Any joy the Phoenix Coyotes received from getting goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov back between the pipes was short-lived on Tuesday night. The Yotes came out flat against the division rival Anaheim Ducks, losing their home first game in over two weeks by a count of 3-1.
The Yotes couldn't keep the Ducks off the board early, and it cost them. While they played better in the latter two-thirds of the game, the three goal first from Anaheim proved to be a backbreaker for Phoenix.
Luca Sbisa and Joffrey Lupul scored goals just about four minutes apart in the first half of the opening period. While the Coyotes were able to stop Ryan Getzlaf and Bobby Ryan, they couldn't stop Corey Perry, who tickled the twine for his 20th of the season.
It wasn't as if the Coyotes didn't have their chances. They outshot the Ducks 32-24 and had five power play opportunities, compared to just three for the Ducks. The Yotes were able to capitalize on just one of those opportunities, with Shane Doan netting the lone Phoenix goal on a 5-on-3.
If you subtract that first period, the Coyotes played a sound game against their Pacific Division rivals. They allowed just 15 shots in those periods, including just six in the third, getting off 23 shots of their own in that span. They also didn't make the mistakes that had cost them in game recently, going on the penalty kill just three times.
In the end, it wasn't penalties or defensive breakdowns that cost the Coyotes throughout this game, it was their slow start. The Ducks got on the board fast and wouldn't allow Phoenix back in it. Jonas Hiller didn't make things any easier on Phoenix either, making 31 saves to recover from his disappointing start on Sunday.
The Coyotes will have little time to rebound from a loss like this. They'll turn right around and host the Los Angeles Kings, who made a mockery of Hiller on Sunday. You can bet that Dave Tippett will have them coming out swinging, as this ship needs righting sooner rather than later.