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Senators, Coyotes face off in battle of losing streaks

Oct 22, 2022; Ottawa, Ontario, CAN; Arizona Coyotes left wing Mathias Maccelli (63) and Ottawa Senators center Josh Norris (9) play for the puck in the third period at the Canadian Tire Centre. Mandatory Credit: Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports

The reeling Arizona Coyotes will try to halt a six-game losing streak when they host the Ottawa Senators on Thursday.

The Coyotes’ 4-2 loss to the San Jose Sharks on Tuesday marked yet another blown lead in defeat. The Coyotes held a 2-1 advantage going into the first intermission, but the Sharks then scored three unanswered goals.

Arizona has led in four of the six losses.

“Obviously we know we’re struggling to get a win, and I think it just comes to certain moments in the game,” said forward Christian Fischer, who scored his eighth goal of the season. “We’re up 2-1 and we’ve got find a way (to) pressure them and don’t let them come back in the game. We can’t find a way to get that next goal, that extra insurance, a two-goal lead, or a three-goal lead.”

The Coyotes have a modest 10-5-2 record (.588) when scoring first in games this season — one of the lower such winning percentages in the NHL.

Forward Barrett Hayton has been a silver lining during the winless drought. Hayton has eight points (three goals, five assists) in his last seven games.

A struggling power play has been one of the reasons for Arizona’s recent slump. The Coyotes are 0-for-8 with the extra attacker over their last four games.

Breaking out of this power-play slump could be difficult against Ottawa’s excellent penalty-kill unit. The Senators are a perfect 20-for-20 on kills over their last seven games, and 44-for-46 against opposing power plays in their last 15 games.

Unfortunately for Ottawa, special teams superiority hasn’t provided much benefit during a two-game losing streak. After an 8-4 rout at the hands of the Seattle Kraken on Saturday, the Senators faced a different kind of frustration in Monday’s 3-0 loss to the Nashville Predators.

Despite 38 shots on net, the Senators couldn’t solve Predators goalie Juuse Saros, who handed Ottawa its first shutout defeat of the season. The Senators didn’t help themselves with an 0-for-5 performance on the power play, as well as 15 giveaways.

“We turned it over a little bit too much,” Senators forward Austin Watson said. “They were pretty tight in their game plan, and when we veered just slightly from ours, (the mistakes) tended to go in the back of our net.”

As the Senators begin a three-game road trip, Watson felt his team can get on track by deploying a more “simple” approach when playing in enemy territory. Recent results would tend to agree, as Ottawa is 6-3-1 in its last 10 road games.

Cam Talbot stopped 33 of 36 shots on Monday but came up short in the goaltending duel with Saros. Talbot’s performance could earn him another start, or the Senators could turn to Anton Forsberg between the pipes.

Karol Vejmelka is 0-5-0 with a 4.74 goals-against average in his last five games for Arizona. It wouldn’t be surprising if the Coyotes started backup goalie Connor Ingram on Thursday, but they could also start Vejmelka and then save Ingram for when the team plays back-to-back games this weekend.

In the teams’ first meeting of the season, the Senators collected a 6-2 win over the Coyotes in Ottawa on Oct. 22.

–Field Level Media