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Louis Pannone The Hockey Writers

Published on Wednesday, October 18, 2017

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Adin Hill’s Heroics Can’t Save Coyotes

It’s been a revolving door at the goaltending position for the Arizona Coyotes since the season began back on Oct. 5. Louis Domingue has been shelled every time he’s been on the ice. Antti Raanta looked good in his first appearance, but he’s since had a bad night in Las Vegas and has missed time with an injury. Now, with their third starting goaltender in six games, could Arizona have finally found a solution in net?

Adin Hill made his NHL debut on Tuesday night at the American Airlines Center against the Dallas Stars. The 21-year-old netminder played well for head coach Rick Tocchet, but, once again, the Coyotes faltered on the offensive end of the ice and dropped their sixth straight game to start the year, 3-1, to fall to 0-5-1 on the young season.

Arizona Coyotes goalie Adin Hill

Despite the loss, Arizona Coyotes goaltender Adin Hill played well in his NHL debut in Dallas, stopping 31 of the 33 shots he faced. (Candice Ward-USA TODAY Sports)

However, the game was much closer than the box score will indicate – despite the final 3-1 margin, Hill was beaten just twice on 33 shots as Dallas added an empty-netter late in the game for their third goal of the contest. Hill more than proved that he belongs in the NHL – he nearly stole the game for the Coyotes and likely earned himself some more future work in net as a result of his solid performance.

Related: Coyotes Turn to Hill to Solve Goaltending Issues

Coyotes Struggling to Score

Although Hill played well enough to win the game, the Coyotes failed, yet again, to support their goaltender on the offensive end of the ice. Tuesday was the fifth time in six games so far this season that Arizona failed to score more than two goals. They scored four goals in two periods against the Ducks in the season opener, but have scored just eight times in the 16 periods they’ve played since.

That isn’t even close to being good enough, and the Coyotes will need to significantly improve on the offensive end of the ice in order to have a chance to win games. Arizona’s effort during the first two periods on Tuesday seemed to be lacking as well – the Desert Dogs generated just 13 shots on goal in the first 40 minutes before exceeding that total with 15 in the third period alone.

Generating five scoring chances through two periods simply isn’t acceptable in the NHL. Neither is allowing 15 scoring chances the other way, for that matter, but we’ll leave that conversation for another time.

Either way, despite their lackluster first and second periods on Tuesday, the Coyotes vastly improved in the third frame, but, by then, their efforts were a day late and a dollar short. Stars netminder Ben Bishop yielded just one goal in the game – a screened shot from Jason Demers – and made big saves when he had to in order to get his team the victory. The Stars were the better team on Tuesday, and they deserved the win.

Related: Monday Morning Howl: Coyotes Still Winless After Two Weeks

More Missed Opportunities

The Coyotes did have their chances to beat Bishop in the game, though, but they just couldn’t find a way to bury any of their looks. They had a golden opportunity to tie the game early in the third period, as Dallas was called for back-to-back minor penalties 1:43 apart. As a result, the Coyotes had a long power play, including 17 seconds of 5-on-3 time, but they were unable to take advantage.

Derek Stepan also had a chance to tie the game late off of a 2-on-1 rush, but his shot hit the pipe after getting through Bishop. Stepan’s shot was a microcosm of what the entire season has been like far for the Coyotes – close, but no cigar. Tocchet spoke about his team’s performance after the game:

The Coyotes will have a chance to redeem themselves at Gila River Arena on Thursday, as they’ll host the same Dallas team that caused them so many problems on Tuesday. Arizona has now dropped 10 straight contests at the American Airlines Center, so a return to Glendale could tilt things in the Yotes’ favor come game time.

The biggest question for Thursday’s contest is goaltending – will Tocchet turn things back over to Domingue, who has struggled badly in four appearances this season? Or did Hill do enough on Tuesday to earn a second consecutive start in net?


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