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Arizona Coyotes make it three in a row

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The Arizona Coyotes score two quick second period goals and ride Mike Smith to a 3-2 shootout victory in Anaheim.

Harry How

Arizona's short jaunt to the West Coast proved to be a fruitful one.

The Arizona Coyotes scored two goals in the second and two goals in the shootout to defeat the Anaheim Ducks 3-2 at the Honda Center on Friday evening. It was the team's third consecutive victory, and their first win in the shootout this season.

The Arizona Coyotes are going to eventually figure out that the first period actually matters, as one again the team looked sluggish out of the gate. Sam Gagner took an early tripping penalty that Ryan Getzlaf converted to give Anaheim an early 1-0 lead at 5:02 of the 1st period. Three and a half minutes later, Matt Beleskey would tally his seventh of the year out of a bad Connor Murphy turnover to give the Ducks the dreaded two goal lead. Arizona would improve as the period went on, though they remained unable to score.

The second period proved that fortunes in hockey can turn very quickly. Rob Klinkhammer knocked in his third of the year on a terrific series of passes down low from Martin Hanzal and Martin Erat at 3:55 of the second. 58 seconds later, Shane Doan would take a wrist shot that Frederik Andersen appeared to simply whiff on to draw the Coyotes even.

Arizona and Anaheim would trade scoring chances for much of the rest of the second period, including a late period power play for Arizona. But the Coyotes were unable to convert and went into the 2nd intermission still tied at 2-2.

The quick strikes that Arizona scored in the second period prompted some within the organization to wonder if the Ducks would need to adopt more unorthodox tactics in the third:

Anaheim would not resort to such methods, but the pace of play would definitely pick up down the stretch as both teams attempted to take another lead. Despite several good scoring chances, Frederik Andersen and Mike Smith both came up big, and the two teams would each get a point before the dry scrape took us to overtime.

The extra frame would be controlled mostly by Anaheim punctuated on a couple of occasions by solid chances on net for the Coyotes. Arizona managed to weather the storm before going to a shootout.

In the skills competition, Arizona received goals from both Sam Gagner and Mikkel Boedker. While Jakob Silfverberg would score first for the Ducks, Smith would stop Devante Smith-Pelly and Ryan Kesler would fire his shot wide to give the Coyotes the extra point.

Our Three Stars of the Game

  • 3rd Star - Martin Erat. Martin Erat is an entirely different player from 2013-14. An assist on the night, and an all around great game from the Czech forward.
  • 2nd Star - Rob Klinkhammer. Scored the first goal for the Coyotes, and was one of only three Coyotes to finish with a positive Corsi +/-.
  • 1st Star - Mike Smith. Smith made 37 saves on 39 shots, some of the spectacular variety. He added one more in the shootout for good measure to give the Coyotes the win.

Paw Prints

  • For Anaheim's perspective, check out Anaheim Calling.
  • Corey Perry was a late scratch from tonight's game after missing the Ducks' previous game against the New York Islanders with the flu. Dany Heatley did not play either.
  • Connor Murphy did not have a great game. He lost a board battle that contributed directly to the second Ducks goal and then took two penalties in quick succession in the third. One has to wonder if Murphy will be seeing some time in the press box soon.
  • USA Olympic defenseman Cam Fowler left the game with a lower body injury and did not return.
  • The Coyotes got walloped in the Corsi battle 73-48 in regulation, despite winning the faceoff battle 30-27.
  • Arizona would go 0 for 3 on the power play, and 3 for 4 on the penalty kill.
  • Notorious Coyote killer Andrew Cogliano would be kept off the scoresheet for the entire game, and seemed to really be fighting the puck for most of the game.

Looking Ahead

Arizona comes back to the Valley immediately, as tomorrow they take on the New York Islanders. Game starts at 6 PM, so come by the arena after watching the ASU-Notre Dame game.