In what may have been one of the most exciting games this season, the Phoenix Coyotes came from an early one goal deficit to beat the Vancouver Canucks in a shootout, with a final score of 2-1. This win gives the Coyotes a record of 11-0-1 for the month of February, and Mike Smith has won the last 11 games that he is started. Feel free to read that sentence a couple of times because it is almost unbelievable.
The Coyotes played a very solid game, but luck was not on their side for most of it. There were so many scoring opportunities, crossbar shots, and of course Vancouver's lone goal came off two lucky deflections off Coyotes players. But just like two weeks ago, they kept their nose to the grindstone and they found a way to score late in the third, this time The Wizard, Ray Whitney, finally managed to get it through the legs of Vancouver goaltender Cory Schneider off a pass from Keith Yandle. Smitty was unbelievable during this game, he stopped almost everything the Canucks threw at him, including a spin-o-rama in the shootout. Defense was great in the game, Oliver Ekman-Larsson stands out for single handily stopping a 3-on-1 with a well placed stick. Antoine Vermette continues to have terrible luck though, he had 5 shots on goal, the most of any Coyote, but he couldn't find the back of the net.
Vancouver did not really seem to be able to get the control of the game that they would have wanted. They were unable to get shots on goal during the start of the second period, they were tied with Phoenix for shots on goal during regulation, and most of their shots seemed to come from the outside. They also spent more time in the penalty box then Phoenix, and didn't seem to win any of the necessary faceoffs. Credit were credit is due, Alexander Edler managed to get that power play goal off two a deflection from Chris Summers, and they had a couple of break aways and rushes, but they could find a way to get them past Smitty again. Schneider was also great, he stopped some great attempts from the Coyotes and robbed a couple of players like Daymond Langkow, Lauri Korpikoski, and Raffi Torres, who all came close to getting the tying goal.
Your Summary of the Game
Five For Winning
- Keep it in regulation. Its nice to gain the extra point, especially a team like Vancouver which is so good, but last time we met Vancouver managed to win the shoot out. Take away that opportunity and get the two. Didn't happen but who cares.
- Score first, score often. So far the Yotes really haven’t had much of an offense against the Canucks, Vancouver tends to score first and control the game. If the Coyotes can score first that may change the entire play of the game. Scored once, but they made it count.
- Win the first period. Vancouver is going to be coming in having just lost to Dallas, and they are going to go hard in the first to try to get some momentum going. Phoenix needs to weather this storm, and win the period. Coyotes seemed to control the first, except for allowing the power play goal, but more impressively they shut down after that goal, shot the puck and didn't let the Canucks build momentum.
- Shoot the puck. The first meeting the shots on goal was 37-22 Vancouver, a game they won 5-0. The second meeting it was 24-22 Phoenix, and it went to overtime. Good things happen when Phoenix outshoots their opponents. The newest Coyote Antoine Vermette has come close to getting his first goal as a Coyote, tonight would be a good night to make that happen. Yotes definitely shot the pucky, the two teams were tied for shots on goal during regulation, with Vancouver having 5 more shots in overtime.
- Special teams. When they play together the Coyotes tend to get more penalties then the Canucks, 8 vs 6 minutes in both games, the penalty kill is going to need to keep Vancouver from getting power play goals if this trend continues and a few power play goals for Phoenix would be nice. We did it against LA why not against Vancouver? The penalty kill was strong, the power play not as much, although they did have a couple of decent opportunities.
Our Three Star Players
- Mike Smith. He was excellent tonight, and this past month. He only let in one, he closed the door and prevented the Canucks from getting momentum, and he kept the shootout short, even blocking the dreaded spin-o-rama shot from Mason Raymond.
- Ray Whitney. The Wizard got the tying goal and he started the shootout with a goal. Whitney is on a point streak and hopefully it continues.
- Mikkel Boedker. What can I say, he looked amazing in the shootout. He will probably be the closer for the next few shootouts.
Vancouver Comment of the Night
Although we are still in third San Jose still has a game in hand which they are going to have to burn and there are still 19 games left. The Yotes can breathe a little easier after this month, but they still have one more to go and it starts Thursday at home when the Calgary Flames come looking for revenge . . . again. All the Coyotes need to do is keep winning and good things will come.