The Phoenix Coyotes have been called many things this season, some positive some negative, but one thing that they were rarely, if ever, called was a comeback team. Tonight the Yotes were down 3 goals after the first period against the LA Kings, but they somehow managed to find a way to come back from behind and get the victory over the Kings in the shoot out in a game that featured THREE Phoenix power play goals. I'm not sure which I would have considered more unlikely before this game, crawling back from a three goal deficit or scoring three power play goals.
Discounting the first period, which was just god aweful, the Coyotes played a very solid game. Special teams were amazing the above mentioned 3 PPGs, and they only allowed 1 LA power play goal. Martin Hanzal racked up 3 assists, Radim Vrbata got 2 power play goals, and Captain Coyote Shane Doan got himself two goals, one of the power play variety. There was speculation before this game if Hanzal would be skating after he left the game against Dallas, and thankfully he was well enough to play because he was key to the success. One unfortunate note is Gilbert Brule took a shoulder to the head from LA's Kyle Clifford, he was ejected from the game and will hopefully be suspended for that dirty play. Brule was a penalty magnet this game, he was tripped twice going to the net which helped the Yotes stage their comeback.
LA played a very solid first period, and scored a lot considering offense has not been their strong point this season. I'm sure that Darryl Sutter will be furious at his team though for letting the 3 goal lead slowly slip away against a team that is not known for comebacks, power plays, or shoot outs. The Kings did manage to grab one point from this game, which allowed them to jump ahead of Calgary, so it isn't a total loss for them. I am hesitant to accuse any player of dirty play but Clifford's hit on Brule definitely did not sit well with me, and hopefully the Kings will be playing a few games without him.
Your Summary of the Game:
by: NAU yotes fan
Five For Winning:
1. Defense. The Kings don't have the best offense, so a strong defense will keep them from getting on the board. Limit their chances to get weak or lucky goals and hopefully prevent the Kings from getting a lead. Defense in the first period was terrible, but they managed to stop the bleeding and only allowed the Kings to score once more.
2. Score first. Coyotes scored first the last time these two teams met, and it turned out great. Hopefully they can do it again. Nope
3. Win in regulation. The Kings are fighting for a spot in the playoffs, giving them a point now is a bad idea, especially since it took so long for the Yotes to overtake the Kings in the Pacific Division. Nope, but a win is a win.
4. Be ready to drop the gloves. We don't know what feelings the Kings have after last weeks game, they are frustrated and if they fall behind they are only going to get more frustrated. The Coyotes shouldn't go looking for a fight but they should be ready for one. And on that note . . . Paul Bissonnette was ready to drop the gloves, he dropped one of them, and got his hand slashed for doing it. With the Kings leading though they weren't stupid enough to go looking for a fight.
5. Play smart. Don't take any penalties that they don't need to, don't have important players spend time in the box for fighting. Ideally players like Ray Whitney and Radim Vrbata should do everything they can to stay on the ice. Keith Yandle took a roughing penalty for going after Clifford. Honestly I would be more upset if he didn't.
Our Three Stars:
1. Radim Vrbata: He scored the first goal and the tying goal, which happened to be his 30th goal of the season. He is now tied for fourth in the NHL for goals and leads the Western Conference. If he this doesn't get him more attention from around the league I don't know what will.
2. Martin Hanzal: He was involved in 3 of the 4 Coyotes goals during this game, without him the win may not have happened.
3. Shane Doan. Doaner was looking for his second hat trick and he came close a couple of times, but scoring 2 big goals isn't too shabby either.
Ray Whitney and Mikkel Boedker for the shoot out goals.
Comment of the Night:
The Coyotes have managed to tie the San Jose Sharks for the Pacific Conference lead and are looking to overtake them for the conference title. Right now the Sharks have played less games but they are not doing so well this month, 3-6-1, while the Coyotes are doing amazing, 8-0-1, including a win against the Sharks. The best way for Phoenix to keep the pressure up and maybe surpass the Sharks is Thursday against Calgary, and even though the Yotes beat them last time they meet in overtime they need to go into the game ready for anything.