Their six-game winning streak has come to a screeching halt, but the Phoenix Coyotes won’t have to wait long for a prime chance at another victory.
The upstart Coyotes return home Monday to face the NHL-worst Edmonton Oilers, who will need a victory to avoid the first double-digit string of road losses in franchise history.
Phoenix’s longest winning streak of the season included impressive road wins over Detroit and Chicago and strengthened the team’s bid for its first playoff berth since 2002, but the Coyotes ran out of gas in a 4-0 loss at Dallas on Saturday night.
Playing just 24 hours after a 2-1 shootout win over the Blackhawks, Phoenix (35-19-5) fell behind early and never recovered, missing out on a chance to sweep a four-game road trip.
“Our whole group looked tired tonight without a doubt,” Coyotes coach Dave Tippett said. “(Friday) night’s game took a huge toll on us. We went to overtime, then late travel. And you’ve got a fresh team sitting here, you know they’re going to come hard at you.”
The Coyotes are still tied with Los Angeles for fourth place in the Western Conference, but they’re looking for improvement offensively after totaling one goal in their last three games. They needed a shootout to beat Nashville 1-0 on Tuesday.
Phoenix’s power play went 0 for 6 against the Stars and has converted just once in 20 chances (5.0 percent) in the team’s last five games.
“We’ve got to regroup and get back to playing the way we can,” Tippett said. “I’d still like to see our execution a little better, but it wasn’t there (Saturday).”
The Coyotes have fared better offensively at Jobing.com Arena, where they are 21-8-2 overall and 15-3-2 in their last 20 home games despite the league’s worst average attendance. A victory Monday would be their fourth straight home win.
In hindsight, getting to overtime was an achievement for Edmonton, which is 3-20-2 in its last 25 games. That stretch includes nine straight regulation road losses since a 5-3 win at St. Louis on Dec. 11.
The Oilers also lost nine straight on the road Feb. 25-April 5, 2007, matching the team record set in 1980, but they have never dropped 10 in a row away from home.
A lack of offense has been the main problem outside of Alberta, with the Oilers totaling nine goals in the nine losses and scoring two or fewer in each of them. They were held to 20 shots on goal in a 3-0 loss at Colorado on Saturday night in the second stop on a five-game trip.
Goalie Jeff Deslauriers, who has mostly struggled filling in for injured starter Nikolai Khabibulin(notes), stopped 39 of 41 shots against the Avalanche and the Oilers were within a goal until the final three minutes, but they crumbled late while losing a 20th straight game against a West opponent.
“We compete well with some teams for a while then we disappear,” Edmonton coach Pat Quinn said. “As a coach you start thinking we should have 15, 16 more wins based on how we’ve played some nights, but we don’t. That margin between winning and losing is eluding us right now. We find ways to lose, not ways to win.”