The Coyotes showed at least a little bit of the East Coast the difference between the Coyotes of the past and the Coyotes of the present. While the game certainly shifted between the two squads, The Coyotes were able to come out on top by finding some quality chances on Martin Brodeur and the rest of the New Jersey Devils. It seemed as though the ice was tilted all night though as 6 of the 7 total goals were scored on the tunnel side of the ice (Coyotes attack twice).
The first period got off to a good start with the Coyotes pushing most of the play. The official that counts the shots must have been still getting set up or something though as While the Devils started racking up the shots the Coyotes only had 1 for quite some time though Brodeur sure was stopping a lot of pucks that didn't count as saves I guess. That wouldn't really matter all that much though as the Coyotes push enough to get two first period goals. The first from Matthew Lombardi as he crashed the net on Keith Yandle's point shot. Brodeur didn't really have much of a chance as the shot looked to have been going wide but went in perfectly on Lombardi's blade to get it past. Peter Mueller, who seems to be breaking out of his funk, got a Devils turnover near the blueline and kicked it into fifth gear to break past the Devils defense and then fake Brodeur out on the breakaway for just his 3rd goal of the season. While plenty of fans have been ragging on the kid, that's the type of goal that can really turn things around for a player. That's how the First period would end, Coyotes 2 - Devils 0.
In the second the flow of the game just went the complete opposite direction. While the Coyotes and the crowd had been flying high, the Devils just got back to work. While Ilya Bryzgalov played a very good game overall, the Coyotes really let the game get away from them. That will happen when you can only muster 1 shot in the entire period. That was just unacceptable no matter how the other team is playing you. Anyhow, The Devils would come back since they possessed the puck for much of the second and score twice to tie things up on goals from Brian Rolston and Travis Zajac. 2-2 and the end of the second.
Neither team wanted to give up control of the game going into the third period as the teams both got some alright shots, but the first half of the period was just back and forth and trading shots. With 8:08 left in the period Daniel Winnik charged hard to the net and tipped in a pass from Vernon Fiddler off of Mark Frazier's stick. Winnik took a hard stick to the face on his way in though. Frazier got a double minor, but somehow it was ruled that the goal would erase the first 2 minutes of the power play even though it seemed like the goal was in before the penalty call. It didn't matter much to Phoenix though as on the ensuing power play Zbynek Michalek slapped one in from the point to make it 4-2. Shortly thereafter though, the Devils' Brian Rolston scored again to narrow the lead to one goal. It wouldn't be enough though as the Coyotes locked down on D with Brodeur out for the extra attacker and the Devils never really got much going even 6 on 5.
The Good: Peter Mueller looking more like the Petey we used to love. Bryzgalov making some nice saves early to set the tone and give the team some confidence. Goals from crashing the net. We don't get those enough and maybe that shows them, what they need to do to score. (Though probably not...) Breaking though the top team in the East. Maybe that grabs some more media attention. The play out of the corners looked a lot better and that transferred to the power play.
The Bad: Not a lot was bad last night. The second period will go in the next category, but one thing that was most apparent then was our sudden inability to get it into the zone. the 1-2-2 the Devils were playing was locking us out once we brought the puck up. It was worst in the 2nd period, but in the 3rd we started to crack it. We need to be faster to make adjustments to those types of strategies though.
The Ugly: Shooting. That 2nd period was god awful. 1 shot. 1?! I mean, come on... I can understand a low shooting game, but 1 all period? That's just unacceptable.I did like how quality the shots we took were, and not because we tic-taced to get them, but because we just found better places to go to on the ice.
The Video Evidence