The Arizona Coyotes didn't play a very good game Sunday night. They were sluggish and sloppy with the puck. They were overmatched physically in puck battles far too often. But they were in the game and had a chance to win. They just had to avoid one mistake. One misstep. One pratfall.
With that one stumble, the Ducks took a lead they would not relinquish on the night. Patrick Maroon would convert a rebound into his first goal of the season 3:12 later. Maroon's goal would be the eventual game winner, but the Kyle Palmieri goal sealed the Coyotes fate on this night.
After playing late Saturday night against the Sharks, the Coyotes legs failed them for the start of this contest against the Anaheim Ducks. The Ducks got the drop on the Yotes, but Mike Smith kept his team in the game, stonewalling Anaheim through the opening 34 minutes. One caught edge later, and all of Smith's heroics were for naught.
Trailing 2-0 entering the third period, Arizona finally found the snooze button, woke up and played some real hockey. Keith Yandle found himself alone in the slot and drove home a nice pass from Martin Erat to cut the lead in half. Shane Doan and Tobias Rieder would get decent looks at chances to even things up, but couldn't get a puck past Frederik Andersen. The Coyotes power play would get two chances, including one in the final 36 seconds, but failed to find the equalizer. The Ducks played better for 40 minutes to the Coyotes' nice 20, and won the game by a similar score, 2-1.
- For the Anaheim perspective, visit Anaheim Calling.
- The Ducks outshot Arizona 25-10 over the first two periods. The Yotes turned the tables in the third, outshooting Anaheim 17-5.
- Arizona dominated the face-off circles, winning 35 of 59 (59.3%). Antoine Vermette (18 of 29) and Joe Vitale (10 of 15) both won over 60% of their face-offs.
- Rieder played well again, taking four shots and getting some penalty kill time.
- Yandle led all players in ice time tonight with 26:06 and scored the goal, but made some bad decisions early in the game that led to turnovers and Duck scoring chances.
- The Coyotes held the Ducks' top unit in check. Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf combined for zero points and only four shots on goal. They were also on the ice for the only Arizona goal.
Our Three Stars of the Game
- Ryan Kesler - Two assists and made the key play in the game, stockpiling Zbynek Michalek on a fallen Mike Smith.
- Sami Vatanen - The Ducks blueliner added an assist and three shots on goal to his growing totals. It was telling that he was on the ice for the final 36 seconds of the third with Anaheim's lead on the line.
- The ice - Something came up and bit Mike Smith's skate. It was as impactful as anything else in this game.
Arizona returns home to face the Colorado Avalanche on Tuesday night at Gila River Arena. What better appetizer for the Thanksgiving holiday than some hockey at Westgate?