It’s hard to write this without feeling like it is all spin nonsense, but tonight’s 3-2 shootout loss at the hands of the Western Conference leading St. Louis Blues is a positive sign of improvement for the young Arizona Coyotes.
Lethal winger Brendan Perlini scored his 3rd and 4th goals of the season, both beautifully executed, as the Coyotes once again held a lead over their opponent before giving it up in the third period of the match.
Instead of entirely throwing in the towel there, the Sedona Red bravely held on, largely due to the continued fantastic play of healed netminder Antti Raanta and some much more helpful defense in front of him.
The overtime period that ensued was wild, with each team coming close to taking the win but Arizona couldn’t solve Carter Hutton after regulation while St. Louis’ shooters delivered the goods in the shootout.
No scoring in the first though it was dominated by the Coyotes in the first half before switching to the Blues who took control for the second half.
1-0 St. Louis: Joel Edmundson opens the scoring for the Blues, slipping the puck underneath a sliding Antti Raanta during a segment of chaos in the Coyotes’ defensive end.
1-1 Tie: Anthony Duclair down low makes a pass from below the goal-line to Brendan Perlini who is just outside the blue paint to Carter Hutton’s left. Perlini roofs it and ties the game.
Perlini's 3rd of the year from Anthony Duclair pic.twitter.com/i7OJAvO2dI— Five For Howling (@Five4Howling) November 10, 2017
2-1 Arizona: In one of the Coyotes’ prettier goals of the year, Oliver Ekman-Larsson comes streaming down the right wing on the man advantage before dishing it off his backhand to Christian Dvorak in the slot. Dvorak then draws his man and the attention of Hutton before dishing the puck off on his own backhand to the other side of the now open goal where Perlini shoots it in.
2-1 Yotes after a power play goal of Brendan Perlini, his 4th of the season. Pretty goal pic.twitter.com/kQhCqbCjxo— Five For Howling (@Five4Howling) November 10, 2017
2-2 Tie: Alex Pietrangelo rips in a wrist shot from the top of the left faceoff circle past Raanta just 5:01 into the period.
No scoring but a combined total of 11 shots were taken by both teams.
Neither Clayton Keller nor Derek Stepan could best Hutton in the shootout while Brayden Schenn and Alexander Steen edged Raanta, giving the Blues the 3-2 victory.
Will someone who is not on the top line score?
Brendan Perlini put his hand up to answer this question, scoring his 3rd and 4th goals of the season. In fact, the Domi-Stepan-Keller line probably had their quietest game thus far; despite their large ice time they were mostly invisible.
Can the team stay out of the box?
Not for the whole game, but only taking three penalties (two of which went to Zac Rinaldo who is clearly trying to make up for missed penalty minutes in his other games) is much better than six.
Will the team find a way to take home more than 1 point on this road trip?
Despite only getting another losers’ point against the Blues, Arizona’s performance tonight managed to trump their arguably former best match of the season against Washington. Someone not informed about hockey could have watched the match, checked the stats and really have had no idea that these were the best and worst teams from the Western Conference facing off... in the best team’s barn no less.
Players of the Game
Arizona - Brendan Perlini - Hard not to give this to Raanta (.947 SVS%) again but the two goals from Perlini were both pretty special. They were high quality goals, the kind of which Arizona fans have not been treated to for a long time and as such we should savor the moment by recognizing Perlini’s great work tonight.
St. Louis - Colton Parayko - The 6’6” blueliner was tied for most shots on goal for his team with 6 and gave Arizona trouble at both ends of the ice. More importantly, he seemed to be on the ice whenever Keller was and given the size difference, Keller’s life became immediately harder when shadowed by a giant at all times. Had a large helping hand in shutting down the Coyotes’ top line.
Third Star: C. Hutton (.931 SVS%)
Second Star: Brendan Perlini (2G)
First Star: Alex Pietrangelo (1G, 29:35 TOI)
- For more on the St. Louis Blues check out St. Louis Game Time.
- Healthy scratches for the Coyotes tonight included Nick Cousins, Joel Hanley and Mike Sislo.
- Tonight was Clayton Keller’s 3rd game against his hometown St. Louis Blues and is second in his hometown. The Coyotes now have a 0-2-1 record when playing the Blues with Keller in the lineup and he has one point in those matches.
- St. Louis is also the hometown team of Illinois native Dakota Mermis. Tonight Mermis finished with a +/- of -1 and 1 shot on goal in 10:35 of time on ice.
- With an assist tonight, Oliver Ekman-Larsson is now tied for 7th in points by defensemen in franchise history with 259 in 512 NHL games.
- 2:57 into the third period, Alex Goligoski took a hit against the boards from Chris Thorburn and went to the rooms immediately following the hit. Later, Dave Vest announced on Twitter that Goligoski had sustained a lower body injury and he would not return.
The Coyotes return home for a single match against the Winnipeg Jets on Saturday night. Puckdrop is at 8:00pm MT and can be viewed on Fox Sports Arizona Plus or tuned into on ESPN 620 AM.