|Coyotes' lost season continues vs. Sharks|
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The Arizona Coyotes are running out of time.
Not to secure a playoff berth -- hopes of that vanished when the Coyotes lost their first 11 games. And not to get to the .500 mark, either.
It's the race to respectability, and they're losing badly.
The Coyotes have lost three straight games, 13 of 16 and 16 of 20 going into their Tuesday night game against the San Jose Sharks, who beat them 6-5 on Saturday night at SAP Center. It was a typical loss in a washout of a season for the Coyotes, who gave up the lead with 15 seconds remaining in regulation as forward Joonas Donskoi scored, then lost in overtime on defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic's goal.
"We have seven or eight guys play really good games," Coyotes coach Rick Tocchet said. "The problem is we had seven or eight guys play terrible games."
The extended problem is the Coyotes have had far more bad games than good ones, and they need a second-half surge to keep from experiencing one of the NHL's worst seasons in 20 years.
The Coyotes are 10-28-7 -- or 35 losses in 45 games -- and that means they're on pace to win only 18 games. No NHL team has won fewer than 20 games in a full season since the Atlanta Thrashers, now the Winnipeg Jets, won only 19 games in the 2001-02 season. And 18 wins would be the fewest by an NHL team since the expansion Thrashers won only 14 times in the 1999-2000 season.
What bothers Tocchet is so many of the losses are occurring in winnable games, with the Coyotes either leading or tied late in the third period only to have the game get away from them.
"It seems like our heart rate goes a million miles per hour (in such situations)," Tocchet said. "This is when you've really got to buckle down and be in the moment. And we kind of seem to lose (what they have going for them)."
The Sharks haven't done them any favors, either, beating them not only on Saturday but 3-1 on Nov. 22 at Gila River Arena.
San Jose will come in on a bit of a roll, having beaten the Los Angeles Kings 4-1 on Monday afternoon behind goalie Martin Jones' 35 saves and a goal and an assist from center Chris Tierney. Joe Thornton added an empty-net goal as San Jose ended 3-0-1 in the season series against Los Angeles.
San Jose has gained points in 13 of its last 15 games, and is 10-2-3 against Pacific Division teams. Arizona is only 1-7-4 against division opponents.
"You dial in a bit more when you're playing a rival and you're playing a division team," said Tierney, who has six points in his last six games, including three goals.
Arizona is only 5-14-2 on home ice, and goes on the road for five of its next eight following the Tuesday night game.
Antti Raanta (6-12-3, 2.73 goals-against average) is expected to be in net for Arizona. He is 2-1 with a 1.46 goals-against average in his career against San Jose. Jones was pulled Saturday against Arizona after stopping only three of the six shots he faced, though he rebounded Monday to get the win. Aaron Dell replaced him against Arizona and was credited with the victory after stopping 13 of 15 shots.