Rick Tocchet said the Arizona Coyotes were embarrassed by a 7-1 loss to the Colorado Avalanche on Monday in Game 4 of the Western Conference First Round, and the coach questioned if they even want to stay in Edmonton, a hub city for the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
“It was just a total debacle,” Tocchet said. “We had some guys that looked like they haven’t played before, and I don’t have an answer right now. It’s on me. I thought these guys were prepared. We had a good day [Sunday], a good video session [Monday]. You know, this whole bubble thing, it’s who wants to stay. You can tell who wants to go home, and for this game, we looked like we wanted to go home. We’ll see the next game.”
Colorado leads the best-of-7 series 3-1, the 13th time it has been in that position. It won 10 of the previous 12 series, seven in Game 5. The Coyotes have not won any of the previous six series they have trailed 3-1.
Arizona faces elimination in Game 5 at Rogers Arena on Wednesday (5: 30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, NHLN, SN360, ALT, FS-A, FS-A PLUS).
“It was men against boys [Monday],” Tocchet said. “Saying that, we lost one game. I’m going to give the positive turn on it. We lost one game. Yeah, I know everybody’s going to say, ‘You’ve got no chance the next game.’ But I’m looking for some character for some guys.”
The Avalanche have dominated the series, averaging 37.2 shots per game to the Coyotes’ 21.0.
The Coyotes had 14 shots on goal losing Game 1 3-0, one of 57 times a team had 14 or fewer in a postseason game (since 1959-60).
This was the fourth time a team allowed at least seven goals in a playoff game while also taking 15 or fewer shots. The Toronto Maple Leafs lost to the Philadelphia Flyers 7-2 on May 2, 2004 (11 shots); the Los Angeles Kings lost to the Edmonton Oilers 13-3 on April 9, 1987 (14 shots); and the Calgary Flames lost to the Vancouver Canucks 7-0 on April 7, 1984 (15 shots).
With Colorado leading 4-1 and outshooting Arizona 22-9 after two periods Monday, Tocchet pulled goalie Darcy Kuemper, who made 49 saves when Arizona won 4-2 in Game 3 on Saturday. Backup Antti Raanta, who was unfit to play earlier in the series, allowed two goals on the next three shots. Tocchet called time out 2: 57 into the third period with the score 6-1.
“I was just disappointed for our goalies,” Tocchet said. “That’s the one thing that hurts. We let [Kuemper] hang to dry. The guy’s been superhuman for us. Then [Raanta], obviously coming from an injury, let him hang to dry.”
Tocchet had nothing else to say to the players afterward.
“I’d talked enough,” he said. “I tried the first and second [intermissions], so I didn’t talk to them after the game. We’ll talk [Tuesday]. They know. They know what they’ve got to do the next 24, 36 hours to reboot yourself.”
It hasn’t helped the Coyotes that forward Nick Schmaltz, who led Arizona in the regular season with 45 points (11 goals, 34 assists), has been unfit to play in the series. It didn’t help them Monday that forward Conor Garland, who led Arizona with 22 goals, left in the first period.
But the list of problems is long. The Coyotes gave the Avalanche seven power plays and allowed three goals Monday, while they went 1-for-4 on the power play. Tocchet talked about missed passes and poor pinches.
“It’s everything,” he said.
Tocchet said it’s his job to find something to motivate them.
“Let’s face it,” he said. “Any time you come with an effort like this and you get embarrassed, you’ve got to somehow get this team reenergized tomorrow. This game’s about energy, and 24 hours later, a lot of things can happen, and that’s what we’re looking for. That’s the silver lining right now.”