After going down 3-0 to the Edmonton Oilers, the Arizona Coyotes suddenly transformed into a different team, managing to outshoot their opponents 20 to 10 in the 2nd and 3rd periods of play.
However in a game tarnished by dirty hits, potential injuries, penalties and fights, the Oilers managed to hang on to their lead with a final score of 3 goals to 2 en-route to their first regulation win against the Coyotes since the 25th of January 2011.
1-0 Edmonton - After an Oilers’ shot rang off the post, the Coyotes went into scramble mode and got caught watching the puck. With all 5 Arizona players boxed in front of Smith and watching the play unfold, Mark Letestu was able to sneak into the slot and open the scoring. Coach Dave Tippett used a coaches challenge on the play, claiming goaltender interference. However, after review the call on the ice stood. Assists to Zack Kassian and Matt Hendricks at 8:13.
2-0 Edmonton - With 6 players hacking and whacking for the puck in front of Mike Smith, an Oilers’ shot eventually is made, pin-balling off Alex Goligoski before pin-balling again off Milan Lucic and into the back of the net. Assists to Mark Letestu and Leon Draisaitl at 15:07.
3-0 Edmonton - After an icing call against the Coyotes 4th line, the Oilers are able to capitalize against very tired Arizona players who are unable to clear the puck despite blocking some shots. The puck bounced from the left side to right across Smith’s crease from rebound after rebound, eventually being put in the back of a wide open net as the puck fell to Matt Hendricks with Smith out of position. Assists to Mark Letestu and Zack Kassian at 2:16.
3-1 Edmonton - The Coyotes finally get on the board through a power play as Martin Hanzal deflects a hot Radim Vrbata shot into the back of the net from right in front of Cam Talbot. Assists to Radim Vrbata and Oliver Ekman-Larsson at 11:19
3-2 Edmonton - With several players in the box, the Coyotes found themselves with a two man advantage thanks to a power play and an extra attacker with Mike Smith on the bench. Amid chaos in front of the net, Oliver Ekman-Larsson hacked and whacked at the puck until it finally went in over Cam Talbot. Assists to Radim Vrbata and Peter Holland at 19:55.
- Will Shane Doan score #400? - Unfortunately not, the Captain recorded 3 shots on goal and finished the night showing off his signature strength wrestling Zack Kassian to the ice.
- Will DeAngelo and/or Perlini play tonight and be effective - Anthony DeAngelo didn’t play but Brendan Perlini suited up and played again. He finished the night with a -1 +/- and 1 shot on goal. Was mostly quiet for the night and seemed reluctant to shoot.
- Can the Coyotes keep McDavid off the score sheet? - The Coyotes were successful here but were burned by the Oilers’ 4th line. Turns out the Oilers have much better depth now than they’ve had in recent years.
Players of the Game
Arizona - Radim Vrbata - Finished the night with assists on both Coyotes’ goals and made 5 shots on goal during the game.
Edmonton - Mark Letestu - Scored the opening goal of the night and assisted on both of the Oilers’ other goals. Didn’t hit or hurt any Coyotes as well so that’s gotta count for something.
- For more on the Edmonton Oilers, check out The Copper & Blue.
- Scratched for the Coyotes were Anthony DeAngelo, Kevin Connauton and Josh Jooris.
- Replacing Jooris in the lineup was exciting rookie forward Brendan Perlini.
- With 3:36 left in the first, Jakob Chychrun headed to the locker rooms after being checked into the boards by Matt Hendricks. Chychrun writhed in pain on the ice before being assisted off by the trainers and Radim Vrbata.
- Chychrun returned early in the 2nd period but was sent to the locker rooms again in the 3rd period after being sandwiched between two checks courtesy of Eric Gryba and Zack Kassian. Gryba hit the head of Chychrun on the play and received a 5 minute major penalty and a game misconduct. Chychrun didn’t return for the remainder of the game.
- Luke Schenn stood up for Chychrun and fought Gryba immediately following Gryba’s hit on Chychrun. Schenn was cut deeply on the face during the fight and went to the locker rooms to be looked at during his 5 minute major for fighting. He also received an instigator penalty on the play while Gryba received an additional 5 minute penalty for fighting as well.
- Within the last minute of play Oliver Ekman-Larsson was crossed checked by Zack Kassian. Fights then broke out between Shane Doan and Kassian as well as Martin Hanzal and Mark Letestu. Right after cross checking Ekman-Larsson, Kassian threw off his gloves despite no one challenging him yet. Before Doan arrived, Kassian made a few hits on a defenseless Anthony Duclair who was just trying to move Kassian away from Ekman-Larsson.
- The Oiler’s 4th line combined for 6 points for the night.
- No Christmas cheer in the game as the two teams combined for 21 penalties, accumulating to a massive 81 penalty minutes - all but 4 penalties came in the 3rd period.
- Attendance: 11,378
Arizona remain home to face the their third and final Canadian team in a row. Auston Matthews and the Toronto Maple Leafs will be in town for the last game before Christmas on Friday night. Puck drop is at 7:00 PM Arizona time at Gila River Arena.