On Tuesday, Arizona head coach Dave Tippett expressed disappointment in his club’s goaltending following a game in which they allowed seven goals.
Stop us if you’ve heard this one before.
Ten days ago, Tippett did the exact same thing — after Arizona allowed seven goals in a loss to Columbus.
Last night’s game, a 7-5 defeat to the Blackhawks, was a shining example in which the two netminders tasked with trying to replace the injured Mike Smith — Anders Lindback and Louis Domingue — simply weren’t up to it.
Lindback started, and allowed three goals on five shots in the opening period.
That paved the way for Domingue, who allowed three goals on 17 shots, including this ugly one:
More, from Fox Sports Arizona:
“The fourth goal, we felt like we’re looking to change momentum, hopefully Louis can get in there and give us some saves; it didn’t turn out that way,” Tippett said. “You’re 3-2, you’re looking to build on a decent first period other than our penalty kill and all of a sudden that one goes in. There’s a big sag there.”
When asked about the decision to switch from Lindback to Domingue after the first period, Tippett said he felt it was an obvious decision.
“The goalie’s job is to stop the puck,” he said. “Three on five shots — maybe tactically he did everything right. We just need some more saves.”
Coyotes GM Don Maloney has been openly vocal about his willingness to go out and get a goalie, especially if Lindback and Domingue can’t get the job done.
“We’re looking at everything and anything,” Maloney said back on Dec. 17, per AZ Central. “We are looking. If there’s a way to get a top-end goaltender that’s a long-term value to the franchise, we’re willing to pay up an asset for that.”
Smith, who underwent core muscle surgery earlier this month, isn’t expected back until around March.
The Coyotes are in a tricky spot here. This is obviously a young, rebuilding club, and there’s no denying they’d like a shot at Arizona native Auston Matthews in next year’s draft. So in that sense, spending an asset on a goalie that will help win games — and, in the process, lower chances at the Matthews sweepstakes — isn’t a terrific idea.
That said, Arizona is cognizant of creating a good, healthy environment for young talents Max Domi and Anthony Duclair. Bad goaltending, most of it from Smith, saw the club struggle through a disastrous ’14-15 season in which the Coyotes lost 58 times and finished 29th in the NHL.
And it also has to be noted that, in the ultra-weak Pacific Division, making the playoffs this year certainly isn’t out of question.
Even with last night’s loss, the Coyotes remain sitting second in the division with a 17-16-3 record, and 37 points.