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Arizona earns first regulation win of season in Montreal

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It may have taken 21 games and a record nobody wanted, but the Coyotes finally found a way to win in regulation for the first time this season.

NHL: Arizona Coyotes at Montreal Canadiens Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports

The Arizona Coyotes have escaped Montreal with their first regulation win of the season coming against the Canadiens thanks to the unlikeliest of heroes... Andrew Shaw?

With Desert Dogs barely holding onto their 5-4 lead in the final stages of the match, history appeared to have repeated itself once more as the Habs tied the game. But Tyson Nash immediately exclaimed “Kicking motion! Or Goaltender interference at least,” and hastily wagered his salary to Matt McConnell on the revoking of the goal after review.

And lo and behold, Andrew Shaw of the Canadiens had saved the day for the Coyotes by (rudely) kicking in the puck. In fact, barring any goaltender interference, the goal may have been good if Shaw had just let it go in on its own.

Earlier in the night, Arizona clawed their way back into the fold several times after a disastrous start to the match that saw the Yotes down 2-0 after a first period that felt all too much like the team had never boarded their flight from Winnipeg.

However, fights in the second period by Zac Rinaldo and Brad Richardson, along with some goals of course, supercharged the Coyotes who appeared the better side for at least the second half of the match.

Both sides were penalized often, but the strong Arizona penalty kill coupled with the rebirth of the power play sealed the deal in the third period as the Coyotes’ momentum spiralled out of control, continuously building with the man advantage or playing short handed - leaving nothing for the Canadiens to do but fall victim to the team their city loves to so often ridicule.

Scoring Summary

First Period

1-0 Montreal: After the Coyotes put together their best shift of the night thus far, an awful line change gifts Montreal an odd man rush allowing Charles Hudon to set up Brendan Gallagher to open the scoring at 10:48.

2-0 Montreal: Another odd man rush, another Montreal goal. This time it was Paul Byron scoring from the bottom of the right face-off circle at 13:56 from Alex Galchenyuk and Jonathan Drouin.

Second Period

2-1 Montreal: The Coyotes pressure the Canadiens into coughing up the puck in their defensive end and Brad Richardson collects the turnover. He makes a quick drop pass back to Alex Goligoski then gets it back with a nice give-and-go as he walks the blue line before slapping it in long range through Charlie Lindgren’s five-hole.

2-2 Tie: With the Coyotes having missed a chance on 30 seconds of 5 on 3 power play action, they manage to score as the second of the two Canadiens’ penalties expired. Duclair shoots the puck on net and with both Christian Fischer and Christian Dvorak on top of him in the crease, Lindgren loses the puck as the latter of the Christians whacks it home at 9:37.

3-2 Montreal: Right after Lindgren made an enormous save on Clayton Keller, the Habs go right back the other way and score. Joe Morrow is set up by Tomas Plekanec, shooting the puck in off the iron.

3-3 Tie: After passing the puck from behind the net out front to Dvorak, Tobias Rieder circles around and collects the rebound from Dvorak’s shot, whipping the puck in to tie the game.

4-3 Montreal: 40 seconds later and the Montreal Canadiens win a face-off perfectly back to Shea Weber who unloads a bomb that bests Antti Raanta.

Third Period

4-4 Tie: Arizona win the face-off and control the puck but it is intercepted in the slot after Fischer throws it to the middle. Fortuitously it bounces right to the end of Derek Stepan’s stick and he shoots it in from close range for his third of the season. The Coyotes finally get the power play duck off their back.

5-4 Arizona: On the power play, Brendan Perlini shoots the puck right onto the shaft of Christian Fischer’s stick which bounces the biscuit over Lindgren and into the back of the net. Clayton Keller was awarded the secondary assist on the play.

Three Answers

Can Raanta steal them the game?

Neither goaltenders were statistically impressive tonight though each made key saves for their respective sides in the offensively charged affair.

Will Keller get back on the score sheet?

Keller earned himself an assist on Fischer’s game winning power play goal.

Can we get a win?

YES! HALLELUJAH!

Players of the Game

Arizona - Christian Fischer - Game winning goal and battling in front of the net to create another, Christian Fischer, I love you!

Montreal - Charlie Lindgren - Despite the Habs’ loss, Lindgren can take comfort he gave it his all for the win. He was key in slowing down the Coyotes’ surge in the third as he robbed two quality Stepan breakaways before denying Max Domi on another beautiful chance.

Three Stars

Third Star: MON - Alex Galchenyuk (1A, 5 SOG)

Second Star: ARI - Christian Dvorak (1G, 1A)

First Star: ARI - Clayton Keller (1A, 3 SOG)

Paw Prints

  • For more on the Montreal Canadiens, head on over to Eyes on the Prize.
  • Healthy scratches for the Coyotes tonight included Nick Cousins, Dakota Mermis and Michael Leighton.
  • Drawing into the lineup for his first NHL game as an Arizona Coyote was Joel Hanley. Prior to tonight Hanley last suited up in the NHL for the team he played against tonight, the Montreal Canadiens, against the Columbus Blue Jackets on the 23rd of December 2016.
  • Hanley finished his first night in Coyote colours with a +/- of +1 and a block in 8:39 of ice time.
  • Anthony Duclair also drew back into the lineup after being a healthy scratch for six of the past nine games. He recorded an assist on Dvorak’s second period goal.
  • Clayton Keller ended his 4 game point drought with an assist tonight on Fischer’s power play goal.
  • With an assist tonight, Alex Goligoski is now on a 3 game point streak.
  • 10 different Coyotes finished with a point or more tonight.

Looking Ahead

The Coyotes continue their Eastern Canada road trip on Saturday when they face the Ottawa Senators at noon MT. The game can be watched on TVA Sports, Fox Sports Arizona or by tuning into ESPN 620 AM.