Shootout miscues end Coyotes' two-game winning streak
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The first game back after a lengthy road trip can be a sloppy one. In coach Dave Tippett's eyes, the Coyotes took sloppy to new heights in a 2-1 shootout loss to Carolina on Thursday at Gila River Arena.
"(Assistant coach Newell) Brown keeps track of turnovers for us," Tippett said. "I think we had 25 in the second period. It was so sloppy it was almost entertaining."
Fortunately for the Coyotes, the Hurricanes kept trying to give it right back. It took Elias Lindholm's incredible shootout goal and three Coyotes shootout miscues before the game was decided.
Arizona rookie forward Lucas Lessio put a great move on Carolina goalie Cam Ward but lost control of the puck as he tried to tuck it in the far side, hitting the post instead. Sam Gagner lost control of the puck on his shootout attempt, and Antoine Vermette also rang iron as the Coyotes' modest two-game winning streak came to an end.
"We've had too many shootouts this year where we haven't scored," said Tippett. "It's pretty hard to win a shootout when you don't score."
The Coyotes haven't scored a shootout goal since Shane Doan's exploding stick trick vs. Anaheim on Dec. 27. They are 0-for-9 in the three shootouts they've played since then.
The win pulled Carolina within two points of Arizona for 27th in the NHL standings -- noteworthy because of the odds afforded each non-playoff team in the lottery to land the No. 1 pick and, presumably, center Connor McDavid.
Other than that, there were a few positives for the Coyotes. After allowing a goal on Carolina's first shot off a redirection, goalie Mike Smith stopped the next 39 he faced through regulation and overtime, including an incredible stop on Justin Faulk in overtime on which he was moving left, changed direction and extended his pad to get a toe on the puck.
"I didn't really think it was going to get through and then it was pretty much like an 'uh-oh' moment," Smith said. "I felt solid. I feel good about my game, but that game is over so I've got to worry about the next one."
The Coyotes got strong play from several young players, including Lessio and defenseman Andrew Campbell, who impressed Tippett with his physical presence in front of the net.
The feel-good story of the night, however, went to good-guy forward David Moss, who scored his first goal of the season in the first period using a new brand of stick called True Hockey.
"I came back from the road trip and I had couple different sticks in there," said Moss, who thinks he ordered samples before the All-Star break. "I figured it can't hurt to try one out. I'm not very superstitious but when you're snake-bit a little bit you'll try anything to get out of it."
It was Moss's first goal since April 13 of last year. That sort of accomplishment would normally warrant a ribbing from teammates, but Moss is such a good teammate and so well-liked in the locker room that he was apparently spared such treatment.
"The players were all real happy to see him score," Tippett said with a grin. "Hopefully, that's a sign of big things to come."