With multiple injuries and being defensively shutdown, the Arizona Coyotes (8-7-2) fell to the Winnipeg Jets 5-2 inside Canada Life Centre on Nov. 18.
On Thursday, the Coyotes went to Columbus and came out with a 3-2 victory over the Blue Jackets.
During the game, Arizona forwards Matias Maccelli (upper body) and Barrett Hayton (upper body) suffered separate injuries in Ohio and didn’t return.
Even though Hayton’s injury will keep him out week-to-week, Maccelli made a quick turnaround to play tonight after he was hit in the face by a shot from ‘Yotes teammate Nick Bjugstad.
The absence of Hayton introduced an opportunity for Coyotes left wing Miloš Kelemen to enter the lineup.
Also, Arizona center Travis Boyd slotted into the No. 1 center spot left vacant by Hayton as Boyd was between forwards Clayton Keller and Nick Schmaltz.
On the other side, Winnipeg were wrapping-up a five-game home stand against the Coyotes coming off of a 3-2 win over the Buffalo Sabres last night.
With the Jets being two points above the ‘Yotes in the Central Division, both teams understood that this contest was crucial when looking at the standings.
Both teams would keep the puck either out wide or at center ice, but no offense occurred to begin.
Eventually, Coyotes defenseman Michael Kesselring fired it at Jets goaltender Laurent Brossoit’s chest to get the first shot of the game 4:09 in.
A few small opportunities went towards ‘Yotes goalie Karel Vejmelka, but he stood tall.
After a defensive battle between both teams for the majority of the first period, three fortunate bounces of the puck wound up going into the net.
From the point, Moser tried to pass the puck to Maccelli in front of the Jets goal.
However, the puck ricocheted off of a Winnipeg player’s skate before Maccelli was fortunate enough to tap it in and score to give the Coyotes a 1-0 lead with 5:07 left in the initial frame.
— Arizona Coyotes (@ArizonaCoyotes) November 19, 2023
Then, Jets center Mark Scheifele had the puck, lost control of it before firing a backhanded shot past Vejmelka to tie the game 1-1 with 2:57 remaining.
0:58 later, Winnipeg forward Vladislav Namestnikov simply dumped the puck from the Coyotes’ blue line.
Vejmelka went behind the net to try and play it to a teammate.
But, Namestnikov skated and gained control of the puck before trying to pass it.
Unfortunately for the ‘Yotes, left wing Lawson Crouse attempted to defend in front of the crease, but the pass by Namestnikov took a fortuitous bounce off Crouse’s skate before entering the goal for Winnipeg to gain a 2-1 advantage.
Once the buzzer sounded, both teams ended with 11 shots on-net each.
Like more than half of the first period, the defense was frustrating both offenses.
Speeding out of the Coyotes zone, center Nick Schmaltz skated towards center ice before passing the puck to teammate Travis Boyd.
With a 2-on-2 opportunity, Boyd sent a saucer-pass to defenseman Matt Dumba who would bury it to knot the game up, 2-2 6:08 into the middle frame.
— Arizona Coyotes (@ArizonaCoyotes) November 19, 2023
Following Dumba’s goal, Arizona would get a power-play after Jets forward Mason Appleton tripped Arizona center Nick Bjugstad.
On the man-advantage, ‘Yotes defenseman Sean Durzi pinched offensively and received a pass for a one-timer, but whiffed.
Moving on, the Coyotes kept Winnipeg’s best player quiet throughout the first-half of the game.
Soon, Jets left wing Kyle Connor was not going to continue being denied.
Bolting from the right, Connor bursted towards Vejmelka before sniping the puck to the top-left corner of the net and over Vejmelka’s glove to help Winnipeg go up 3-2 with 8:34 remaining.
Additionally, Connor became the NHL’s leading goal-scorer after recording his 14th of the season.
Coyotes bruiser Liam O’Brien and Jets defenseman Brenden Dillon got into a fight with 2:43 remaining in the second before both were kicked out for the rest of the period.
Winnipeg came out hungry to get another goal on the board, but Vejmelka made three, key saves to keep the game close.
Trying to tie it, Bjugstad sent a puck towards Brossoit before the puck rang off the crossbar and deflected out with 16:38 on the clock.
Going the other way, Kesselring was the only defenseman back as the Jets had a 2-on-1 opportunity before Scheifele would set-up teammate Josh Morrissey for a one-timer to extend the score to 4-2 Jets 4:15 into the third period.
For 24:34, the Coyotes didn’t have a shot since the 6:08-mark in the second frame.
It wasn’t until O’Brien sent a shot at Brossoit to end the cold streak for Arizona with 13:33 left in regulation.
The offense for Arizona couldn’t get anything going for the remainder of the game.
To ice the contest, Jets forward Mason Appleton passed the puck into an empty-net to make it 5-2 Winnipeg with 2:30 left.
Winnipeg’s defense frustrated the Coyotes as Arizona couldn’t get back into the game since the halfway point of the second period.
As a result, the ‘Yotes only had 7 shots in the last-40 minutes of regulation.
Furthermore, a five-game point streak of Keller’s was snapped after having eight before tonight.
Scheifele led all players in points in the game as he had a goal and two assists for the Jets.
Additionally, Connor and Morrisey both scored a goal and recorded an assist.
Vejmelka gave up goals from two unfortunate bounces, a defensive breakdown and an unstoppable shot.
Regardless, Vejmelka would make 21 saves on the 25 shots he faced.
In contrast, Brossoitt’s night ended with 16 stops on 18 Coyote attempts.
Physically, the Jets outhit the ‘Yotes 21-19.
With the loss, the Coyotes fall to 8-7-2, but remain in fourth place in the Central Division with 18 points, at the time of reporting.
After finishing a five-game roadtrip, Arizona head home to Mullett Arena as they host the Los Angeles Kings on Nov. 20 at 7 p.m.