The Phoenix Coyotes did not put forth the best effort against the Calgary Flames. To their credit Calgary played a very physical game and had a great effort, and they're the ones who got the 3-2 win in OT.
Despite an early first period goal from Antoine Vermette, the Coyotes' game got progressively sloppier: passes were not as tight and there were multiple turnovers. After that goal the Coyotes really seemed to slow down and let Calgary dictate play, partly because they let Calgary be the more physical team. Coach Tippett himself described the team after the goal as having "not enough push." Late in the first Calgary's Jiri Hudler got a nice goal from his skate, since the goal came off his skate it was of course reviewed and found to lack a distinct kicking motion. Late in the second Calgary managed to score again on the power play, as the puck squirted out from under Smith allowing Lee Stempniak to put it home.
With the game and the post season on the line the Coyotes did show a lot more energy in the third period. They managed to out shoot the Flames and were desperate enough to get the goal they needed to at least push the game into overtime. Eventually the did get the game tying goal from Keith Yandle which managed to force the game into overtime. The Desert Dogs started overtime strong but eventually Calgary managed to regain some control, and a late wrister from the point from Mark Giordano beat Mike Smith, allowing the Flames to play spoiler.
Five For Winning
1. String Goals Together. As much as it helps when the Coyotes score first, what's more important is keeping some distance between themselves and their opponents. If they do get a goal, they also need to get the next one to build a lead and keep their momentum. There was 53:27 between the Coyotes first goal and their second, during which the Flames scored twice.
2. No Letdowns. After playing a very strong 2nd period against Edmonton, the Coyotes nearly gave it away in the 3rd. That absolutely can't happen, especially since Calgary was able to do just that to this team a couple of months ago. The Coyotes finished the game strong, however they weren't as strong in the first and second.
3. Mike Smith. There's not much else that needs to be said: Smitty is playing tremendous hockey, giving his team a chance to win in every game that he's played since returning from injury. He will likely need to be sharp again tonight. Mike Smith was pretty sharp and made some key saves, but he would definitely like the overtime goal back.
4. Avoid the Stupidity Bug. When things go wrong for the Coyotes, they tend to be self-inflicted wounds. Martin Hanzal's boarding penalty against Taylor Hall in the 3rd period was a perfect example. They don't have to play penalty-free hockey, they just need to be sure the penalties they do take and the mistakes they do make aren't at critical points in the game. With only one penalty during the game the Coyotes played smart hockey.
5. Win. Calgary has nothing to play for except pride, which makes them dangerous. Phoenix is supposed to be the better team. Prove it with two points. Only got the charity point.
- Coyote's Rostislav Klesla was a healthy scratch
- The Coyotes only had two power play opportunities, both times they were unable to convert
- During the first period of the game there was only one Coyotes hit, Calgary was definitely the more physical team for most of the game
- In the third period and overtime Oliver Ekman-Larsson hit the post twice
- Antoine Vermette scored his second goal in two games after a 5 game goalless streak
- Keith Yandle had the Coyotes' loan penalty, tripping in the second, he also scored the game tying goal with just over 5 minutes left to go
Our Three Stars
1. Keith Yandle. Yandle's efforts to tie the game were just beautiful and he was the only player on the team to make us laugh falling while taking a huge slap shot.
2. Mark Giordano. Scored the overtime winner for his team.
3. Antoine Vermette. Had the opening goal early in the game and had some good looks throughout but he couldn't find his second.
Comment of the Night
The Detroit Red Wings took the Chicago Blackhawks to the shootout before losing so they get a point which keeps them two ahead of the Coyotes still. Dallas won their game handily leapfrogging the Coyotes, if the Coyotes had any room for error before they have none now.