The Arizona Coyotes snatched defeat from the jaws of victory on Tuesday night, blowing a 3-0 lead for the first time in nearly four years. The dagger came at the hands of one of their own -- a Martin Hanzal own-goal in overtime to finish the Colorado Avalanche's comeback with a 4-3 victory.
It was a slow and painful journey from blow out win to overtime loss as the Avalanche chipped away at the Coyotes for much of the second period before the flood gates opened early in the third. By the time the clock showed 15:55 remaining in the third period, Colorado had tied the game. Poor coverage, poor execution, poor goaltending (at times) and poor possession led the Coyotes down the embarrassing path of squandering a big lead on home ice.
"We were dominating in the first period and we just had to keep going the same way, but we started playing too much in our own zone and gave up too many chances," said the scorer of Arizona's third goal Tobias Rieder.
There were plenty of mistakes, and blame to go around on the four goals Arizona allowed.
"The first two were poor coverage on our part, really poor coverage," head coach Dave Tippett said. "The one in the second period, our coverage wasn't very good. The first one of the third period was really poor coverage. One guy skates in-between two of ours and gets the rebound...then the next two are off of our sticks and in -- what are you going to do?"
Ultimately, the Coyotes benefitted from one goal off an Avalanche player and Colorado benefitted from two goals off Coyotes. However, if the Coyotes cannot win games in which they score three goals, especially when they have three-goal leads, it is hard to imagine them winning too many games.
"It doesn't feel good leaving points out there. We had a good handle on the game after the first period and let it get away. Even after the second period, we didn't have as good of a period as the first, but we were still up two goals, so it doesn't feel good when we go into the third period and blow leads," Michael Stone said.
The Coyotes scored a season-high three goals in the first period, kickstarted by an Antoine Vermette deflection off a Stone shot from the point. It would not be the last time Stone was involved in a Coyotes score.
Stone and Rieder scored 33 seconds apart to push Arizona's lead to three and chased starter Reto Berra from the game in favor of Calvin Pickard. Stone's shot deflected off the hand of Colorado defenseman Nick Holden, while Rieder just fooled Berra with on a 39-foot slapper.
"Their defenseman was stepping up on my side so I just tried to get behind them and Doaner made a nice pass, and I saw the other defenseman closing up on me so I just shot it and luckily it went in," Rieder said.
Everything that could go wrong went wrong for Colorado in the opening period. However, Arizona went a long way to proving the phenomenon of score effects, as they allowed the Avalanche to control the puck for nearly the entire middle period.
The Coyotes picked up their play toward the end of the middle frame, after a stretch of 12:37 without a shot. In the meantime, Colorado cut Arizona's lead to two. Gabriel Landeskog potted his fifth goal of the season as the beneficiary of an Erik Johnson rebound. It was the start of a big night for the 22-year-old.
Landeskog scored again 1:36 into the third period after Mike Smith lost his stick in the net and the puck bounced around before No. 92 smacked it through the five-hole for his second of the game. Matt Duchene tied the game 2:29 later off a puck that bounced off of Lauri Korpikoski's stick and over Smith's glove.
Daniel Briere was credited with the game-winner after he threw the puck toward the net and Hanzal batted it in like a Rafael Nadal trick shot at the French Open. It was a fitting end to a night of Coyotes errors.
- Colorado's perspective: Mile High Hockey
- The last time the Coyotes blew a 3-0 lead and lost was on Feb. 1, 2011 in a 5-3 loss to the Sharks.
- Shane Doan played his 1,338th game, moving into sole possession of 48th place on the NHL's all-time games played list.
- The Coyotes have 19 first-period goals this season, most in any period. Vermette leads all Coyotes with four.
- Stone recorded his 5th career multi-point game and first of the season.
- Attendance: 12,163
1. Gabriel Landeskog - A pair of goals
2. Michael Stone - Two points, five blocks in an all-around solid game
3. Calvin Pickard - He didn't start the game but he sure finished it, stopping all 25 shots he faced.
The Coyotes have a few days off for Thanksgiving until they meet the Calgary Flames on Saturday night. It's a late start time -- 8 p.m.