VANCOUVER, CANADA - MARCH 14: Raffi Torres #37 of the Phoenix Coyotes watches the puck shot by Oliver Ekman-Larsson #23 (not picutred) go in the net past goalie Roberto Luongo #1 of the Vancouver Canucks during the second period in NHL action on March 14, 2012 at Rogers Arena in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Dan Hamhuis #2 of the Vancouver Canucks looks on from the ice after getting knocked down. (Photo by Rich Lam/Getty Images)
There are a lot of words one could use to describe the typical Phoenix Coyotes power play lately; ineffective, waste, useless. Not among them recently until tonight? Effective. Down 2-0 half way through the first the Coyotes battled back to tie it up before the end of the first frame. First Rostislav Klesla sniped in a big rebound given up by Roberto Luongo after a Antoine Vermette shot from the wall. It wouldn't be the last rebound Luongo would cough up either. The Coyotes got the tying goal from Shane Doan who showed the patience that a captain needs to and then just didn't stop playing until the puck went in. The work making that goal happen really made the rest of the team wake up from a poor effort at the start.
The Coyotes came out and continued using their momentum in the second. After a Canucks turnover created some line change confusion, the Coyotes went on the power play as Vancouver was assessed the too many men penalty. Typically fans would just wish the team could decline it, but this time they actually came through with a big power play goal to take the lead. Oliver Ekman-Larsson blasted one from the blueline and Luongo never even saw it. Much of the goal was set up by Raffi Torres planting himself in front of the net and obstructing the view Luongo had of OEL. Just minutes later the Canucks evened things again as David Booth scored after Klesla went to the box for holding. That wouldn't hold up either though as Gilbert Brule netted his 4th of the year when the Coyotes were able to create a 3 on 1 after Mike Smith made a big stop on the Canucks at the other end. Taylor Pyatt got the puck to the front of the net and Brule was able to deflect it in to make it 4-3 late in the period.
The Yotes didn't wait long to extend their lead when the power play unit cashed in again in short order after a Kevin Bieksa slashing call. Ray Whitney made a nice pass from the corner to Oliver Ekman Larsson. Luongo made the initial stop but the rebound landed right on the tape of Antoine Vermette's stick and he elevated it over the pads of Luongo to make it 5-3. Dan Hamhuis would make it 5-4 later in the period, but the Coyotes were able to hang on.
What was promising was that the power play unit was a perfect 2 for 2 on the night and powered the team to the victory. Mike Smith looked okay, but not great as you can tell with the 4 goals, but the defense especially early was just not engaged. The second two goals were well earned by the Canucks, but the first two really were just complete breakdowns.
Hopefully the Coyotes continue this Western Canada trip with more wins like they tend to do. They play again tomorrow night in Calgary.
Five For Winning
1. Score first. - No, but they scored more so... WIN!
2. Keep it in regulation. 2 points us, 0 points them.
3. Good defense. for give or take 48 minutes yes. Those other 12 not so much.
4. Goals from everyone. Klesla and Brule scored. Check.
5. Special teams. 2 for 2 on the PP, 1 of 3 penalties killed though. Partial Check, but net win since it evened out.
Stars of the game:
1. Ray Whitney - 3 assists on the first 3 Coyotes goals.
2. Antoine Vermette - Goal, 2 assists
3. I'd give this to a Canuck, but OEL is awesome so... OEL - G, A, hitting, looking like he's played way more than he actually has and is still 20. Are you excited? I'm excited.