The new 2018/19 season has begun, and it has yet to show a win for the Arizona Coyotes.
Season opener was a disappointing loss
Starting out against the tough Dallas Stars who the Coyotes have had a terrible time winning a game against of late, was not ideal. The Yotes have yet to figure out the Stars and the last time they beat them was March 24, 2016.
The Stars have won eight of ten contests dating back to the 2015/16 campaign. That's quite a run, and the first game of this new season wasn't any different.
Giving up three unanswered goals in the middle frame was not a formula for winning this game. The part which really hurts is the Stars bunched up the three goals in a 1:36-time frame, which is difficult to recover from... and they never did.
It's not that the Coyotes didn't test goalie Ben Bishop.
30 shots on Bishop, but not one went by him.
So, it's just one game, right?
Home opener ended with the same result
Nothing like playing at home in front of a sellout crowd of 17,125 howling fans to inspire the players wearing their really spiffy Kachina jerseys, right?
Even though the Arizona team's effort was more spirited, the end result was another shutout... as in NO goals again!
They even peppered the Anaheim Ducks' goalie John Gibson with 41 shots, including 22 in the final period. To make matters worse the Coyotes had a power play for the last two minutes of the game, which then turned into a 5-on-3. They even pulled goalie Antti Raanta to gather a 6-on-3 advantage... to no avail.
"We haven't scored a goal yet and that's the elephant in the room, but once we break the seal we'll get things rolling here," defenseman Kevin Connauton said after Monday's practice at the Ice Den. "We've just got to figure out ways to put pucks in the back of the net. As a group, we have to make sure we stay focused on that this week, start scoring and pick up a win. There's no doubt in this group. We're motivated to change this storyline as fast as we can."
To show the dominance of play in the game Derek Stepan had seven shots on goal and Richard Panik had nine. Some of those need to go in the net. Simple as that.
Some things will need adjustment, but head coach Rick Tocchet is not pressing the alarm button just yet.
Tocchet said he'd like to see the Coyotes increase the number of second-and third-effort chances they're getting. He also thinks they're playing "too fancy" and "forcing plays in the middle too much."
His post-game press conference stressed that this is just two games, but fans and critics may be thinking, "here we go again."
The haunting, scary thing which took place last season when the team went 0-11 to start the season has got to be in the back of the minds of the players who were here last season.
All of that can change with a win Wednesday night in Anaheim
To turn things around, the Coyotes get another chance to solve John Gibson when they battle the Anaheim Ducks again and get a few days off to mend their wounded warriors.
There is still no timetable for the return of injured centers Alex Galchenyuk and Christian Dvorak who are battling groin and back injuries respectfully.
The consequences have resulted in the offense suffering and once those two are back things should turn around significantly.
The team just can't repeat its woes of last season when they didn't post a win until October 30, 2017. That hole was deep and the recovery long and painful.
The way the Arizona club ended their season last year it was nothing but good vibes contemplating the start of the new season. Adding such quality players as Galchenyuk, Vinnie Hinostroza and Jordan Oesterle had the fans pumped that this season would be different.
It still could be... two games does NOT make a season!
Do you think the Arizona Coyotes will snap out of their early-season slump and win a game... or score a goal? Let us know in the comment section below, and make sure to follow us on Twitter (@VAVELNHL_ENG) for more updates.