The first game of this Phoenix Coyotes road trip saw the team giving up a goal in the first minute. In their second game,.an all-too-familiar early goal doomed the Yotes yet again.
Just a few minutes later, both David Schlemko and Antoine Vermette found themselves in the box, Schlemko for high sticking and Vermette on a delay of game for smothering the puck during the faceoff immediately after Schlemko's penalty. Though the Desert Dogs put on a good show, it wasn't enough as John Tavares found the net giving the Isles a 2-0 lead.
The Coyotes more or less held their own for the first half of the second period. What eventually killed forward momentum was giving up the puck and penalties. The Islanders forced multiple turnovers before drawing a penalty from Mike Ribeiro and scoring thirty seconds later.
This lead to the best single minute of play of the entire game as Hanzal lead the charge up the ice scoring the only Phoenix goal off a feed from Mikkel Boedker and Radim Vrbata. It was the single best play of the game for Phoenix The period ended with two more Islanders goals: Tavares scoring his second, this time off a deflection from Schlemko's own stick, and Colin McDonald scoring his first goal of the season. The score was 5-1.
After two lackluster periods of goaltending by Mike Smith, Thomas Greiss made his first appearance this season and did an amazing job stopping all but one of the shots that came his way. That goal, made by Josh Bailey, came after a full defensive breakdown by the Coyotes and what was, in a way, the epitome of the night. Final score: Islanders 6 Coyotes 1.
"We didn't do enough to win a game," said coach Dave Tippett in his post-game press conference. "We don't have enough players playing with the right identity right now, we'll fix that."
- Even though he let one through, Thomas Greiss proved that he can be the clutch backup that the Coyotes need him to be.
- The Coyotes beat the Islanders in every period in shots on goal but didn't get a single shot off on the power play.
- The Islanders only had 15 hits to Phoenix's 34, an awesome statistic that can be improved on by capitalizing on those opportunities that can come after the hit.
- This is the last game of Paul Bissonnette's three-game suspension for leaving the bench in the preseason opener against the Los Angeles Kings. It is also possible that Rostislav Klesla could return on Thursday for the Coyote's duel in D-Town. Both would be welcome additions and could give the team the extra spice they need.
Our Three Stars
1. Frans Nielsen- This center lead his line as any good center should. Three points on the night all of them assists and a good showing in the faceoff circle lifted Nielsen above the rest.
2. John Tavares- The new Isles's captain lead the way with two goals, one of them on the power play. His performance was everything Islander fans could hope for and what some Coyotes players should aspire to be.
3. Thomas Greiss- If there was a shining light on the Coyotes roster tonight it was Greiss. With a .875 save percentage and a strong effort in the third Greiss has proven that he will be the backup that this city needs him to be.
Tomorrow the Coyotes will have practice at Joe Louis Arena ahead of their Thursday night appearance against the Detroit Red Wings. Puck drop will be 4:30 pm Arizona time barring further civic bankruptcy. It will be carried live on The NHL Network and Coyotes radio affiliate KMVP 860AM.