Stop me if you have heard this one before. The Phoenix Coyotes got an excellent performance from their goaltender Mike Smith, despite more than a few defensive breakdowns, but the offense in front of him was unable to score anything leading to a 2-0 loss. Despite the fact the Coyotes outscored their opponents 11-3 in their previous 3 games they were unable to find the net against the Vancouver Canucks earlier tonight.
The Coyotes played a terrible opening 10 minutes and Vancouver managed to find the net after a 4-1 play where Ryan Kesler picked up a goal on a shot that went through the crease behind Mike Smith and bounced off a post. At that point Vancouver had the Coyotes where they wanted them and although the Coyotes had some good chances and a rare 3 on 1 rush, their inability to hit the net ultimately cost them. A bad pass ultimately lead to a Vancouver empty net goal which was the final nail in the coffin for the Coyotes.
Vancouver on the other played an impressive defensive game that stopped the Coyotes from generating any real offense and they also peppered Smitty with a total of 42 shots. Vancouver clearly wanted to win this one much more then the Coyotes, who didn't even show up until about 12 minutes into the third period.
- This was two Canucks' first game back from foot injuries, Keith Ballard and Ryan Kesler. On the TSN feed the announcers mentioned that there was a Phoenix Coyote player who was playing/played with a broken foot, but they refused to say who it was.
- Vancouver was in a position where they were close to being called for too many men on the ice twice, however the puck was not played ruining the possibility of a penalty.
- The first penalty of the game was called 36 minutes into the game.
- Halfway through the first the Coyotes were being outshot 10-1.
- On Vancouver's first power play, 2 goals were waived off. One after the whistle/intent to blow the whistle and one for a distinct kicking motion by Vancouver's Henrik Sedin. Important to note that Smith was interfered with on both waived off goals, however no Vancouver penalties were called.
- During the third period, play continued for over 8 minutes without a whistle being called.
- The Coyotes did not have shots in the double digits any of the three periods.
Five For Winning
1. Score first. Scoring first seems to be a recipe for success for the Phoenix Coyotes, let's see if the Coyotes can do it again. Not only did the Coyotes not score first, they didn't score at all.
2. Discipline. It's important that the Coyotes stay out of the box and not give the Canucks a chance to score with the man advantage. There were only 3 Coyotes penalties, with Shane Doan's being the weakest one.
3. Special teams. So far the Coyotes have been impressive on the penalty kill, but they aren't getting the same effect on the power play. A power play goal or two would definitely increase the Yotes' chance of winning. The penalty kill did their job, although they did allow two goals that were waived off. The power play unit could have been the equalizer however the only goal they were responsible for was a short handed empty netter for the Canucks.
4. Limit Vancouver's shots. With the talent on the Canuck's team the Coyotes are going to need to find some way to stop Vancouver from scoring. If the Coyotes can limit the number of shots that the Canuck's take they can hopefully keep them off the board. Vancouver had 42 shots during the game.
5. Win. At this point this is the most important thing. The Coyotes couldn't even get the overtime point.
Our 3 Stars
1. Mike Smith. It must be very frustrating for Smitty when he plays exactly but the team in front of him can't get him a single goal. He stopped 40 of 41 shots and made a lot of very impressive saves, was knocked down in his crease more then a few time times, and walked away with nothing to show for it.
2. Cory Schneider. Schneider walked away with the shutout stopping all 19 of the Coyotes shots.
3. Coyotes fans who watched all 3 periods. This game was brutal.
If the Coyotes want to stay in the playoff race they are going to need to find their road game, they have a very important game against Edmonton on Wednesday and what should be an easier win against Calgary on Friday.