Missed chances cost Coyotes in strong effort against Red Wings

BY foxsports • February 8, 2015

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Mikkel Boedker on Saturday joked that if it were up to him, the Coyotes forward would have been back in the lineup when the team hosted the Detroit Red Wings at Gila River Arena.

It's hard to imagine Boedker taking such a risk the rest of this season with just two months left, 20 pounds off his frame and a nasty scar still serving as a daily reminder of the splenectomy he underwent three weeks ago.

On the other hand, the Coyotes sure could have used Boedker's recent scoring touch against the Wings. In a game that came down to one team converting a power play chance and the other failing to do so, Detroit walked away with a 3-1 win that left Arizona 0-1-1 on this two-game homestand following a 3-1-1 road trip.

"I thought we competed hard and our power play had some good looks," Coyotes coach Dave Tippett said. "We couldn't capitalize and our penalty kill was actually alright. We had the one hiccup where we turned the puck over and it ended up in the back of our net."

That one hiccup came on Detroit's second power play of the game with defenseman Andrew Campbell off for roughing on a call that probably should have resulted in coincidental minors.

Center Antoine Vermette had a chance to clear the zone but could not. Pavel Datsyuk fed Riley Sheahan in the high slot and Sheahan unleashed an absolute bomb past goalie Mike Smith's glove for a 1-0 lead at the 8:11 mark of the second period.

Detroit boasted the NHL's top-ranked power play at 25.8 percent entering the game. Through Saturday's game, the Red Wings have 14 power-play goals on their 44 chances (31.8 percent) since New Year's Day. Giving them six chances wasn't in the script.

"This is usually something you want to avoid," Vermette said. "A good team is going to make you defend a little more than you want. For the most part, we did a good job, but when good players are out there a little more, they start feeling it and get better chances."

The Coyotes had five of their own power plays and generated plenty of chances, but goalie Peter Mrazek was a tough nut to crack. The biggest of his 22 saves came on a Martin Erat penalty shot at the 11:38 mark of the third period with Detroit still clinging to a 1-0 lead.

Erat was awarded the shot after Datsyuk slashed him on a short-handed breakaway but Mrazek got the low attempt with his blocker.

"It jumped on me," Erat said. "I just tried to pull it back and get it high but it wasn't there."

Right winger Tomas Tatar gave Detroit an insurance goal with three minutes left in the third period. Red Wings left winger Darren Helm stole the puck from Coyotes defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson at the far blue line and fed Tatar, streaking to the net. Tatar's snap shot caromed off the post and past Smith, who made 24 saves in a third straight strong effort.

Ekman-Larsson answered 1:06 later with his career-high 16th goal of the season, but Helm added an empty-netter and Ekman-Larsson wasn't in the mood to talk about his milestone goal after his earlier miscue.

"It's hard to be happy about that right now," he said, before turning his attention to the turnover. "I was looking up for a second and it was gone pretty quick. It was just a bad bounce."

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