Coyotes give better effort in 9th straight home loss
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Remember what Don Maloney said when he traded Rob Klinkhammer, waived Kyle Chipchura and demoted David Schlemko a week ago?
"I can take the losses if the losses are out of simply being out-skilled, but what I can't accept is getting outcompeted."
Maloney wasn't at Gila River Arena on Saturday when the Coyotes fell to the Minnesota Wild, 4-3 in a shootout. He was back east to take in junior, AHL and NHL games, but the Coyotes general manager would have been pleased with the competitive level his team showed despite dropping its ninth straight home game (0-6-3) and fifth straight game overall.
"If we play like that, night in night out, we'll get better results," coach Dave Tippett said. "We said the other night we're going to have to be harder to play against, and we were tonight. It's as simple as that."
Maybe it was Minnesota's speed that had the Coyotes so ready to play. Maybe eight straight home losses was enough reason for focus, but from the time the puck dropped, the Coyotes had more jump.
Granted, the Wild came in with their own set of issues including an already decimated defensive corps that lost Jared Spurgeon during warm-ups due to a stomach virus, but Arizona answered a normally deflating early goal by Minnesota with one of its own and the Coyotes kept pressing even when a bad bounce allowed the Wild to tie the game late in the second period.
Forward Lauri Korpikoski finished off a 3-on-1 rush by banging home his own rebound with 28 seconds left in the second period for a 3-2 Coyotes lead.
"We carried the play a lot," said center Antoine Vermette, who had a goal and an assist. "We've been talking about following up good shifts, wave after wave and I thought we did that for the most part.
"We were staying on the puck and winning battles. It's tough when you don't get the result you wished but it's a start and it's a process."
The point for Dubnyk gave him 12 points in his 11 starts. He earned this one, making a terrific save off a Thomas Vanek deflection and robbing Koivu in overtime with a glove save in tight.
"He gave us a chance to win," Tippett said. "That's all you want."
Dubnyk got winded by a Koivu shot late in the third period, but he was able to shake it off by the time the shootout started.
"He whipped it at the net and it just caught me right under the arm in my ribs and I couldn't get a breath in or out," Dubnyk said. "It was surprising how much it took the air out of me so I was just trying to keep my eye on what was going on."
"In hindsight, we probably should have done it a while ago," Tippett said of benching players to send messages. "We pushed and prodded but now we're to the point where we have to find results. If you're not willing to play to your capabilities then we'll find somebody else to try."