The Coyotes won the battle but lost the war. Despite finally breaking the scoring drought, the Desert Dogs lose 3-2 to the Kings.
They scored! They scored! The Coyotes scored!
Oh, and they lost the game. But still!
After setting an ignominious franchise record for consecutive minutes without a goal, the Coyotes captain finally got around to scoring a pair of goals to give the team a chance at winning. This game featured a ton of chippy play on both sides, and a lot of questionable or flat-out missed calls by the officiating crew. Regardless, Los Angeles got the two points after withstanding a furious Coyotes charge late in the third period.
Phoenix came out to play tonight; for the beginning of the first period they did a solid job establishing an offensive presence and getting pucks on Jonathan Bernier. But like many games have gone recently, the Coyotes surrendered a goal on a defensive breakdown deep in their zone. Despite two Coyotes' defensemen standing around him, nobody managed to lift Dustin Penner's stick as he redirected a pass from the top of the crease to the side of Mike Smith to make it 1-0.
The goalless drought finally came to an end in the second period. Unfortunately for the Phoenix Coyotes, it was Drew Doughty's slump that ended, as he scored his first of the season 6:28 into the period. It appeared at this point that the Coyotes were set to suffer yet another bad loss, when a freak play finally seemed to rouse the Coyotes from their stupor. Jake Muzzin initiated contact with Shane Doan's knee that appeared to be either reckless or intentional, depending on which broadcast you watched. In what should have brought back terrible flashbacks to Game 5 of the Western Conference Finals, no penalty was called on the play, and Doan was forced to stick up for himself after no one challenged Muzzin for the hit.
The ill will would carry over to the third period, but at long last the Coyotes remembered how to score goals. A point shot by Keith Yandle managed to deflect off of Doaner's stick and into the net. After 245 minutes of complete offensive futility, the streak was over. Unfortunately, the other main problem the Coyotes have been facing recently came back to bite them. Jaret Stoll beat Mike Smith on a power play to push the score to 3-1. Although Shane Doan would get another goal with the net empty to bring Phoenix back to within one, the Desert Dogs would not find the back of the net again and lost yet another game on the road.
Five For Winning:
1. Score: This doesn't really need further explanation, the Coyotes have been shut out the past 3 games in a row. If they aren't scoring they aren't winning. At last, the Coyotes scored a pair of goals! Too bad it didn't get them a victory.
2. Discipline: Although it could be argued there were some weak calls last night, the Coyotes need to stay out of the box. The Kings first goal last night was a power play and it just showed that you can't give this team an opportunity to have the man advantage. This absolutely didn't happen. A lot of chippy plays and bad calls caused everyone to lose their composure a bit.
3. Special teams. The Coyotes penalty kill has actually been pretty good as of late, but the power play unit needs to catch up. If the other team is going to take a penalty the Yotes need to make them pay. The power play looked pretty good, especially down the stretch. The penalty kill gave up another goal, which unfortunately turned out to be the game winner.
4. Shoot everything. Hopefully, the more rubber gets put on Jonathon Quick the more likely one manages to sneak through. With a scoreless streak this long it wouldn't be surprising for a weak goal to be the one to break it. The Coyotes gave Jonathan Bernier a heck of a workout, putting 42 shots on net. He was up to the task though, and stopped 40 of them.
5. Win. The Yotes need points to keep in the running, especially when you look at how close the West is. Didn't happen. But if the Coyotes play like they did tonight, they will win more games than they lose.
Our Three Stars
3rd Star - Drew Doughty. He finally broke his own scoring drought, and had a solid defensive game.
2nd Star - Shane Doan. Say what you will about Doaner's physical play, the captain nearly single-handedly won the game for Phoenix. He scored two goals, took 11 shots, and landed 13 hits. That's about as good an individual effort as you will ever see.
1st Star - Jonathan Bernier. The Kings' backup goaltender was phenomenal in this game. Phoenix had a ton of very good scoring chances throughout but Bernier stood strong.
The roadtrip has come to its merciful end, as the Coyotes go to play the Vancouver Canucks at Jobing.com Arena Thursday night. Puck drops at 7 PM, with media coverage on Fox Sports Arizona and XTRA 910.