The Arizona Coyotes’ scoring woes continued on Wednesday night as the Sedona Red’s forwards never truly threatened to score against even the leakiest defense in the NHL.
Even with Mike Smith making a strong return from injury, the Coyotes continued inability to score cost them what should have been a straightforward 2 points against the Calgary Flames.
Instead, Arizona leaves Alberta thankful they escaped with 1 point at all.
No goals in the first period. Coyotes had a greater quantity of scoring chances but the Flames had more quality scoring chances, occasionally having Arizona scrambling around out of position in their own defensive end. It seemed luck or fate kept Calgary off the scoreboard at this point in time.
1-0 Arizona - As Anthony Duclair hobbled to the bench with an apparent injury, the Calgary Flames acted as if they had cleared their zone. They hadn’t. With the puck on the blue line, Jordan Martinook threw the puck on net forcing the half asleep Chad Johnson to make a save. Lurking for the rebound behind the actually asleep Flames defenders, Tobias Rieder grabbed the rebound and slotted the puck home. Assist to Martinook at 19:42.
“Hell, it’s about time.” - Coyotes’ fans everywhere after Rieder scored.
1-1 Tie - After the Flames won an offensive zone faceoff, Matthew Tkachuk took the puck around the face-off circle to the left of Mike Smith and scored from an incredibly tight 90 degree angle shot on the goal-line. An incredible goal. Assist to Mikael Backlund at 6:40.
2-1 Calgary - A very rare and costly turnover by Brad Richardson in the neutral zone led to a breakaway opportunity for Michael Frolik. Frolik made sure not to waste his chance, beating Mike Smith high on his glove side. Unassisted at 0:49.
- Can the Coyotes play decent hockey on the road? - Given the Flames woes so far this season, tonight’s game by the Coyotes is certainly no indicator they’ve solved their road trip issues that have plagued them early in the 2016-17 season. Tonight’s performance just reinforces the idea Arizona currently can’t play hockey on the road.
- Hello Shane Doan, are you there? - Still no points for the Captain but he certainly left his mark on the match making 3 hits and blocking 3 shots. Definitely an improvement for Doan on his recent performances. Now we can hope he makes the same effort tomorrow night against the Canucks.
- Will Dylan Strome play? - Dylan Strome was again a healthy scratch despite Christian Dvorak being sent down to the Tucson Roadrunners in the AHL. The Coyotes continued to have problems scoring - give Strome another go!
Players of the Game
Calgary - Chad Johnson - The former Coyote didn’t have to play above his skill level as he only faced 21 shots for the night. But given Calgary only started producing their own scoring chances in decent quantities from halfway through the game, Johnson bought his Flames teammates much needed time to seal the deal.
Arizona - Jordan Martinook - Martinook continued to play his solid and consistent style of game amid the chaos of issues facing other Coyotes. He was the catalyst for Arizona’s only goal of the night and gave 100% on every shift.
- For more on the Calgary Flames, check out Matchsticks & Gasoline.
- Mike Smith made his return tonight and did what he needed to do, finishing with a .917 save %. It is unfortunate that the his forwards let him down by not firing in his comeback match.
- Martin Hanzal also made his return tonight playing 19:42 of ice time, recording 1 shot, 1 hit, 2 blocks, and a face-off win rate of 39%.
- Meanwhile, Connor Murphy and Jakob Chychrun were scratched against the Flames, joining Dylan Strome on the sidelines.
- Midway through the 2nd period, Oliver Ekman-Larsson was hit hard (and cleanly) by Michael Ferland and went down into the Coyotes’ locker room. He returned at the beginning of the 3rd period.
- Likewise, it appeared as if Anthony Duclair sustained an injury at the end of the 2nd period but he too returned at the beginning of the 3rd period.
- Arizona blocked a whopping 27 shots to Calgary’s 6 - indicating the Coyotes gave the Flames far too much possession time. Leading the way in blocked shots for the Coyotes was Michael Stone with 4, while Luke Schenn, Shane Doan, Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Alex Goligoski and Lawson Crouse each finished with 3.
Arizona will now play again tomorrow, when they travel to Vancouver to play the also struggling Canucks. Puck drop is at 8 PM Arizona time.