It has been a long time since the Phoenix Coyotes had a winning streak of three games or more. I guess they are going to have to wait a while longer, as the Coyotes inexplicably coughed up yet another two goal lead with a dreadful 3rd period, losing 3-2 in regulation.
The Coyotes came out of the gate hungry for for offense. It appeared that they got it midway through the first, but an apparent goal was disallowed by fan favorite Tim Peel, who said the goaltender's pads had been pushed into the net. Never mind that Jaroslav Halak didn't really move at all, or that the puck was loose behind Halak before the whistle even approached Peel's lips, but that's what happened.
The hockey gods would reward the Coyotes for their persistence, however. Brandon McMillan would get sprung by Keith Yandle during a bad line change in the final two minutes of the first. He would bury the puck past Halak to give the Coyotes a 1-0 lead into the intermission. Phoenix thoroughly dominated the first period of play.
The 2nd period was not kind to the Coyotes when they played Montreal, so Phoenix made sure to come out stronger in the middle frame. Mike Smith did an excellent job weathering an early Capitals push, and once again the Coyotes power play comes up big. A shot by Michael Stone managed to squeak through Halak's pads, and Radim Vrbata was in the right place to help the puck over the line. It was a play very similar to the disallowed goal in the 1st, except this time the official waited before blowing the whistle.
Phoenix took a 23-19 shot advantage into the third period...and promptly threw everything they had done away. Karl Alzner scored his second goal of the season on a slap shot that Mike Smith never saw thanks to an inadvertent screen by Keith Yandle. 32 seconds later, Brooks Laich pitched a tent, built a campfire, roasted some s'mores, and then scored a goal on the front door as the Coyotes left him all alone in front of their net.
With the score tied at two apiece, the Coyotes still had a chance at reclaiming a lead or forcing overtime, but a very poorly timed offensive zone penalty by David Moss sent the 2nd best power play in the NHL to the ice. And of course the only reason I'm mentioning how good they are was because they scored, this time off the stick of Troy Brouwer, to make the game 3-2. The game would stay that way, as Phoenix never really got decent looks at the net afterwards.
Our Three Stars of the Game
- 3rd Star - Karl Alzner - Despite suffering an apparent injury in the early going, the Caps defenseman returned in time to score Washington's first goal and get them back in the game.
- 2nd Star - Brandon McMillan - A shame McMillan's effort is going to get overshadowed by a terrible loss, as he scored a goal, had a second taken away, and was zipping up and down the ice all night long.
- 1st Star - Troy Brouwer - The Coyotes handed him a dagger, and he made no mistake in plunging it straight through their hearts.
- I think this tweet says it all:
The #Coyotes gave up nine goals in four games this week. Of those nine, seven came in the third period. Not a recipe for success.— Dave Dulberg (@TheDoubleD) March 9, 2014
- Brandon Gormley and Chris Brown were both called up by their NHL clubs, but neither dressed tonight.
- Shots ended up being even at 33 apiece.
- Brandon McMillan scored his first goal in the NHL since he was a member of the Anaheim Ducks back in 2011. He probably should have had a pair, but...
- Former Capitals Mike Ribeiro, Jeff Halpern, and Martin Erat combined for a grand total of zero shots on net.
- Phoenix only took two penalties in this game, but boy was that last one a doozy. Washington only took three.
- Dimitri Orlov had no shots in his return to the lineup after serving a two game suspension, but did draw the Moss penalty that turned into the game winning goal.
The Coyotes travel down to the Sunshine State for a game Monday night against the Tampa Bay Lightning. Puck drops at 4:30 PM Arizona time, though someone may also want to post an end time so the team doesn't pack it in too early in the game.