The Phoenix Coyotes have excelled in back-to-back games so far this season, but tonight's 4-1 loss to the Calgary Flames was the exception to the rule. A lack of capitalizing on opportunities and somewhat shaky defense put the Yotes behind in the second and crushed in the third.
The Coyotes started off the first with some very solid play, the first few minutes saw the Desert Dogs spending most of their time on Calgary's side of the ice and it paid off fast. Just under five minutes into the period, Keith Yandle scored his second goal in as many games, off a pass from Doan, as he recovered the puck after a bit of a scrum. The first powerplay of the period for the Coyotes came with 12 minutes left in the period and while it had great play for the Coyotes at the beginning, the Calgary Flames quickly turned the tables leaving the Yotes with only one shot while the Flames managed to control the puck. With just under six minutes remaining Martin Hanzal found himself in the box for hooking giving Calgary its first power play opportunity of the night. An aggressive penalty kill by the Coyotes kept the Flames to only one shot, it was a highly effective two minutes that helped set the tone for the rest of the period. But, it didn't quite hold as a defensive breakdown by the Yotes allowed T.J. Brodie to put a slapper past Greiss tieing the game with eight seconds left in the period.
Calgary came out of the gates strong in the second but perhaps a little too strong as they went to the box and the Coyotes went to the power play before a minute had even passed. The second Phoenix power play was ultimately fruitless despite good efforts from Doan and Yandle, but was a solid effort none the less. Calgary kept up the pressure with a solid back and forth between both teams eventually leading to a goal for the Flames' Mikael Backlund with nearly six minutes gone. Up to this point, Greiss had only faced six shots and already had two goals against, a .667 save percentage. He finished the period at .786 due more to defensive breakdowns by the Coyotes that lead to shots than any other factor. With ten minutes left Hanzal returned to the box for boarding giving the Flames another power play. This time the Yotes powerplay was not nearly as effective as a slapshot from Calgary captain Mark Giordano made it's way past Greiss giving the Flames a 3-1 lead with just over eight minutes left in the period. The Yotes once again returned to the power play at 15:31 after Shane O'Brien took a seat for instigating Kyle Chipchura. Once again the Coyotes were unable to score falling to 0-for-3 on the power play up to that point. The remaining minutes had shots from both sides but ultimately ended with the Flames holding their 3-1 advantage.
The Coyotes started off strong and even more momentum was piled on as the Coyotes had their fourth go at the power play after Calgary goalie Karri Ramo held back Kyle Chipchura (a penalty served by Michael Cammalleri). A failed attempt by Yandle to keep the puck in lead to a 2-on-1 chance for the Calgary Flames and a short-handed goal by Lee Stempniak. Near negating penalties would eventually give the Coyotes a twelve second power play. Though the abbreviated PP was scoreless the 4-on-4 play did see some great opportunities by both teams including a few nice shots from Yandle and Doan again. Near midway through the second period the Coyotes' broadcast summed up the game in one fail swoop. As the signal for the game was lost for about a minute and all that could be heard was audio a graphic saying, "Technical Difficulties" was put up. Nothing explains the game as a whole better. Between missed opportunities, passes and power plays nothing explains this 4-1 loss better than that.
- Greiss finished the night with a .778 save percentage, the worst percentage from a starting goaltender since Mike Smith was pulled against the Los Angeles Kings on Oct. 24.
- The last time the Coyotes didn't score on the power play was against Nashville on Nov. 25, since then (up to tonight) they have had at least one power play goal per game.
- The Coyotes dominated in the circle winning 31 of 49 face-offs.
- Martin Hanzal brought in another four penalty minutes bringing his total penalty minutes to 33 this season, an average of 1.32 minutes per game.
Our Three Stars of the Game
- 3rd Star- Keith Yandle. A goal, five shots and over 26 minutes on the ice Yandle showed the team how the game should be played.
- 2nd Star- Mark Giordano. One goal, one assist, shots, hits all Giordano was missing was a partridge and a pear tree to round out his night in the stats column but on the ice he was a formidable presence as well.
- 1st Star- Karri Ramo. With 29 saves out of 30 shots Ramo had a near perfect game stopping practically everything the Coyotes threw at him.
Next up for the Phoenix Coyotes are Roberto Luongo and the Vancouver Canucks. Puck drop is slated for 8 p.m. Phoenix time in Rogers Arena. The game will be available on Fox Sports Arizona Plus and KMVP 860AM.