Coy­otes flus­tered af­ter lat­est loss

Toc­chet not happy, says de­feat to Cap­i­tals was a ‘winnable’ game

The Arizona Republic - - Sports - Richard Morin

The Coy­otes made it abun­dantly clear that they aren’t in the busi­ness of moral vic­to­ries.

They aren’t happy about split­ting a sea­son se­ries against the Washington Cap­i­tals. They don’t care that their lat­est loss is to the de­fend­ing Stan­ley Cup cham­pi­ons. And they cer­tainly aren’t tak­ing pride in tak­ing them down to the fi­nal min­utes in a game they even­tu­ally lost by a 4-2 score on Thurs­day at Gila River Arena.

“I hope our play­ers are pissed be­cause the coach­ing staff is pissed,” Coy­otes head coach Rick Toc­chet said af­ter the game. “It’s not the good-old col­lege try.

These are games you’ve got to win. … It’s a winnable game. You guys saw it. We lost.”

Toc­chet has been hot in post-game press con­fer­ences be­fore, but Thurs­day was dif­fer­ent. This side of Toc­chet had been mostly re­served for the be­gin­ning of last sea­son when the team en­dured loss af­ter loss as they strug­gled to adapt to Toc­chet’s sys­tem at the be­gin­ning of last sea­son.

Mad Toc­chet hadn’t made an ap­pear­ance in quite a while. That was until the Coy­otes, who en­tered play Thurs­day with a four-game win streak, blew a 2-1 lead in the third pe­riod in a game that was ex­tremely winnable.

“It’s hard to win in this league, so that’s why the de­tails have to be there,” Toc­chet said. “Get sticks on pucks, go through peo­ple, go to the net, shoot the puck … These are de­tails you have to do, and good teams do that. I know we had four wins, but this is how you can get run.

“I mean, at least get it to over­time. I thought we just backed up, and I hate back­ing up when it’s 2-2. Play the same way you were most of the game. You don’t back up … It’s frus­trat­ing.”

On pa­per, you wouldn’t think a closely con­tested game against a qual­ity op­po­nent such as Washington would elicit such frus­tra­tion. But the Coy­otes don’t have the same at­ti­tude as last year. They ex­pect to win ev­ery night, and they’re un­der­stand­ably upset when they let points slip away.

Cap­i­tals for­ward An­dre Bu­rakovsky buried the game-win­ner with 4:42 left and Alex Ovechkin notched an emp­tynet­ter in the fi­nal sec­onds. The Coy­otes, who scored first in the game and had tons of scor­ing chances, just couldn’t piece to­gether a full 60 min­utes on Thurs­day.

“We started off look­ing re­ally fast with our break­outs and get­ting in on them and mak­ing a lot fo chaos in their end,” de­fense­man Alex Goligoski said. “And then we just got away from it a lit­tle bit. It hap­pens. It was one of those games where I thought it was right there for us. We just didn’t re­ally do enough to win it.

“It’s a frus­trat­ing one for sure. They could have been had out there tonight. I don’t think it was their best game. For us, I thought we had a good start. It wasn’t hor­ri­ble, it wasn’t bad, but we lost the mo­men­tum we had at the be­gin­ning of the game and that’s kind of how

Den’s di­gest

Cap­i­tals 4, Coy­otes 2. L1. 13-12-2, 6th in Pa­cific. 39-36-7, 85 points. Matt Niska­nen.

An­dre Bu­rakovsky’s game-win­ning goal at 15:18 of the third pe­riod.

3 — The num­ber of goals al­lowed by goal­tender Adin Hill, who had not al­lowed more than one goal in a sin­gle ap­pear­ance this sea­son.

“I hope our play­ers are pissed be­cause the coach­ing staff is pissed,” Coy­otes head coach Rick Toc­chet said af­ter the game. “It’s not the good-old col­lege try. These are games you’ve got to win. … It’s a winnable game. You guys saw it. We lost.” — Coy­otes head coach Rick Toc­chet.

The Coy­otes have cer­tainly had worse games, but you wouldn’t know that af­ter lis­ten­ing to Toc­chet af­ter Thurs­day’s game. Al­though they played a solid game for the most part, their over­all lack of ex­e­cu­tion and inat­ten­tion to de­tail doomed them in an ex­tremely winnable game.

“I Don’t Like Who I Was Then” by The Won­der Years.

it went.”

Toc­chet took is­sue with the Coy­otes’ in­abil­ity to cap­i­tal­ize on their chances in the first pe­riod. Al­though Chris­tian Fis­cher found the back of the net for his sixth goal of the sea­son on a per­fect feed by Derek Stepan, the Coy­otes whiffed on sev­eral key scor­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties.

One in par­tic­u­lar was a penalty shot awarded to Richard Panik, who missed the net and goal­tender en­tirely on his chance. Panik also passed up a point­blank shot and opted to pass to a team­mate, but a de­fender was there to steal it away.

“We missed a lot of chances in the first pe­riod,” Toc­chet said. “If we hit the net, we had a cou­ple chances to make it 3-0. I thought we were fine. We just needed guys to make some plays, quite frankly.”

Af­ter al­low­ing the go-ahead goal late in the third, Toc­chet short­ened his al­ready-short bench with­out Vin­nie Hi­nos­troza, who ex­ited the game with a lower-body in­jury.

The Coy­otes pulled goal­tender Adin Hill, who stopped 25 of 28 shots in his fourth con­sec­u­tive start, in the fi­nal minute and mounted a 6-on-5 in an at­tempt to tie the game. But they hardly came close to do­ing that.

“They made the play and we didn’t,” Toc­chet said, ref­er­enc­ing Washington’s go-ahead goal. “Even the 6-on-5, we’ve got to make that play. We can’t just slap it around. And it’s frus­trat­ing be­cause we have guys who can make plays.”

The Coy­otes clearly weren’t skat­ing like the co­he­sive unit that notched de­ci­sive vic­to­ries over the Min­nesota Wild, Nashville Preda­tors, St. Louis Blues and Los An­ge­les Kings in re­cent games, but nei­ther the play­ers nor Toc­chet were say­ing the Coy­otes were par­tic­u­larly bad on Thurs­day, ei­ther. 6 p.m.

Gila River Arena.

FSAZ/KMVP-FM (98.7). The Ari­zona Coy­otes (13-12-2) look to get back on track af­ter a loss Thurs­day when they wrap up a brief, two-game home­s­tand against the San Jose Sharks (14-10-5) on Satur­day at Gila River Arena. … The Coy­otes saw their four-game win streak snapped with a 4-2 home loss to the Washington Cap­i­tals on Thurs­day. … The Sharks will be play­ing on the sec­ond end of a backto-back on the road af­ter vis­it­ing the Dal­las Stars on Fri­day. … En­ter­ing play Fri­day, the Sharks had won each of their last two games but had lost five of eight over­all. … This is the first of four games be­tween the teams this sea­son with the Coy­otes slated to host the Sharks again on Jan. 16 be­fore trav­el­ing to San Jose on Dec. 23 and Feb. 2. … The Sharks are led in scor­ing by de­fense­man Brent Burns with 29 points (four goals, 25 as­sists) as well was for­wards Lo­gan Cou­ture with 27 points (eight goals, 19 as­sists) and Timo Meier with 26 points (14 goals, 12 as­sists).

Coy­otes goal­tender Adin Hill (31) makes a save on the Cap­i­tals’ Dmitrij Jaskin on Thurs­day night at Gila River Arena in Glen­dale.

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