What's that old saying? If it weren't for bad luck, we'd have no luck at all?
Well, the Arizona Coyotes experienced as much bad luck as they could handle while nosediving to their fifth straight loss to the hands of the New Jersey Devils on Tuesday night.
Head Coach/V.P. of Hockey Operations Dave Tippett decided to roll the dice and see if back up to the back up goalie Justin Peters could fare better than Louis Domingue has shown lately.
For the most part the Coyotes came out well early again, only to deflate in the middle frame, and crash and burn in the final stanza.
Here's a rundown of how it went in New Jersey.
First period motivated play
The Yotes really seemed interested in getting off to a good start in this contest, and they did just that when their hottest player Jordan Martinook buried a shot off a rebound of a blast from the point by Alex Goligoski. Jamie McGinn, in his first appearance after recovering from an injury, got the other helper at 7:04 of the period.
The Devils got that one back when newly acquired Taylor Hall scored 1:39 later to knot the score. It was Hall's fourth goal since coming over to New Jersey from the Edmonton Oilers.
The Coyotes though were the aggressor in this period and had 13 shots on net to the Devils six.
All in all it was a good period of hockey for the Arizona club, giving them hopes that their doldrums were ending.
It was tied at one at the end of the first period.
Second period downfall
Taylor Hall put a hole in that theory, as he scored a power play goal at 9:40 of the second, when Arizona defenseman Luke Schenn could not stop Hall or the puck from getting by him. He picked the left side of the net to beat Peters clean for his fifth goal of the campaign.
He is a true goal scorer, just what the Devils needed.
The New Jersey crew weren't done yet, and scored again at the 14:03 mark when Adam Henrique got a freebie by having his skate in the right place when Reid Boucher shot it wide of the net. Peters never had a chance, as the disc changed directions drastically.
Bad luck goal number one.
Devils scored twice more, giving New Jersey a 3-1 advantage..
Third period heroics/misfortune
When a team is down, they go to their go-to player to help them catch up. It seems the Coyotes have been doing lots of catchup so far this new season, which is part of their dilemma.
Oliver Ekman-Larsson came to the rescue, not once but twice to get the Coyotes back in the game.
How does he do that?
Both goals he scored were from out near the blue-line through a ton of traffic, yet his shots manage to find paydirt.
The first goal at 7:51 was set up by Max Domi's pass from the right boards on OEL's stick, and as usual he made no mistake about it. New Jersey allowed the next OEL goal by giving the Coyotes a man advantage compliments of Kyle Quincey's interference call at 13:06.
The second OEL goal at 13:53 was again shot through a maze of players, and one of them was huge Martin Hanzal blocking Cory Schneider's view. Michael Stone also assisted on both of Ekman-Larsson's tallies.
It looks like Stone is back, he collected 24:29 minutes of playing time in this game to show his stamina is not a factor after a long layoff due to knee surgery.
Here's the bad luck part
Connor Murphy got called at 17:20 of the last period for high sticking Michael Cammalleri, who stands 5" 9". Murphy is 6' 4". If anything it was a one-handed high stick.
But the real injustice occurred right after that play when Martin Hanzal was hit in the face by Pavel Zacha, making it appear that both teams were penalized, or the Coyotes would get a power play.
Except that was not how it went down. Instead, the referee did not call anything on Zacha, and the Devils got a power play courtesy of the ref.
The game was decided when Travis Zajac scored from the right face-off circle area on a shot which got through the five-hole of Peter's pads giving the Devils the lead 4-3.
These five-hole goals are driving Coach Tippett crazy.
But, wait, there's more.
So, the Coyotes pulled Peters for the extra skater, and Zajac was the recipient of another gift from the linesman, this time when his inadvertent pass went down the ice for a sure icing call.
Except the linesman got in the way of the puck, and it went right over to Zajac for an easy empty netter.
Bad luck goal number two.
Well, the Coyotes' bench was incensed, and so was Ekman-Larsson, whose personal comeback was wiped out by two unfortunate bad luck occurrences.
In the end, there is no putting the fact to bed that the Coyotes still lost the game. There is no reversing a missed call, or a linesman failing to get out of the path of a flying puck.
The end result is a disastrous road trip, which now moves on to Philadelphia where a Flyer team awaits revenge for their first game loss to the Yotes on October 15th.
Head Coach Dave Tippett's remarks at his press conference
Commenting on the call which was not made when Hanzal was hit in the face, Tippett left no doubt of his feelings, which decided the game.
"Yeah it was a terrible call, If they're going to call Murphy for cross-checking when he had one hand on his stick, then they probably should have called the two-hander to Hanzal's face. That's so... I can't even believe that happened at that point in the game. I understand you want to make the call on Murphy, but make the call the call on Hanzal. But the one on Murphy is not even, I mean it's...that's a poor, poor call."
His response to the goal scored on Peters through the five-hole to give the Devils the lead he responded, "yeah that's a stoppable puck. Three games in a row."