This was another game that could have gone the other way, but Mikkel Boedker wouldn't let that happen. Let's take a closer look to how the Arizona Coyotes earned their third straight victory, and fourth out of the last five games.
The opening of the game couldn't have possibly been better. It took just 38 seconds for Boedker to score the first goal of the night. Michael Stone made a long shot from the blueline that hit Erik Karlsson's body, but Boeds was there to pick the loose puck and shoot it above Anderson's left shoulder and into the net. Flashes of the game in Ottawa a month earlier came to everyone's mind, as Boedker was celebrating with his teammates.
The rest of the first period would be much different though, as the Senators dominated. It all started with an Antoine Vermette hooking penalty on Mika Zibanejad. The Coyotes admittedly did a good job on the PK, but the momentum shifted and even after it was five on five, it seemed like the Sens had the man advantage. Ottawa was possessing the puck for an overwhelming amount of time, putting up a lot of shots on Anders Lindback.
At 07:28, Mike Hoffman tied the game on an easy wrist shot after receiving a beautiful pass from behind the net by Bobby Ryan. It was without a doubt a great play, but the Coyotes could have done a much better job on the defensive coverage there (Martin Hanzal especially, who just lost Hoffman).
Ottawa's pressure though wouldn't stop there, as they kept pounding the net, forcing Lindback to make some great saves. Notably, Hoffman almost scored again on a wrist shot off the faceoff, but Arizona's goalie kept it tied with a great pad save.
By the end of the lethargic first period, Arizona had four shots on goal, while Ottawa had 18. That's a huge difference, and it is impressive that the game was carried into the second tied at 1-1. Fatigue from last night's battle into the overtime against the Calgary Flames was visible, and it seemed like the Coyotes couldn't keep up with the Senators' pace. But wait...
The second period started just like the first, as Boedker scored yet again in less than one minute! After some great puck movement, Stone found Vermette in the right corner, who in turn passed it to Boeds in front of the net. After a couple of attempts to push the puck into the net, he managed to beat Craig Anderson.
You'd be forgiven for thinking you were watching a rerun of the first period, as the Coyotes gave up another penalty shortly after Boedker's goal, this time by Dustin Jeffrey. This time though there was no doubt left as to who had the momentum. Just as the PP expired, Tobias Rieder found the box-exiting Jeffrey, who went five-hole on Anderson to score his first goal as a Coyote.
The Senators didn't get a shot on goal in the second period until midway through it. The two teams would then trade a few shots until the last couple of minutes of the second period, when one really bizarre call was made. Following a Connor Murphy penalty, Mike Hoffman managed to score once again on a rocket slapshot.
There was one problem with that though; Alex Chiasson seemed to obstruct Anders Lindback with an elbow to the head. Dave Tippett noticed that, and decided to challenge the call, claiming goalie interference. But the refs decided the call stood. Tippett was understandably furious, as his post game comments indicate:
I've looked at it 10 times. Somebody has to explain that to me. I can't believe it wasn't overturned.
So the Coyotes were up 3-2 heading into the third period. There, the Senators got some quality chances, especially when Erik Karlsson hit the post before the 10th minute. Karlsson was firing at the net in the third period, as he was desperately trying to score. This was Boedker's night though, and nobody could ruin that.
Following a faceoff win by Vermette at 13:24, Max Domi took the puck and made a wrist shot that Anderson saved. Boeds though would get the rebound and comfortably beat Anderson to earn the hat-trick! That would be his third career hat-trick, two of which were earned this year against the Ottawa Senators.
It is the first time ever that the Senators conceded two hat-tricks to the same player in one season. What is more impressive is that this happened against a team that is not in the same division or even the same conference. Boedker had to make both his appearances against Ottawa count.
But just one minute later, the Senators would strike back. Mark Stone took a shot on Lindback that was initially saved, but the puck took a crazy bounce behind the goalie's back and went into the net. Ottawa kept pressuring to tie the game and lead it to OT, but a Kyle Turris penalty while on the empty net pretty much sealed the deal.
Our Three Stars of the Game
- 3rd Star: Michael Stone. Stone's two assists were key to Boedker getting his hat-trick. He avoided making mistakes and was pretty solid defensively.
- 2nd Star: Anders Lindback. It is not usual for a goalie to be one of the three stars of the game when he has conceded three goals. But Lindback was great, as he managed to stop 35 shots (.921 save percentage).
- 1st Star: Mikkel Boedker. No argument here. Boeds was stellar tonight, scoring 3 goals and giving the Coyotes a very important win. He has now scored 9 goals this season, with 6 of them coming against the Senators!
Fancy Stat Report
|Ottawa Senators||Arizona Coyotes|
|1st Period Corsi Events||32||10|
|2nd Period Corsi Events||18||18|
|3rd Period Corsi Events||20||8|
|Total Corsi Events||70||36|
No suprises here; corsi events favor the Senators, especially in the first period. You can see in the following graph how quickly the gap was widened in the first period, and how it never actually closed.
- The team's character and passion. While everyone is focusing on how much more talented this team is in comparison to last year, let's point out another main difference: This team has a character and a passion to play. These guys didn't let the fatigue from the back-to-back stop them, they weren't scared that they were facing a great, hot team, and they didn't panic each time the Senators threatened to tie the game or take the lead. They kept their composure and managed to hold on to the victory. It is also so apparent that everyone is having a lot of fun this year; the smiles and the body language suggest so.
- Mikkel Boedker. Another inspiring performance by the Danish forward against the Senators. If he finds some consistency, he will be one of the most vital players for the Coyotes.
- The Coyotes cannot afford to give up so many shots on goal going forward. Anders Lindback was great tonight but he still conceded 3 goals, since there is only so much a goalie can do. The defense needs to improve, as the team will have trouble winning a lot of games when being outshot by that much.
The Coyotes begin a five-game road trip next. The first match is on Tuesday against the Nashville Predators, a team that has just one more point than the Coyotes. Puck drops at 6:00 PM Arizona time.