They didn't survive. Yes, the Coyotes were physically at the game, but that was the extent of their presence in the building. They crashed and burnt en-route to 4-0 dull as heck loss. Not so much as a yelp as the Blackhawks were allowed to walk all over Mike Smith.
Despite playing against a Chicago Blackhawks lineup missing Jonathan Toews and Corey Crawford and mixing up their own offensive lines to create a spark, the Arizona Coyotes continued to struggle to score.
Not only did Arizona fail to score but they also let Chicago get on the board too easily, hanging Mike Smith out to dry on multiple occasions.
1-0 Chicago - Good movement by the Blackhawks on the Power Play as Artem Anisimov is left right in front of Mike Smith when Luke Schenn should have been protecting Smith’s space. Patrick Kane capitalizes by throwing the puck on net where Anisimov is allowed to leave his stick on the ice and tip a straightforward goal in through Smith’s five-hole. Assists to Patrick Kane and Brent Seabrook at 15:37.
2-0 Chicago - On the transition the Blackhawks caught Oliver Ekman-Larsson out of position forcing Connor Murphy to defend against a 2 on 1 rush. Ryan Hartman managed to make a great pass under pressure from Murphy, finding Marian Hossa all alone with Smith. Hossa worked with the smallest of spaces and scored above Smith’s pad and below his glove. Assists to Hartman and Trevor van Riemsdyk at 6:26.
3-0 Chicago - 19 Seconds later on the play immediately following the Blackhawks’ last goal, Chicago struck again. Richard Panik created a breakaway opportunity for himself by stealing the puck from Michael Stone. Smith stopped the initial shot but spilled the puck behind the net where Panik picked it up again before feeding it back to the front where Dennis Rasmussen scored. Assist to Panik at 6:45.
4-0 Chicago - In the dying minutes of the game, the Coyotes once again turn the puck over in the neutral zone. The play comes straight back with a stretch pass to that puts Hossa on a breakaway. For the second time in the game, Hossa beats Smith one-on-one. Assist to Niklas Hjalmarsson at 16:44.
- Will the Coyotes Defense show up tonight? - They turned up in the sense Coyotes’ defenders led the shot category for the team, but otherwise they were very poor in the defensive aspect of the game.
- Will Mike Smith be able to bounce back from the loss against Columbus on Saturday? - Smith didn’t attempt to steal the game for the Coyotes again but he shouldn’t have to. While he didn’t have to face a monumental amount of shots like in recent games, Arizona’s defenders still gave-away several high quality opportunities to the Blackhawks’ forwards meaning Smith had a rough night, though no fault of his own.
- Will Shane Doan hit 400 goals tonight? - Unfortunately not. One lone goal for the Coyotes wouldn’t have changed much tonight anyway, so hopefully Doan’s 400th comes at a critical moment when Arizona has a chance at winning.
Players of the Game
Chicago - Marian Hossa - With 2 goals on the night, Hossa showed why he is a certified Coyote killer.
Arizona - Michael Stone - Despite being directly responsible for a turnover that led to a Blackhawks’ goal, Stone did his best to get the Coyotes going, recording 3 shots, 3 hits and blocking 4 shots.
- For more on the Chicago Blackhawks, check out Second City Hockey.
- Tyler Gaudet was scratched again, taking a seat for the returning Anthony Duclair who was a healthy scratch in the Coyotes’ last game against the Columbus Blue Jackets.
- Joining Gaudet on the sidelines as a healthy scratch was Coyotes’ 7th defenseman Kevin Connauton.
- Radim Vrbata started the game on the third line alongside Jordan Martinook and Brendan Perlini. Anthony Duclair started the game on the first line with Martin Hanzal and Max Domi. The move is probably to help energize Duclair rather than punish Vrbata.
- There were other shakeups within the Coyotes’ startling lines with Jamie McGinn playing on the 4th line, Brendan Perlini playing on the 3rd line and Tobias Rieder returning to the 2nd line.
- Michael Stone and Jakob Chychrun led the team in shots with 3 each.
- Only Anthony Duclair, Max Domi, Christian Dvorak and Shane Doan escaped the encounter against Chicago without a negative +/-.
- Arizona are yet to win in December and their last win dates over a week ago when they defeated the Edmonton Oilers on the 27th of November.
Arizona now return home to battle the Calgary Flames at Gila River Arena on Thursday night. Puck drop is at 7pm Arizona time and can be viewed live, on Fox Sports Arizona or tuned into on KTAR News 92.3 FM.