The Arizona Coyotes were supposed to win this game.
Arizona outshot the visiting Florida Panthers 42-25. They attacked the offensive zone with gusto. And with the exception of a couple of momentary lapses, they played solid defense. They deserved a victory.
Thanks to Tobias Rieder, they got one. Rieder scored his 10th goal of the season to give the Coyotes the 3-2 overtime victory over the Florida Panthers on Monday night at Gila River Arena. The victory followed a 5-3 win over the NHL’s other Floridian team, the Tampa Bay Lightning.
1-0 Florida - Vincent Trochek out-muscled Lawson Crouse to the front of the net, and was able to bat home a rebound off of a shot by Jakub Kindl to give the Panthers a first period lead. Assists to Kindl and Jonathan Marchessault on the goal at 14:24.
1-1 Tie - Christian Fischer scored his second NHL goal in the high slot by getting his stick on a Jakob Chychrun point shot. He redirected the puck down and to Robert Luongo’s right, which let the puck sneak in beneath Luongo’s outstretched arm. Assists to Chychrun and Alexander Burmistrov on the goal at 2:03.
2-1 Arizona - 13 seconds later, a fairly innocuous shot by Ryan White from above the far-side faceoff circle somehow found its way past Luongo. White’s pump-fake was just enough to clear Jakub Kindl from White’s shooting lane, and Luongo simply whiffed on it. Assists to Jakob Chychrun and Connor Murphy on the goal at 2:15.
2-2 Tie - Another Coyotes rookie got outmuscled in front of the goal, with unfortunate results, as Michael Sgarbossa was able to fight off Jakob Chychrun to get to a loose puck just above the crease and rifle the puck past a sprawling Mike Smith. Assists to Colton Sceviour and Derek MacKenzie on the goal at 6:34.
Despite some great offensive zone time and an early power play, the Coyotes couldn’t find the go-ahead goal.
3-2 Arizona - Arizona’s twin Alexes did yeoman’s work drawing the attention of all three Florida defenders down low. Burmistrov was able to find Tobias Rieder - who had done a wide circle from the near-side faceoff to the far-side point - for the game winning goal as he unloaded his cannon past Roberto Luongo. Assists to Burmistrov and Alex Goligoski on the overtime goal at :48.
- Can the Penalty Kill recover? - The Coyotes went two-for-two while shorthanded tonight, with one of those successful kills coming late in the third period.
- Can the offense stay recovered? - Arizona’s regulation offense came all at once, with both goals scored 13 seconds apart from each other. Still, the Coyotes took 42 shots, attacked consistently on offense, and of course, got the game-winner in overtime.
- Can the defense clamp down on shots? - The Coyotes did a masterful job suppressing shots tonight, as Florida only recorded 25. This was especially important given Mike Smith seemed to be fighting the puck tonight.
Players of the Game
Florida - Vincent Trocheck - Trocheck has been tenacious all year for the Florida Panthers after his breakout 2015-16 campaign a year ago. He scored Florida’s opener to bring his season total to 18 goals in 49 games, and led his team with five shots on net.
Arizona - Alexander Burmistrov - We keep finding ways to talk about this guy. Two assists on the night (including the setup on the game winner), and some fantastic backchecking. He’s been worth the wait.
- For more on the Florida Panthers, check out Litter Box Cats
- Christian Fischer is credited with two NHL shots on goal. He also has two NHL goals. He is the first in franchise history to score in his first two NHL games, according to Elias Sports Bureau. Now that’s efficiency.
- Jakob Chychrun recorded the first multi-point night in his NHL career against the team he grew up with as a native of Boca Raton.
- Tonight also marked the first game Lawson Crouse played against the team that drafted him. He took two shots, played 11:12, and was on the ice for a goal against.
- Jaromir Jagr made his NHL debut on October 5th, 1990. Ten Coyotes in tonight’s game had not been born at that time (Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Connor Murphy, Jakob Chychrun, Alexander Burmistrov, Lawson Crouse, Christian Dvorak, Christian Fischer, Peter Holland, Brendan Perlini, and Tobias Rieder).
Arizona’s next game is not until Thursday, when they play the Vancouver Canucks at Gila River Arena. Puck drop is at 7 PM Arizona time.