The Phoenix Coyotes had a golden opportunity to continue their recent points grab and pull off a three-game sweep of the mini-series with the Anaheim Ducks tonight, but a serious lack of effective offensive play doomed the Desert Dogs as Jonas Hiller recorded a 2-0 shutout victory.
After two wide open games with a combined 16 goals scored in regulation, the teams finally settled into their more preferred style, and the Ducks showed that they were just a bit more effective at it on this night. Clogging the neutral zone and preventing any sort of sustained offensive pressure throughout much of the game, Anaheim suffocated the Coyotes attack and greatly limited their shots. To the Coyotes' own credit (or discredit), they did plenty to help the Ducks accomplish their goals, especially when it came to blind passes to the slot area devoid of all Coyotes players.
Defensive turnovers continued to plague the Coyotes and would lead to both goals in the game. On the first goal, 7 minutes into the game, a Derek Morris pass up the middle was intercepted by Ryan Getzlaf who was reunited with linemates Bobby Ryan and Corey Perry for this game. Getzlaf found Ryan who found Perry cutting across the slot around a few defenders and was able to slide the puck under an outstretched Jason LaBarbera for the games only "real" goal. Anaheim's other tally would come with the empty net as Getzlaf stole a Keith Yandle pass up the middle in the neutral zone and fired it home from there.
The Coyotes struggled to find ways to bring the puck into the Ducks zone and generate any sustained pressure. Several times, Coyotes forwards, most notably Steve Sullivan and David Moss would pass up opportunities to put the puck on net and instead turned the puck over in the slot. As the Coyotes increased the intensity and forecheck in the third, more opportunities presented themselves but they were turned aside by Hiller.
The posts factored in a bit as well as Mikkel Boedker and Oliver Ekman-Larsson each rang one off the pipe after beating HIller, and Barbs got just enough of a Perry shot on the Ducks power play to force it into the cross-bar and out. In the end, the Ducks simply did enough to keep a tired-looking Coyotes squad from really challenging them.
- Andrew Cogliano was awarded a penalty shot midway through the first after OEL hooked him while diving to get back on a breakaway. It was a good penalty shot call, despite the lack of calls the last few games on Kyle Chipchura's chances. Barbs denied the shot attempt, sealing the five hole on Cogliano's wrister.
- The Coyotes went 0-3 on the power play and failed to even record a single shot. It was one of their poorer efforts in this regards.
- Speaking of shots, the Coyotes managed only 3-6-9 shots across the first, second, and third periods respectively. As our fearless leader would suggest, these shot numbers are not getting it done on the road right now.
- With the regulation loss for the Coyotes, both teams take 4 points from the three-game set (2-1-0 for the 'Yotes; 1-0-2 for the Ducks). Due to the tiebreaker scenario favoring regulation and overtime wins, the Ducks probably, technically "win" the series.
Five For Winning
1. No Loser Point. Unless, of course, the Coyotes are going to come out on the short end of this one - in that case, by all means, get this game to OT boys! Yeah, I should've known that this one would come back to bite me...there was no loser point, but the Coyotes didn't earn any winner points either.
2. Stay Disciplined. The Coyotes only took two penalties, but gave up a power play goal and some decent scoring chances on the second try. The Ducks are one of the best in the league with the man advantage, so the 'Yotes need to keep that unit on the bench. Shane Doan negated a power play opportunity with a trip, but that was all the Coyotes gave up in terms of Ducks power plays.
3. Finish Periods Strong. This has been an inexplicable problem for two years now, but the shorthanded goal that Ryan Getzlaf scored really turned Monday's game around entirely - Coyotes need to find ways to get to the horn without something bad happening. Was not an issue since they didn't play particularly strong in the beginning or middle of the first two periods either.
4. Return of the real Mike Smith. Smitty's defense has hung him out to dry a few times, but there have been a bunch of goals the past two games that I'm sure Mike would like back. Tonight would be a great time to see the return of the stand-on-his-head 30+ save Mike Smith. Smitty rode the pine, but Barbs was absolutely solid in net throughout.
5. Get Chipchura a Penalty Shot. In all honesty, if Kyle Chipchura gets taken out on another breakaway and isn't awarded a penalty shot, I'm getting my tinfoil hat out. We did see a penalty shot, but not exactly the way we wanted this one to work out either.
Our Threeof the Game
1. Corey Perry - showed remarkable patience on the goal and was absolutely robbed from having a second when he again showed incredible patience.
2. Ryan Getzlaf - picked up where he left off Monday and was a general pain with a goal and assist, both plays coming off of intercepted passes.
3. Jason LaBarbera - Hiller got the shutout, but Barbs was much more impressive throughout the game facing a greater number and quality of shots.
Official Game Highlights
Comment of the Night
He may retire if you guys capture one of his horses and put a retirement ransom for him to get it back
I don’t know who you are. I don’t know what you want. If you are looking for ransom, I can tell you I don’t have money. But what I do have are a very particular set of skills; skills I have acquired over a very long career. Skills that make me a nightmare for people like you. If you let my horse go now, that’ll be the end of it. I will not look for you, I will not pursue you. But if you don’t, I will look for you, I will find you, and I will kill you.
-TimmyHate (unfortunately "Liam Neeson" Doan did not really appear last night)
No rest for the weary Coyotes as the St. Louis Blues are coming to Jobing.com Thursday night for their first game against each other this year. The Blues dominated the season series last year, but are having a much tougher go of things this year, sitting at 11-9-2 on the season, remarkably close to the Coyotes 11-9-3. The 'Yotes will look to keep them in their rearview mirror.