Woooooo! 5 wins in a row baby! Have a Margarita tonight because it's Cinco de Coyo! The fans around the arena were certainly high-fiving and celebrating and while there's still a long way to go, a shutout win over the Wild certainly made everyone feel good and elevated the Coyotes to 37 points on the season. It also sets up a matchup with the Kings on Thursday that will be for the fifth place spot in the West and 2nd in the division either way. But enough with standings and all that poppycock. To the gameness!
First of all I was really annoyed that Mikkel Boedker was a scratch tonight. I'm glad Peter Mueller got to come back and played fairly well but Mikkel Boedker has played his pants off lately and not gotten any reward for it. I get that Tippett doesn't want to use younger layers as that just doesn't fint into his scheme, but to call him up and use the minutes he's played pretty well and get no reward is disappointing at best. Then the guy I highlighted in the pregame Cal Clutterbuck, was a scratch as well as I guess he got some sort of illness that's been going around. His absence didn't really decrease the amount of hitting and all around scrapping as the teams would get into hitting matches and fights especially later in the game.
For the most part the game itself was an outstanding goalie battle. Both Ilya Bryzgalov and Niklas Backstrom were outstanding, but the Phoenix offense was just good enough to get a missed rebound past him for the first goal by Scottie Upshall. Then Shane Doan made a fantastic move to get the puck to Taylor Pyatt who scored his third goal in as many games. On the offensive end that was the entirety of the production offensively.
In the third period though the game started to get away from the officials in a big way. Mid way through the period Ed Jovanovski made a big hit on one of the Wild players (I can't recall who it was) but there was no penalty and the Minnesota players wanted to go after him. The hitting picked up in a big way after that with Winnik, Upshall and Jovo all getting hits on people within a short time. The emotions boiled over at the end of the game with a huge scrum in the corner. Keith Yandle threw a few punches in the middle of the crowd, but Vernon Fiddler grabbed a guy out of the pile and simply beat the hell out of him. Owen Nolan and Keith Yandle almost went after each other too, but the officials were able to clear the players off the ice so that the team and the crowd could celebrate what really mattered in Ilya Bryzgalov's shutout. I wouldn't be surprised if there were some fines or suspensions handed out because of the after the horn activities.