Three games into the season, and the Arizona Coyotes were looking to salvage their first win of the regular season. After losing the lead in the first two games late and then getting shellacked on Tuesday for the Las Vegas Golden Knights home opener, the Coyotes were ready to take a victory.
Unfortunately, this game ended in the same way the first two did, with the Coyotes dropping a 4-2 decision to the Detroit Red Wings after holding leads on two separate occasions. Goaltender Antti Raanta also failed to play the whole game again, though he was pulled for a lower-body injury after the first period for Louis Domingue.
1-0 Coyotes - Keller (2): A shot on the power-play was unable to be corralled completely by Jimmy Howard. The rebound sat in the crease, creating a scrum. Both Jordan Martinook and Derek Stepan fought for the puck, but it eventually found its way to Clayton Keller, who deposited the puck into the open net for a power-play tally at 6:12 in the second period.
1-1 - Frk (3): Martin Frk and Mike Green exchanged the puck up high on the power-play, back and forth before Frk hammered a slapshot past Louis Domingue at the 11:37 mark of the second to tie the game.
2-1 Coyotes - Keller (3): Keller netted his second goal off the rush after Oliver Ekman-Larsson hit Max Domi with a stretch pass to enter the zone. Keller received the drop pass before firing a bomb past Howard at 18:16 in the second period.
2-2 - Zetterberg (2): Henrik Zetterberg entered the zone and dumped the puck to Dylan Larkin, who went behind the net. The puck squirted out right to Zetterberg, who snuck a meek shot past Domingue at the 19:18 mark.
3-2 Red Wings - Glendening (1): The Coyotes almost made it 3-2 when Keller had Howard down to potentially finish off a hat trick on the power-play. Instead, the puck went the other way in transition, and Larkin fed the puck to Luke Glendening, who fired the puck past Domingue on a 2-on-1 shorthanded rush to give the Red Wings the lead at 16:36 in the third.
4-2 Red Wings - Nielsen (1): With Domingue pulled, the puck was loose along the boards in the Coyotes’ offensive zone. Frans Nielsen got to the puck and cleared it from his own end into the empty net to put the game out of reach at the 18:26 mark.
The talk has been about playing a complete game and finishing teams off, but once again, the young team was unable to prevent a comeback. As for the pregame questions:
Will the defense have a better showing?
The defense really limited the volume that both Raanta and Domingue had to face early, but not all was fixed. The second Red Wings goal was bad by both Domingue and Ekman-Larsson, who didn’t put up any resistance against Zetterberg and played a direct hand in the late second-period equalizer. The third goal was not as much on the defense though: the Coyotes were scrambling in transition, and Larkin got by Domi to force Ekman-Larsson to defend both Larkin and Glendening on the 2-on-1.
Will Raanta have a better game?
In terms of actual play, Antti Raanta had a perfect nine-save outing, but he suffered a lower-body injury and exited the game after the first period. The outing itself was a positive, and the team definitely played well in front of him, but after having some injury issues this preseason, this is not the fluid start to his Coyotes tenure that Raanta or the team wanted.
Who sets the tone?
Keller would seem to be the choice, but honestly, I’ll give it to Raanta and Domingue. The start of the game did not have a breakneck pace or a bevy of chances. Both sides had to wait for teams to get going early, and the goalies did their job. Raanta made a huge save on Frans Nielsen when he split Ekman-Larsson and Adam Clendening and prevented the team from falling behind until Keller got the team on the board in the 2nd period. That said, Domingue’s performance tonight was similar to his performance in the opener against the Anaheim Ducks: he was strong early but really crumbled on the equalizer late in the second-period.
Players of the Game:
Detroit Red Wings - Dylan Larkin
Larkin is acknowledged as one of Detroit’s future building blocks, and he really showed why tonight. His speed and puck skills were a factor on both the tying and game-winning goals. The third-year forward has one goal and five points this season, including points in every game, and he was second among Detroit forwards in both overall and shorthanded ice-time.
Arizona Coyotes - Clayton Keller
Keller was simply the best player on the Coyotes again tonight. It isn’t just the goal-scoring: when he is on the ice, he is making offense happen through puck control, passes, and shots. He had a nice attempt that went through the crease in the first period, and he could have had a hat trick on the third-period power-play that eventually led to the game-winning goal. The rookie had 20:34 of total ice time, trailing only Stepan among the forward group. Keller is continuing to make his case for the Calder Trophy, and he has been the team’s best player for long stretches this season.
1st Star - Luke Glendening
2nd Star - Clayton Keller
3rd Star - Henrik Zetterberg
I thought Larkin should have been named one of the three best players tonight, but Zetterberg got the tying goal and Glendening got the game-winner. Keller was outstanding, so no complaints there.
- Tonight’s attendance at Gila River Arena was 13,584.
- Check out our friends over at Winging It In Motown to get the Detroit perspective on tonight’s game!
- This was the first game the Coyotes were positive in the faceoff circle this season. They entered tonight 76-124 in the dots (38%), but finished tonight 43-32 (57.3%). All four main centers were at least 50% in the circles, with Brad Richardson leading the way at 75% (12-4).
- Traffic Advisory for Saturday’s game:
FYI to @ArizonaCoyotes fans coming to SAT game: Westbound lanes of I-10 will be closed at 59th Ave. from 10 p.m. Friday until 8 a.m. Sunday.— Dave Vest (@davest4yotes) October 11, 2017
The Coyotes finish their two-game trip back home on Saturday, October 14th when the Boston Bruins come to town for a 6:00 PM showdown at Gila River Arena. The game will be broadcast on Fox Sports AZ and can be heard on radio at KTAR.