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Coyotes Fall in Final Game Before Break

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Despite playing a strong first half, penalty troubles cost the Coyotes the game

NHL: Colorado Avalanche at Arizona Coyotes Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

Well, it was good while it lasted. After a well-deserved win against the high-octane Washington Capitals that saw the Coyotes put on a clinic in overtime, fans and just about everyone else hoped the Yotes could close out their pre-Christmas homestand with a decisive win over the resurgent Colorado Avalanche. It was not meant to be.

Scoring Summary

First Period

No Goals: Unlike last night’s game, which set a season record for fewest combined shots in a period, both teams came out flying, each generating a few solid chances.

Second Period

1-0 Avalanche: (Carl Soderberg) After a boatload of penalties (and fights) stemming from a legal hit on Nathan MacKinnon courtesy of Zac Rinaldo that led to some 4-on-4 action, Soderberg sniped a shot from the blueline past Antti Raanta. Assists to Matt Nieto and Patrik Nemeth at 10:20.

2-0 Avalanche: (J. T. Compher) This time, the Avalanche take advantage on a powerplay (more to come here...) with Compher coming down on Raanta’s right side, firing it from the faceoff dot past the surprised goaltender. Assists to Nikita Zadorov and Alex Kerfoot at 11:36.

3-0 Avalanche: (Nail Yakupov) Still on the powerplay (a five-minute major), the Avalanche strike again, with Yakupov throwing an awkward shot to the net, which bounces off of Raanta and into the net, ending his night early. Lone assist goes to Mark Barberio at 13:26.

4-0 Avalanche: (Nieto) A bouncing puck welcomed Scott Wedgwood to the game. The puck pinballed around the Coyote zone, eventually finding its way to Nieto who buried it into the empty cage. Assists to Blake Comeau and Kerfoot at 14:06.

4-1 Coyotes: (Derek Stepan) With the Avalanche on the powerplay (again), Clayton Keller enters the zone shorthanded, passing the puck to Stepan who sent a nice backhander past Semyon Varlamov for the Coyotes’ first shorthanded goal of the season. Keller gets the lone assist at 18:12.

Third Period

4-2 Avalanche: (Stepan) Again on the penalty kill, Jordan Martinook steals the puck and goes in on a breakaway, dropping the puck back to Stepan who nabs his second shorthanded goal of the night. Assist to Martinook at 8:08.

5-2 Avalanche: (Sven Andrighetto) Less than 30 seconds later, the Avs respond with a - you guessed it! - powerplay goal. Some smooth passing led to a goal similar to Compher’s, a shot to Wedgwood’s right coming from the faceoff dot. Assists to Tyson Jost and newly-acquired Colin Wilson at 8:37.

6-2 Avalanche: (Soderberg) Coming in on a 2-on-1, Soderberg slides past Oliver Ekman-Larsson and fires the final goal of the game past Wedgewood. Assists to Mikko Rantanen and Barberio at 13:31.

Three Answers

Clayton Calder?

While he didn’t score a goal, Keller set up Stepan’s first goal and had a few good looks on the powerplay. He now has points in his last five games.

Anthony Duclair Returns?

Replacing the scratched Brendan Perlini, Duclair failed to find the scoresheet, seeing some time on the team’s second powerplay unit. He did, however, manage to draw a penalty in an aggressive drive to the net.

Can the Coyotes head off MacKinnon, Rantanen?

Just when it looked like Rinaldo may have taken out MacKinnon, he miraculously healed, instead getting himself sent to the dressing room after a fight with the Coyotes’ newest addition, Josh Archibald. Other than that, MacKinnon was a non-factor, while Rantanen picked up one assist late in the game. Tonight was all about secondary scoring for the Avalanche.

Players of the Game

Arizona - Stepan: two shorthanded goals, almost enough to pull the Coyotes back in the game, tonight Stepan showed why his departure left a huge hole in the Rangers lineup.

Colorado - Soderberg: the other two-goal scorer, Soderberg got the whole avalanche (pardon the pun) started.

Three Stars

1st - Soderberg

2nd - Nieto

3rd - Compher

Paw Prints

  • For more on the Colorado Avalanche, check out Mile High Hockey
  • Tonight was Erik Johnson’s first game back after serving a two-game suspension
  • Brendan Perlini and recently-recalled Andrew Campbell were the scratches for Arizona, while Gabriel Bourque and Anton Lindholm sat in the press box for Colorado.
  • Tonight was the last Coyotes game before the holiday break
  • Tonight’s attendance: 11,838

Looking Ahead

The Coyotes complete the home-and-home with the Avalanche, returning to Denver after the break on Wednesday, December 27. Puck drops at 9pm EST and can be viewed on Fox Sports Arizona or listened to on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM.