Arizona Coyotes: Despite Losses, Domingue Keeps Team Within Reach

The Arizona Coyotes’ bad luck continued with their latest loss to the Boston Bruins on Saturday night, but goaltender Louis Domingue is keeping games close.

The Arizona Coyotes dropped another game to the Boston Bruins Saturday night at Gila River Arena, losing 2-1.

It was a tough loss for the team as their overall record fell to 5-9.

With the latest loss, the franchise now has the dubious distinction of having the worst record in the NHL.

The Coyotes’ lone bright spot during the past two games has been the excellent play of goaltender Louis Domingue. While Mike Smith has been on the mend, Domingue has taken over as the starting netminder and is keeping the team competitive in games that shouldn’t be that close.

Saturday night’s game against the Bruins was a perfect case study in how a hot goaltender can make all of the difference. For the first two and a half periods, the Coyotes offense was lackluster and produced few opportunities to score.

In fact, Boston goalie Tuukka Rask could have slipped out for a quick hot cocoa and Timbits over at the Tim Hortons kiosk without missing a beat.

The Coyotes’ Anthony Duclair is still slumping, and fellow winger Max Domi’s goal-scoring hasn’t kicked in either. The team’s offense continues to play ‘dump and chase,’ with lots of dumping and very little chasing.

Unlike the Coyotes, the Bruins’ offense was producing many opportunities.

Domingue was tuned in, deflecting shots from the point and keeping pucks out of the net. The lone pair of goals he did let up during the game resulted from crucial breakdowns in the defense and screens in his sight lines.

Domingue suffered a similar fate against the Winnipeg Jets on Thursday, when the team lost 3-2 despite King Louis’ effort. When you look at the stats of this game, a different story is told, but as usual the stats can be deceiving.

Yet again, defensive breakdowns were the catalyst for the three Winnipeg goals. Domingue never had a chance on any of them.

The Coyotes were in it until the third period, when Oliver Ekman-Larsson gave up the puck behind the net to Winnipeg’s Nikolaj Ehlers, who was standing right in front of Domingue for the easy score.

In each of these contests, the Coyotes were within one late goal of getting the team into overtime and a much needed point in the standings.

It wasn’t the offensive prowess of the forward lines, or the defensive capabilities of the blue-liners.

It was King Louis that kept those games close, with quick thinking and level-headed play that Arizona Coyotes fans have come to love out of their netminder.

Starting goaltender Mike Smith is said to be approaching his return to the lineup in the next week or two. That should pay dividends for the Coyotes, giving Domingue a much-needed rest and dividing up the duties in net.

Head Coach Dave Tippett will likely go with the goalie who has the hot hand once Smith does return.

The team heads off to Canada for a road trip that takes them through Calgary and Vancouver this week, before returning to Arizona for a Saturday night game against the San Jose Sharks.

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