It seems the good news of staying in Arizona didn't have too much of an effect on the Phoenix Coyotes on Wednesday night. Opening a six-game road trip in New Jersey against the Devils, the Coyotes failed to show up in a 3-0 stinker of a loss to the lowly New Jersey squad.
It seems to be a common theme with Phoenix in recent weeks. We've seen it against teams like Nashville and Florida, which come in struggling, but find a way to get on track against the Yotes. Is it a lack of killer instinct? Is it just bad luck? Wednesday night seemed to display more of the latter.
For the most part, the game stayed even throughout, with neither team dictating the pace. Shots were even throughout, with both teams ending the game with 29. The difference was that the Devils managed to get some past Ilya Bryzgalov. Ilya Kovalchuk got the scoring started quickly, after the Coyotes failed to convert a power play chance. Kovy joined the New Jersey rush almost right after the power play ended, netting his sixth of the year.
The Devils would get another in the first to give them a 2-0 edge. After Scottie Upshall failed to convert a chance, the Devils took it right back down for Mark Fayne to tickle the twine for his first NHL goal. It was Kovalchuk with the backbreaker early in the third, potting his seventh of the year with the man advantage.
Martin Brodeur didn't look like a goalie who was having an abysmal year. The veteran stopped all 29 shots he faced, never really giving the Coyotes a chance to get back in the game. Shane Doan, who was the most eager of the Yotes to face Brodeur, was stoned on all five attempts.
For such an improved defensive unit, the shutout didn't bring out the best in numbers for the Phoenix blueliners. Each of their top four defenseman finished with a minus-1 rating, with only Oliver Ekman-Larsson and Sami Lepisto remaining even on the night.
A loss against a poor New jersey squad is certainly how Phoenix wanted to start off their road trip. They'll next head to New York, where the hot Rangers are waiting, having handed the high-powered Pittsburgh Penguins a beating in the Steel City. The Coyotes have work to do to get back on track.