It was a banner night for the Phoenix Coyotes as the team and its fans celebrated the raising of the first ever Pacific Division Championship banner. Unfortunately for the Yotes and the sell-out crowd of 17,363, the game did not go as they had hoped.
Phoenix did everything they could to tie the game in the third period but dug themselves too deep of a hole. Despite scoring first and scoring two third period goals, the Coyotes could never regain the lead and lost by a final score of 6-4. It was the second loss in as many nights for the Coyotes as their record dropped to 0-2.
Coyotes Coach Dave Tippett said that the entire team needs to be better as a group. He added there is a lot more blame to go around the locker room than just goaltender Mike Smith. Smith told reporters after the game that he puts the losses on himself.
The Coyotes and Blackhawks (2-0-0) traded goals in the first 11 minutes of period one. New Coyotes forward David Moss wasted little time endearing himself to the faithful at Jobing.com Arena by scoring the first home goal of 2013. The unassisted goal came just 3:39 into the game and was Moss' first goal as a Coyote.
The rest of the first period belonged to the Blackhawks as their intensity ramped up after giving up the early goal. Mike Smith made several fantastic saves in the period including a save on a Patrick Kane breakaway. The Coyotes took two penalties in the opening period and the Blackhawks made them pay on the second one. Kane dangled past the entire Coyotes team and eventually assisted on a Dave Bolland power play goal to tie the game at one.
Antoine Vermette opened the 2nd period scoring with his first goal of the season by tapping in a point shot rebound past Ray Emery to give the Coyotes their second lead of the game. The play started with an offensive zone faceoff win by Vermette.
Once again the Blackhawks answered back as Patrick Sharp snapped a wrist shot past Smith, high and to the blocker side to tie the game at two apiece. And after losing the puck o a breakaway earlier, Marian Hossa got some revenge against the Coyotes scoring the third goal of the game for Chicago. It was yet another late period goal given up by the Coyotes, but the Blackhawks were not done. Less than a minute later, Viktor Stalberg extended the Chicago lead to two after wristing the puck short-side on Smith.
Just 14 seconds into the third period, the Coyotes' hopes were crushed when a puck shot by Hossa slid just under Smith to give the Blackhawks a three goal lead. But in typical Coyotes fashion, the team would not go away. Marty Hanzal and Shane Doan would score goals 50 seconds apart to pull within one goal. The goals came in bunches as Chicago regained the two-goal advantage shortly after the two-goal flurry by Phoenix. Three goals were scored in under two minutes of play.
Five For Winning
1. Finish finish finish. No, I don't mean the country. If there was once set of games that showed off the importance of playing a full 60 minutes it was the first five games of the playoffs against Chicago. Time and time again the Coyotes blew one-goal leads in the final 90 seconds of the game. The Coyotes had a strong third period offensively, but allowed too many goals on their end. The team has not outscored the opponent in the final period in either of the first two games of the season.
2. Discipline. This game is a revenge game of sorts for the Blackhawks. After Raffi Torres injured Maria Hossa and the fact that they were eliminated by the Coyotes in the first round, Chicago may be more aggressive than usual. Therefore, the Coyotes have to maintain composure and not retaliate and take unnecessary penalties. The Coyotes gave up two power play goals on four attempts against Dallas in the first game of the season. The Coyotes took five penalties in the game, and gave up a power play goal. The Coyotes have given up three power play goals on 10 short handed opportunities to begin the season.
3. Slow the game down. With the addition of Matt Lombardi coupled with the speed of Lauri Korpikosi and Mikkel Boedker, it is very tempting to play rush hockey with the Blackhawks. Don't. The Coyotes know they can beat the Blackhawks by slowing down the game ad playing "Coyotes hockey." Don't allow Chicago to dictate the style of the game. The pace of the game favored Chicago. The top lines of the Blackhawks skated up and down the ice, seemingly at will, and were able to get a ton of quality scoring chances.
4. Take advantage of the discrepancy in net. Goaltending is the one area the Coyotes are significantly better at than the Blackhawks. Mike Smith stole the show in the playoffs against them and will need to do so once again for the Coyotes to even-up their record. While neither goalie played particularly well, Smith was not the better goalie on this night. He allowed six goals on 31 shots.
5. When in doubt, get it out. This is a key for all games but especially after last night's game in Dallas. Make the safe play out of the defensive zone and avoid making the critical error in your own end. At times the Coyotes did a better job of moving the puck out of the defensive zone, but costly turnovers (several by Keith Yandle) in the defensive zone still hurt the Yotes.
Our Three Stars of the Game
1. Dave Bolland: He had three points including two goals on the night.
2. Marian Hossa: Hossa continues his hot streak with another two goals. He now leads the NHL in goals with four.
3. Shane Doan: The Captain had a solid game with a goal and an assist. Doan was physical and showed some scoring touch in the game.
Dave Tippett Post Game Press Conference
Phoenix hopes to get their first win of the season on Wednesday night at Jobing.com Arena against the Columbus Blue Jackets (1-0-0). Puck drop is at 8 p.m. Columbus won three of four meetings with the Coyotes last season. The only win was a result of Mike Smith's 54-save shutout.