whatever, and again, they fought hard and they battled, so I’m proud of them,” Tourigny said. “But we’re in a tough, tough stretch right now.”
After starting the season with 11 straight losses (0-10-1), the Coyotes are 3-1-1 in their past five contests.
Meanwhile, the Stars reeled off their fifth straight home win and completed a perfect three-game homestand while breaking Colorado’s six-game winning streak Friday night.
Dallas got a standout performance from goalie Jake Oettinger, who allowed one goal on 33 shots.
The second-year netminder improved to 4-0-0 on the season, but it wasn’t easy.
Oettinger left the game with 7:22 remaining in the second period after hard contact from Colorado’s Nicolas Aube-Kubel, who received a goaltender-interference penalty.
Oettinger was replaced by Braden Holtby, who was seeing his first action since Nov. 10 against Nashville. Holtby denied all four shots he faced.
Dallas’ Joe Pavelski scored twice in 19 seconds inside the game’s first two minutes for a quick 2-0 Dallas lead. He became just the 10th American-born player to reach 400 goals with the second one.
“It’s just an old-guy stat, I guess,” said the 37-year-old Pavelski — joined by his 11-year-old son Nate on the bench — on the Bally Sports Southwest postgame broadcast after the two-goal night.
Over its three-game homestand, Dallas knocked off St. Louis, Edmonton and Colorado — three of the heavier hitters in the Western Conference — by a total score of 11-3.
–Field Level Media