Tonight’s Arizona Coyotes looked much more like the team we were expecting at the beginning of the season: lots of fun back-and-forth both ways, and some spectacular scoring along the way.
Arizona scored four times to end a six game losing streak, as they defeated the Nashville Predators 4-1 on Saturday night at Gila River Arena.
1-0 Arizona - Alex Goligoski finally lit the lamp this season thanks to a great pass from Lawson Crouse. Crouse beat two Nashville defenders behind the Predators’ net and fed Goligoski at the near-side point. Goligoski’s shot found its way through four players and past Pekka Rinne to open the scoring. Assists to Crouse and Jordan Martinook on the goal at 12:50.
2-0 Arizona - Freshly called up from the AHL, Laurent Dauphin scored his second of the season with some tenacious play by the fourth line. Jakob Chychrun led the charge into the offensive zone and hooked up Ryan White, who found Tyler Gaudet in the high slot. Gaudet’s shot banged off the post, but Laurent Dauphin was in perfect position to bat home the rebound. Assists to Gaudet and White on the goal at 14:47.
2-1 Arizona - The Predators would get one back just over a minute later, as Roman Josi’s point shot was inadvertently deflected in off of Jakob Chychrun, who was standing right in front of Smith. Assists to Viktor Arvidsson and Ryan Johansen on the goal at 15:50.
3-1 Arizona - The man with the best first name in hockey scored his first career NHL goal on a nifty feed from Shane Doan. Brendan Perlini found a soft spot in Nashville’s coverage as three defenders were caught watching Doan along the boards. Doan found Perlini, who quickly settled the puck and fired a wicked wrister over Pekka Rinne. Assists to Doan and Jakob Chychrun on the goal at 12:48.
4-1 Arizona - The Coyotes kept attacking late into the game, and it was the veterans who finished off the scoring on the night. Radim Vrbata came barreling in along the near-side thanks to a gorgeous stretch pass from Alex Goligoski. His shot was too much to handle for Rinne, and Martin Hanzal benefited by sliding home the rebound with Matt Irwin draped over him. Assists to Vrbata and Goligoski on the goal at 14:28.
1. Will the losing streak end? - The Coyotes finally got of the schneid by taking advantage of rebounds and defensive miscues. It wasn’t a perfect effort, but Arizona made sure Mike Smith didn’t have to be perfect.
2. Jordan Martinook where are you? - Camped out in front of the net apparently, as his partial screen helped ensure Alex Goligoski scored his first goal of the season. Martinook played 15:43 and recorded an assist on the night.
3. Will the Coyotes take advantage of the power play opportunities tonight? - Arizona officially went 0 for 2 on the power play, but Perlini’s goal came four seconds after a Roman Josi penalty expired, and before Josi could get back into position, so it might as well have been a power play goal.
Players of the Game
Nashville - Viktor Arvidsson - Arvidsson had the primary assist on the Josi goal and took five shots for the Predators. The 112th overall selection in 2014 is thriving with the Predators this year.
Arizona - Brendan Perlini - The first career goal is always special, and it was great to see Perlini’s celebration after fighting through a tough season in the OHL last year.
- For more on the Nashville Predators, check out On the Forecheck
- Anthony Duclair was a healthy scratch tonight.
- Peter Holland did not play for the Coyotes, and is not expected to join the team until later this week as he sorts out his work visa.
- Connor Murphy left the game in the first period and did not return.
- Tonight was the first time since November 8th that Arizona scored four goals in a game.
- Mike Smith made 40+ saves for the 5th time in 10 games with a 44 save performance tonight. The difference is Arizona finally gave him some goal support along the way.
- Shane Doan had a third period penalty shot to score his 400th career goal, but was rebuffed by Pekka Rinne.
Arizona goes back East to begin a four game road trip. First up: the Pittsburgh Penguins. Puck drop is at 5 PM Arizona time on Monday.