GLENDALE, AZ - FEBRUARY 11: Goaltender Ray Emery #30 of the Chicago Blackhawks reacts after allowing a first period goal to Radim Vrbata (not pictured) of the Phoenix Coyotes during the NHL game at Jobing.com Arena on February 11, 2012 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
On a night when the Coyotes honored the most entertaining player to ever don a Coyotes sweater the current Coyotes put on an entertaining show of their own. Even better that it was in front of a standing room only crowd at Jobing.com Arena. The crowd got to see a little bit of everything from the Coyotes. About all that was missing was a power play goal.
The Coyotes controlled the game from just after the puck drop. Radim Vrbata scored his 27th goal of the season just over 3 minutes into the game by jamming in a backhander on Ray Emery's left side. The goal seemed to quickly demoralize the Hawks. Less than 3 minutes later center Boyd Gordon scored another goal from almost the exact spot. The Blackhawks attempted to turn the momentum of the game around in the 2nd period, but failed to capitalize when they had the puck in the Phoenix end. Once Kyle Chipchura scored at 12:59 in the period the game was essentially over. The 3rd period had some back and forth action including some nice saves and the Yotes hitting iron, but at no time did it ever seem like Chicago was going to get back into the contest.
- The ceremony to retire JR's number hit all the right notes. The video montages and Todd Walsh's speech were perfect as was Roenick's reaction. he was crying from the minute he hit the ice and I though his brief words were excellent. The
- Gilbert Brule had 2 assists on the night. The Coyotes have already gotten more than their money's worth from the former 1st round pick.
- As I commented in the Fox Sports Arizona "Ask The Expert" Jack In The Box game chat, when your 3rd and 4th centers both score in a game things are going well.
- Mike Smith continues to impress. The first thing a new owner of the franchise needs to do when he/she takes over is give Sean Burke a raise.
- Chicago goaltender Ray Emery got little help from his teammates in his own end. If Chicago wants to end their losing streak they need to clean things up in their own zone.
- The Coyotes have closed out games lately unlike earlier in the season. The team is playing for keeps and a playoff spot.
- The Yotes 62 points keeps them in eighth place and they are now one point behind the seventh place Los Angles Kings. Phoenix has two of their next first game with L.A. No easier way to move ahead of a team than beating them head to head.
- One area of concern for the Coyotes besides the lack of productivity on the power play is drawing penalties in the first place. The Coyotes only drew two minor penalties during the game. The Coyotes are tied with the Islanders with the fewest penalties drawn (164) in the league. Against an opponent lacking confidence like the Blackhawks its not a huge deal. However, its something to keep track of.
Our 3 Stars Of The Night
1. Mike Smith - 38 saves, No goals.
2. Kyle Chipchura - 1 goal, 1 fight.
3.Jeremy Roenick - Usually home teams look listless after jersey retirement ceremonies. Not so tonight. JR's short speech filled with passion set a perfect tone.
The Desert Dogs next play on Monday night when they travel to Vancouver.