The Arizona Coyotes have held off the San Jose Sharks in a close affair to take a much needed win in their first Pacific Division match-up for the season.
The night did not start well for the Coyotes who finished the 1st period a goal down and with a shot differential of 14 to 6 in favor of the Sharks. However, the Coyotes’ offense exploded in the 2nd period, laying 3 unanswered goals on the Sharks.
From there, inspired by the play of their goaltender Louis Domingue, the Coyotes held on en-route to blocking 27 shots and a 3 goals to 2 victory.
1-0 San Jose: With speed, Patrick Marleau (aka Mr San Jose Shark) weaved through and past Kevin Connauton and Luke Schenn who were both caught flat footed, scoring a simple wrist shot from right in front of Louis Domingue. Assists to Melker Karlsson and Tomas Hertl at 14:07.
1-1 Tie: After an attempted rush on Martin Jones, Brad Richardson found himself with time and space behind the San Jose net. With little pressure, Richardson waltzed in front of the net from behind before backhanding it home to tie up the game. Assists to Tobias Rieder and Luke Schenn at 3:42.
2-1 Arizona: Not long after the Richardson goal, Lawson Crouse, Jordan Martinook and Ryan White battled along the boards in the Coyotes’ offensive zone. Working together, they managed to pass the puck back to Kevin Connauton who took a shot from the blue line. Crouse and Martiook now had both moved in front of the Sharks’ goaltender and Crouse managed to score a redirected tip-in goal, his first NHL career goal. Assists to Connauton and White at 4:50.
3-1 Arizona: Jamie McGinn scored what would eventually be the game-winning-goal on a soft wrist shot from close to the blue line. Thanks to an excellent screen by Anthony Duclair, Sharks’ goaltender Martin Jones was unable to see the long range shot as it flew over his left shoulder and in. Assists to Oliver Ekman-Larsson and Alex Goligoski at 11:59.
3-2 Arizona: With Martin Jones pulled for an extra attacker in the last minutes of the game, San Jose piled the pressure on Arizona who eventually buckled, thankfully with only 12 seconds left in the game. It wouldn’t have been a true homecoming for Mikkel Boedker without scoring against his former team - and that he did as the Coyotes got caught puck-watching behind the net, leaving Boedker alone in front of Domingue. From there he easily whacked the goal home off a nice feed from Joonas Donskoi who had been battling behind the net. Assists to Donskoi and Hertl at 19:48.
- Will Anthony Duclair and Max Domi return to form? - Max Domi was quiet against the Sharks (he always has been when playing vs San Jose, statistically speaking) - however Anthony Duclair had his game of the season and did everything he could to help the Coyotes win besides score a goal or record a point. Now if he keeps playing as he did tonight, goals and more points can’t be too far away. Duclair would have been Five for Howling’s Arizona player of the game for the match had it not been for the outstanding play of goaltender Louis Domingue.
- Can Louis Domingue be consistent? - As mentioned all over this game wrap-up, Louis Domingue was stellar against the Sharks. Domingue has now strung together 3 strong games in a row which can be read as the beginning of consistency. Now he has to prove it wasn't a fluke and prevent, at least for a time, there being any Coyote losses as a result of him letting in too many easy goals.
- Will Dylan Strome make his home debut? - Yes. With Christian Dvorak sent down to the Tuscon Roadrunners in the AHL, it appeared criminal if Arizona didn't play Strome in his place against the San Jose Sharks. Thankfully the franchise recognized this and Strome went on to play his first home game in the Sedona red, recording 1 shot on goal and 16:49 minutes of ice time. He looked particularly alive in the 3rd period where he made clutch defensive plays and potentially could have scored had he not been so selfless, opting to pass instead of shoot on several occasions.
Players of the Game
Arizona - Louis Domingue - Domingue was on fire against the Sharks. He finished with a .951 SV% and made 39 saves on 41 shots. Both goals scored against the Coyotes can be attributed to sloppy defensive work as Domingue went on to make several huge and game winning saves. Should be considered unfortunate not to have recorded his first shutout of the season.
San Jose - Mikkel Boedker - As predicted, Boedker came out flying hoping to prove in front of his old team and fans. He showed off his trademark speed and threatened in the offensive zone all game and was eventually rewarded with 12 seconds left in the match as he scored his first goal since October 15th.
- For the San Jose perspective, check out Fear the Fin.
- Scratched for the Coyotes were Michael Stone (day-to-day) and Laurent Dauphin.
- Just over 2 minutes into the match, Ryan White and Michael Haley dropped the mitts - White appeared to come off best from the fight, landing the majority of blows on Haley.
- It was Brad Richardson’s 600th NHL career game.
- Martin Hanzal did not return to the ice after the 1st period ended. Dave Tippett revealed post game that Hanzal had been injured sometime between the last game and the warm-ups of this game, but Hanzal had declared himself right to play. After the 1st period was over, Hanzal decided this was not the case after all.
- Tobias Rieder disappeared during the 3rd period after blocking 4 shots - Tippett speculated that it may have been the accumulation of injury and pain inflicted on the winger that forced him out of the game.
- Both Hanzal and Rieder are now considered day-to-day with lower-body injuries. With only one healthy forward scratched (Dauphin), it now seems likely that the Coyotes will recall at least one forward from the Tuscon Roadrunners.
- The 39 saves made by Domingue marked a career high for the young goaltender.
The Coyotes will stay at home and host the Nashville Predators on Thursday night. Puck drop is at 7:00pm Arizona time at Gila River Arena. The game can also be watched on Fox Sports Arizona or listened to on Arizona Sports 98.7-FM.