The Coyotes rolled into Boston on Thursday night looking for their fifth win in seven games, all while lurking just one point behind the Dallas Stars in the Western Conference playoff picture. Bringing the league’s third-best power play unit to town up against the Bruins’ Tuuka Rask, playing his second game in 48 hours, the Coyotes were looking to pounce on a potentially tired goaltender. Unfortunately for Phoenix, Rask showed little signs of fatigue as the Bruins knocked off the Coyotes 2-1.
Never a team that plays well from behind, the Coyotes dug themselves an early hole when Boston opened the scoring with a wrister from Zdeno Chara, who was unassisted -- unless you count Keith Yandle’s poorly timed turnover. The Coyotes then failed to capitalize a few minutes later after a double minor was assessed to Jordan Caron for high sticking Jeff Halpern. Then at the 17:31 mark, hot off the heels of a stellar Rask stick save, Boston struck again with Jarome Iginla tipping in Johnny Boychuk’s shot to put the Yotes down 2-0.
The second period proved to be less of an offensive affair, with the two teams combining for a total of only five shots for the entire twenty minutes. After Shane Doan was denied on a breakaway near the four minute mark, the Coyotes would fail to register a shot on back to back power plays, nor manage one in the final nine minutes of the period.
The third period saw far more offensive action as both teams traded scoring chances and the occasional rush back and forth down the ice. Lauri Korpikoski gave the Coyotes faithful something to cheer about at the eight minute mark as he tipped Oliver Ekman-Larsson’s wrist shot from the blue line past Rask to draw Phoenix within a goal. However, that would be the closest the Coyotes would get. Despite a great chance by Antoine Vermette with under four minutes to go, with the puck sneaking by a sprawling Rask, Boston’s Carl Soderberg swiped the puck out of the crease, bouncing off the post in the process to ensure the final would be 2-1.
Our Three Stars of the Game
3rd Star - Lauri Korpikoski - Notched his ninth goal of the season for the Coyotes with a slick tip-in.
2nd Star - The Boston Bruins Penalty Kill - Despite five chances, including a double minor, the Bruins shut out the Coyotes PP unit.
1st Star - Tuuka Rask - Stopped 21 out of 22 shots he faced for a .955 save percentage.
- Shane Doan notched his 20th assist of the season in his 1,300th career NHL game.
- The usually reliable Antoine Vermette was a disappointing 33% in the faceoff circle.
- It was a rough night for Jeff Halpern, bloodied by a high stick then later boarded by Matt Bartkowski.
- The Coyotes were without the services of the Martins -- both Martin Erat and Martin Hanzal were out with injuries.
The Coyotes return home Saturday, March 15 to face the Calgary Flames in a Pacific Division battle. The puck drops at 7 PM and the game can be found on Fox Sports Arizona and KMVP 860 AM.