After last night’s great game against Boston I figured that this game would be an easy victory for the Phoenix Coyotes who controlled that game against the defending Stanley Cup Champions. Unfortunately this wasn’t the case as Colorado seemed to control most of the game. The Power Play came up lacking but the Penalty Kill managed to kill off every Colorado Power Play attempt. Unfortunately for a team like the Coyotes who need points to get back into the playoff running they came up short again in Denver.
The first period at the Pepsi Center did was definitely Colorado’s. Colorado was the first to go on Power Play, they scored Kevin Porter scored first for them at 7:44, they had better puck possession, and more shots on goals. Recently Coyotes have not been able to capitalize with a win after the opponent scores the first goal so this was definitely not good news for the Yotes. They kept in the game though and Mikkel Boedker with Taylor Pyatt and Kyle Chipchura and was able to tie the game up at 12:31 keeping the Yotes in the game. Stefan Elliot was able to score again against LaBabera, the second goal of the evening that they managed to score after a breakaway. Daymond Lankow was called for tripping in the last minute of play putting Colorado on the Power Play for the rest of the period and the start of the next with the score 2-1 Colorado.
The second period opened with Phoenix on the Penalty Kill again. Luckily they were able to kill it off keeping the score 2-1. 1:49 into the second Phoenix was put on Power Play after a call against Colorado for slashing. Coyotes unfortunately were unable to do anything with this Power Play, they lost the faceoff, they had terrible entry, and they continued to not get anything open. At this time in the game the Yotes had only won 9 out of the 29 faceoffs. There was a brief moment where it looked like they may be able to capitalize after Doan knocked the goalies stick away but they were unable to get anything good. Phoenix had another Power Play a little later, and even though it was better than their last they were still unable to make anything happen even with this improved Power Play. Korpikoski was called for goaltender interference but the luckily the PK team continued to find a way to kill off the Avalanche’s Power Plays. The Boedker/Pyatt/Chipchura team again managed to score a goal tying the game at two. In a moment that changed the entire atmosphere of the game Hejda stumbled on the ice resulting in Torres hitting him with a shoulder to the head. This was a clean hit, despite the feelings of the Colorado crowd, there was nothing that Torres could do to avoid it. In may have been the Coyote’s last great chance of the period Oliver Ekman-Larsson on a breakaway was tripped by a Colorado player who fell resulting in an penalty shot with 28 seconds left to go in the period. Ekman-Larsson was close but unfortunately close only counts with horseshoes and hand grenades.
The third period definitely carried over the negative energy of the Torres hit. Every time that Torres touched the puck there was an audible boo, but this seemed to energize the team a little bit, they definitely had better shots and possession during the first couple minutes of the third. Unfortunately this momentum didn’t last long enough, as Meile was called for high sticking, but the Coyotes were able to kill it off again. Unfortunately Gabriel Landeskog was able to score again 2 minutes after the penalty was killed in what was honestly a very good goal after a rebound. After this there was a brief flurry with Doan and Whitney. In what may have been the last chance of the Coyotes, Galiardi was called for boarding with 4:37 left in the final period. I had a feeling that if they were unable to capitalize during this they would not be able to come back, a prediction which ultimately proved correct. In a final interesting notes, Captain Shane Doan almost led the Yotes in a fight after the game, which was unusual for the Captain but seemed to reflect the negative energy of the game and the frustration on the Coyotes team.