The Phoenix Coyotes came out strong, and looked good against the Pittsburgh Penguins, but try as they might they were unable to get the pucks past goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury. Fleury was definitely the difference maker, he made the unbelievable saves when he needed too, and he made the standard saves look easy. With this loss, the Yotes have lost three in a row, and have lost their lead over the Pacific Division to the Dallas Stars, who have the same number of points as Phoenix but have won more games. Before the month started I sat down and mentally picked which games I thought would be the toughest for the Coyotes to win, and this was definitely top of the list. The Coyotes are going to need to bounce back with a win tomorrow against the Columbus Blue Jackets, and start up another streak and hopefully the Vancouver Canucks can get a regulation win over the Stars tomorrow night.
Recently the Coyotes have had a few problems in the first period, they have played sloppy and allowed the other team to get the lead, causing them to chase the game. Although the Penguins got the early lead this game it wasn't because the Yotes were playing another terrible first. They looked a lot tighter, they had some early scoring chances, and they had more shots on goal. The goals that the Penguins had in the first came from odd man rushes, which seems familiar and is definitely going to have to be something that needs to be addressed, but it wasn't from bad play in my opinion.
From what was discussed on the Fox Sports Arizona Ask An Expert Gilbert Brule was sat in favor of Paul Bissonnette. I love Bissonnette he definitely plays a physical game which is useful in slowing down teams and shifting momentum, but if this was the case for tonight's game it may have been the wrong choice. Brule is a goal scorer and say what you want about BizNasty, he isn't the biggest goal scorer.
To me the anchor of the Penguins game tonight was their exceptional tending. A quick look at the stats will show you why. The Coyotes had more shots on goal 37-28, and Fleury stopped all of them but one. He even went out of the net to block a break away from Martin Hanzel which could have easily resulted in the Coyotes getting on the board. The Penguins also played a great second half of the game, they controlled the puck excellently and there were periods where they kept the Coyotes from even getting into the Penguins zone. It was easy to see why they have the record that they do.
Notes From Consol
Our own MyDearestObsession was at the game at the Consol Energy Center and gave some notes from her experience at the game. Here they are:
Five For Winning