You know those games where nothing just seems to go your team’s way? Or where both goalies just shut the doors and put on a clinic until all hell eventually breaks loose? Both of those things happened in this game, and not in a good way.
The Arizona Coyotes just couldn’t get a single one of their shots to go in no matter how hard they tried to beat Crawford and the Chicago Blackhawks didn’t fare much better. Once the ice was finally broken in the third, the Hawks just kept on rolling and the Coyotes couldn’t keep up. Though a missed goaltender interference call eventually decided the game, this was a solid showing from an Arizona team who were on the second night of a back-to-back but definitely didn’t play or look like it.
No Goals: The Coyotes started out solid and that ended up being the summary of the whole period. Goalie Scott Wedgewood made 13 saves, a few of them on huge plays, and didn't look rusty at all. Brendan Perlini and Oliver Ekman-Larsson led the team in shots with 2 each and Christian Fischer also shone brightly with his physical play. Dylan Strome took a tripping penalty, but the Arizona penalty kill was out in full force during the first period.
No Goals: Much like the first period, Arizona kept up the pace and intensity with consistent pressure and defending. The Coyotes drew their first power play of the game and had a slew of good chances, but nothing quite found the back of the net. Jason Demers took a penalty at the end of the period, but once again, the Arizona penalty kill successfully killed it off. Perlini, who looked as dangerous as he did in the first period, led the team with 3 shots on goal.
1-0 Blackhawks (Wingles): Tommy Wingels made it 1-0 for the Blackhawks with a onetimer off a pass from John Hayden to beat Wedgewood.
1-1 Coyotes (Duclair): Alex Goligoski sent in the initial shot through the center which was tipped in off Anthony Duclair’s stick to tie up the game.
2-1 Blackhawks (Anisimov): Just after a questionable missed call of goaltender interference on Wedgewood, Artem Anisimov scores a one-timer off a pass from Patrick Kane to put the Blackhawks up 2-1.
3-1 Blackhawks (Schmaltz): Kane strikes again not 2 minutes later with a pass to Nick Schmaltz on a 2-on-1, who shot it in just over Wedgewood’s pad to extend Chicago’s lead to 3-1.
Does Chicago’s offense wake up? If you’d asked me this during the first two periods, I definitely would’ve said no, but after the floodgates opened, they definitely opened. Three goals in the third period, enough said. Though saying that, the Blackhawks struggled a lot to even make those happen.
Can Clayton Keller snap out of it? Unfortunately, not in this game. While he was present and played a solid if quiet game, he only had 2 shots on goal and nothing to show for it. Going forward he’s going to have to either dig deeper or change it up to get his goalscoring groove back.
Defense, anyone? While defense may have been the talk of pregame, this game was all goaltending. It seemed like Corey Crawford and Wedgewood were putting on a netminder clinic for the majority of it. As for the defense, the Coyotes played fairly well, though giveaways were the major downfall. The Chicago defense, on the other hand, seemed to almost be playing down a level whereas the Coyotes seemed to be playing up one.
Players of the Game
Arizona - For me, the player of the game was Anthony Duclair. He had a truly stellar night with his goal, 3 shots on goal total, and just over 15 minutes of ice time. He was on for only one of the goals against, but he was present and played well with the time he was given.
Blackhawks - Corey Crawford was the winner, no if’s, and's, or but’s about it. He stood on his head and was the only reason the Coyotes didn’t score more than just the one goal. With the amount of pressure Arizona pushed and with the number of times there was a frenzy in front of him, Crawford kept the puck out of his net and his team above water.
3.) Corey Crawford
2.) Patrick Kane
1.) Artem Anisimov
For more on the Chicago Blackhawks side of things, check out Second City Hockey.
The biggest problem I saw with this game, besides the Coyotes having a zillion chances but the puck just wouldn’t go in, was that horrible missed call in the third period. Patrick Kane completely ran over Wedgewood and pushed the goalie completely into his own net which should have been goaltender interference. Kane wasn’t pushed by anyone, it was all on his own momentum. If this call hadn’t been missed, the Coyotes would’ve ended up on the power play and the Anisimov goal wouldn’t have happened, completely changing the course of the game.
I know, I know, no use harping about a missed call after the fact, but game-changing missed calls like that tend to get under one’s skin.
That being said, the Coyotes definitely played up a level tonight. If it had been any other netminder in goal, a lot of those shots and hard-earned chances would’ve gone in which is good news for future games where they won’t be playing against Corey Crawford.
The Coyotes closed out their 3 game road trip tonight and finally head home for a stretch of games. Look for them to take on the white-hot Tampa Bay Lightning on Thursday, December 14th at Gila River Arena. Puck drop is at 7 PM AZ time and can be seen on Fox Sports Arizona and heard on ESPN 620AM.