The Arizona Coyotes had been on the road for two weeks. The Colorado Avalanche played last night in Denver. And it showed in Gila River Arena.
Arizona fell 3-2 to the Avalanche on Saturday night in Glendale in a game marked by missed passes, tired penalties, and defensive miscues.
1-0 Arizona: The Coyotes have got the strong starts down pat at this point. On a clean zone entry, Martin Hanzal slid a pass to a streaking Max Domi, who found Radim Vrbata alone in the slot for the opening goal of the night. Assists to Domi and Hanzal on the goal at 14:57.
1-1 Tie: Colorado got their first of the game on an excellent effort from Matt Duchene. Mikhail Grigorenko skated behind the net and fed Duchene in front, who fended off Alex Goligoski to spin around and backhand the puck past Louis Domingue. Assists to Grigorenko and Erik Johnson on the goal at 5:51.
2-1 Colorado: The Gila River boards put the Coyotes behind the eight-ball early in the third, as Rene Bourque was in the right place to collect a lively rebound and roof the puck over Domingue’s shoulder. Assists to Nathan MacKinnon and Tyson Barrie on the power play goal at 1:42.
3-1 Colorado: The air swiftly went out of the building as Matt Duchene doubled Colorado’s lead. As he broke in, Oliver Ekman-Larsson over-corrected to cut off a move to the inside. Duchene took a shot that deflected off of Domingue’s glove and in the net. Assists to Gabriel Landeskog and Eric Gelinas on the goal at 11:24.
3-2 Colorado: Arizona made things interesting late in the third on an absolutely beautiful play by Oliver Ekman-Larsson. Off of a defensive zone faceoff, Ekman-Larsson stretched the puck through the entire neutral zone to find Tobias Rieder, who broke in all alone and scored on Calvin Pickard. Assists to Ekman-Larsson and Brad Richardson on the goal at 15:56.
- Can the Coyotes cut down the penalties? - Arizona only took three minor penalties this time, but the third one proved to be costly, as the Coyotes took their first lead of the night thanks to the man advantage.
- Can Arizona exploit line matchups? - The Domi-Hanzal-Vrbata line had some chemistry throughout the game, but Arizona had a hard time getting anything consistently going until the last couple minutes of the second and third periods, which was not quite enough time to even the score.
- Will Dylan Strome make his home debut? - Nope. The Coyotes clearly think that just being around the NHL team and working with the coaching staff is more valuable for Strome’s development than more time in the OHL, but at some point he’s going to need to get some meaningful minutes again.
Players of the Game
Colorado - Matt Duchene - Duchene scored both of Colorado’s even-strength goals, as his speed proved very difficult for the Coyotes to stop. His first goal came despite Alex Goligoski essentially draping himself on top of Duchene.
Arizona - Max Domi - Domi had the primary assist on the Vrbata goal, and his line created a lot of Arizona’s best offensive chances. When we noted that Domi could do for Hanzal and Vrbata what Ray Whitney did for them in 2011-12, we got a nickname suggestion we can’t help but like.
@Five4Howling If Whitney was the Wizard, then Domi is the Warlock.— CochiseJack (@CochiseJack) October 30, 2016
- For the Colorado perspective, check out Mile High Hockey
- With Michael Stone out, Kevin Connauton drew in to the line-up as Alex Goligoski moved over to the right side.
- Jordan Martinook appeared to take an awkward tumble into the boards late in the third, but did manage to return to finish the game.
- The assist on the Rieder goal was Oliver Ekman-Larsson’s first of the season. His other five points this year had all been goals.
- Shot attempt totals were 60-45 in favor of Colorado, and 45-33 Colorado at even-strength.
Arizona gets a two day break from game action before their next game Tuesday night against the San Jose Sharks on NBC Sports.rks. Puck drop is at 7 PM Arizona time.