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Final Look: Coyotes' Early Advantage Overcome by Jets

Schmaltz scores twice in the first, Kuemper records 30 saves, Coyotes now three behind in wild-card race

by Alex Kinkopf @AEKinkopf / Game Recap

COYOTES' EARLY ADVANTAGE OVERCOME BY JETS

Despite establishing an early two-goal lead, the Coyotes couldn't sustain their leverage Monday night, ultimately falling to the Winnipeg Jets by a 4-2 final at Bell MTS Place.

Arizona now sits three points out of a wild-card playoff spot.

"It's obviously a frustrating loss, those [were] big points," said Nick Schmaltz , who had a phenomenal game against the Jets, netting both of the Coyotes' goals.

Schmaltz's first tally came with just under five minutes to play in the first period after he received a cross-ice feed from Phil Kessel and danced around front-net coverage to bury a shot from in-close to give the Coyotes a 1-0 lead.

With time winding down in the opening frame, Schmaltz added another, again cashing in from the front of the net as he shoveled home a rebound with :01.2 seconds left in the period to give the Coyotes a 2-0 advantage.

Kessel registered the primary assist on both goals.

The Jets chipped away in the second period for two goals to tie the game, 2-2.

Winnipeg took its first lead of the game, 3-2, with 8:27 left in the third period, and added an empty-netter with under a minute remaining in regulation.

"They come hard here at home, they have a lot of skilled players, I don't think we closed out enough guys," Schamltz added. "We have them a little bit too much time and space, and when you do that against high-end players, they're going to make you pay."

Darcy Kuemper stopped 30 of the 33 shots he faced in the loss.

The Coyotes open up a five-game home stand on Thursday night and will play eight of their final 12 regular season games at Gila River Arena, where they've gone 9-2-3 since New Year's Eve.

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TRACKING IT

GAME #70: ARIZONA (2) at WINNIPEG (4)

  • SOG: ARI - 38, WPG - 34
  • PP: ARI - 0/2, WPG - 0/2

ARIZONA SCORING:

WINNIPEG SCORING:

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THEY SAID IT

"Game by game, not looking too far, we've got another big test on Thursday against Vancouver, another team that's above us in the standings that we need to catch, so it starts there. We've got to put a streak of wins together if we want to have a chance here."

Nick Schmaltz , following Monday's 4-2 loss to Winnipeg

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DON'T OVERLOOK IT

THE SITUATION: Lawson Crouse's early-game jolt

Just over two minutes into Monday's game, Lawson Crouse came to the aid of his teammate to provide a shot of energy to a Coyotes team that would dictate play for the remainder of the first period.

Adam Lowry laid a big hit on Vinnie Hinostroza behind the Jets' net, and Crouse took exception, tracking down the Winnipeg forward to drop the gloves for an early-game center-ice fracas.

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GOTTA SEE IT

THE SITUATION: Nick Schmaltz's game-opening goal

Nifty moves, patience, and stellar puck placement led Nick Schmaltz to connect and give the Coyotes a 1-0 lead with less than five minutes to play in the first period.

After driving wide and receiving from Phil Kessel, Schmaltz froze Neal Pionk before stickhandling around the Jets defender and releasing an against-the-grain shot from below the left hash marks to score his 10th goal of the season.

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PHOTO FINISH

Bench breakdown. Christian Fischer walks through a sequence with teammates Vinnie Hinostroza and Brad Richardson while play is stopped during the first period of the Coyotes' 4-2 loss to the Winnipeg Jets on Monday night at Bell MTS Place. (Photo Credit: Jonathan Kozub - NHLI via Getty Images)

Lead Photo Credit: Darcy Finley - NHLI via Getty Images // GIF Highlight Footage: Fox Sports Arizona

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