The Phoenix Coyotes continued their bad habit of giving up late goals on Saturday night. This time they gave one up as late as is possible. Brad Richards scored on a backhander with 0.1 seconds left in the game to give the New York rangers a 3-2 victory. The loss was Phoenix's fourth in their last five games and leaves them out of the top eight in the West.
The first period was full of physical play as the Rangers came out with energy and speed. Part of their game play seemed to be to be physical with young Coyotes defensemen Oliver Ekman-Larsson. Captain Shane Doan came to OEL's defense after a Ryan Callahan check along the boards, but nothing happened penalty wise. At the 8:15 Taylor Pyatt took a hooking penlaty that lead less than 20 seconds later to a Marion gaborik goal. Gaborik received a beatiful outlet pass from Rangers defensemen Michael Del Zotto and then blew by a flat footed Adrian Aucoin to score on Coyotes goalie Mike Smith. This would not be the last of the Rangers power plays, however it would be the last they would score on. The Desert Dogs would score on a Rangers power play though. With 15 seconds left in the period the Yotes penalty kill unit forced the Rangers into a defensive zone draw. Boys Gordon won the faceoff and passed the puck back to Lauri Korpikoski who rifled a shot past Rangers goal Martin Biron. The period ended with the score tied at one a piece.
The Rangers owned much of the play the rest of the period and received a gift power play courtesy of Raffi Torres getting an extra two minutes for an altercation with the Ranger's Michael Rupp after Rupp elbowed Kyle Chipchura. The Desert Dogs forced the Rangers into a faceoff in their own end with just 15 seconds to go in the period. Boyd Gordon won the draw and passed the puck back to Lauri Korpikoski who rifled the puck past Rangers goalie Martin Biron to tie the game. Instead of the rangers at worst going to the locker room with a 1-0 lead, the period ended with the score tied.
The second period found the Coyotes gaining their stride and was a much more even period in terms of the action. Phoenix almost tied the game with less than six minutes to go on a Boyd Gordon shot, but Michael Del Zotto batted the puck away from the net. Less than 3 minutes later Ruslan Fedetenko was called for interference. No longer after the power play began Hugh Stralman was called for penalty. The Coyotes failed to score on the two man advantage. However, with time left in Stralman's penlaty Shane Doan took a shot that bounced up into the air and then hit his skate. The puck dflected to Cal O'Reilly who scored his first goal of the season. The period ended with the scored tie at one.
The 3rd period started much like the first with the Rangers pushing the pace. Keith Yandle whiffed on the puck to side of his own net just over a minute into the period. The puck squirted right onto the tape of Marion Gabokrik's stick. Gaborik scored his second goal of the game and the Rangers took a 2-1 lead. The Rangers kept the pressure on until about 6 minutes into the period. The Coyotes fourth line of Raffi Torres, Boyd Gordan, and Kyle Chipchura took charge a pinned the Rangers in their own end. They were followed onto the ice by the Coyotes first line of Mikkel Boedker, Daymond Langkow, and Shane Doan who continued to pressure the Rangers and Biron.
A late interference call on Ekman-Larsson kept things a bit too interesting, however the Coyotes managed to kill the penalty. However, less than a minute after the penalty expired, so did the Coyotes chances of gaining a point as Richards backhand floated into the far right side of the Phoenix net as the horn sounded. The goal was originally waved off, but upon video review it was determined the puck had crossed the goal line before time had expired.
- The Coyotes 4th line played well all night. They matched the Rangers physical intensity throughout.
- As good as the 4th line was as bad as the 2nd line was much of the night. Whitney and Vrbata were almost invisible at times.
- The one area of the ice the Coyotes controlled all night was the faceoff circle. They won 68% on their draws total and a whopping 87% of their draws in the defensive zone.
- Late goals. The Yotes have given away way too many points late this season.
- After giving up a power play goal in the 1st period, the Coyotes penalty kill didn't give up another one the rest of the game. With the shortie by Korpi the PK unit ended up even for the night. Definite improvement over their play the last couple of weeks.
- Chris Summers doesn't look out of place anymore on the blueline.