The first two periods against the Columbus Blue Jackets appeared to be a lot like the Phoenix Coyotes recent game against the St. Louis Blues, the Yotes were playing good hockey but they weren't able to generate a lot of good offensive chances and weren't able to score. Fortunately, during that time the Coyotes were able to keep the Blue Jackets from scoring as well, with neither team scoring in regulation and the shoot out being the final decision maker.
The Blue Jacket's point streak has been getting a lot of well deserved attention lately, especially when you look at some of the teams that they are getting points against. They seem to have done this by adopted a similar defense heavy strategy which includes some amazing goaltending from Sergei Bobrovsky. Columbus played a much better game compared to their previous two against the Phoenix . They didn't the Coyotes generate much offense while getting a few excellent scoring chances of their own.
The Phoenix Coyotes inability to generate goals was their undoing again. They have gone the past 2 games without scoring a single goal, despite playing good hockey in stretches and generating some great chances. Fortunately, the team again played good hockey and they seem to have found their footing with defense and goaltending. Radim Vrbata's presence was sorely missed both in regulation and during the shootout. The Yotes are going to need to find a way to win without him.
- Kyle Chipchura was a healthy scratch for the game
- Matthew Lombardi's unsportsmanlike conduct was a completely unnecessary, although fairly weak looking call. I really feel like the refs need to start saying exactly what was said to warrant these calls.
- After getting the penalty Lombardi played great the rest of the game, including generating a great chance as soon as he left the box, although Martin Hanzal didn't seem to be expecting the pass and missed the net completely.
- Paul Bissonnette was doing a good job in the first putting himself in front of the goal and had a nice fight in the second against Columbus' Jared Boll. Biz really earned his ice time in the first 2.
- Michael Stone continues to impress and may have secured his defenseman spot. At one point in the second he blocks a shot, is involved in the rush down and takes a shot against Columbus. Didn't score during that opportunity but definitely a good effort.
- In the second Mike Smith had a beautiful cross ice feed to Rob Klinkhammer who just could put it home.
- Oliver Ekman-Larsson made a beautiful defensive play during Columbus' 2 on 1 on the Phoenix power play, dropping to the ice forcing to spin and breaking up the chance.
- After the second period the Coyotes only had one second chance.
- Columbus' point streak continues to 10 and they may have a legitimate chance of getting to the playoffs if their players continue to buy into the defensive system.
Comment of the Night
Five for Winning
1. Special teams. Neither team is a especially potent power play and both have excellent penalty killing units. Columbus currently ranks 1st in the NHL on the penalty kill at home (92.2%). If the Coyotes can find a way to draw penalties and grab a goal with the man advantage it would be a big step. The Coyotes were good on the penalty kill and had a few decent chances towards the end of their power play, although they weren't able to draw multiple penalties or capitalize on the one they had.
2. Confidence in the O Zone. The Dogs continued their run of poor play against trapping squads against the Blues. They can't let Thursday's game and their inability to get things going in the offensive zone carry over to today's game. The Coyotes were able to set up a few good chances in the offensive zone although they weren't good at getting the second chances. Shots on goal were 39-23 for the game in favor of the Coyotes.
3. Get Marty on track. Martin Hanzal has not scored a goal since he returned from injury on March 4. His faceoff numbers in four of the six games since he returned to the lineup have been below 40%. Frequent linemate Steve Sullivan loves playing Columbus which bodes well for Hanzal. Hanzal didn't get a goal and neither did anyone else in this game.
4. Energy. The Coyotes all too often have looked flat on the road this season. They can't afford to come out flat against a team on a roll like CBus. The Yotes definitely had energy, even if they weren't able to generate opportunities with that energy.
5. Screens. Bob is going to stop what he can see. Guys like Martin Hanzal, Davis Moss, Raffi Torres, and Shane Doan need to park themselves in front of the Russian's crease. Besides a few exceptions the Coyotes didn't get many opportunities to screen the goalie.
Columbus Artem Anisimov: Scores
Phoenix Mikkel Boedker: Miss
Columbus Mark Letestu: Scores
Phoenix Steve Sullivan: Miss
Our 3 Stars
1. Sergei Bobrovsky. Bobrovsky won this game for his team and played absolutely outstanding making a few key saves and going perfect in the shootout.
2. Mike Smith. Smith seemed to return to form and was perfect during the game, although not so much in the skills competition.
3. Oliver Ekman-Larsson. OEL played well, leading the team in shots and time on ice and he had a few excellent defensive plays.
The Coyotes managed to walk away from this game with a well deserved point and they played very well and had great goaltending. They do need to figure out a way to kickstart their offense though as they will be playing the Kings on back to back nights in LA next week starting on Monday.