In desperate need for two points and a clear head after a 4-0 loss to Vegas the [K]night before, the Flames came out of the gate hard and sustained the intensity for most of the game.
The first period saw some chances from the Flames on their power plays and the Coyotes on their second penalty kill, but no goals were scored as Smith and Raanta stood tall.
The second period broke things wide open.
Just a little over five minutes into the second, Richard Panik buried a difficult angle shot on a brilliant feed from Clayton Keller to give the Coyotes the 1-0 lead.
Just when we were starting to Panik... pic.twitter.com/FiElu7LaNm— Arizona Coyotes (@ArizonaCoyotes) March 20, 2018
Not too long after that the Flames tied things up when Dougie Hamilton (brother of Coyotes forward Freddie Hamilton) buried a wrister short side on Raanta.
After two great chances were missed by the Coyotes, including a Zac Rinaldo breakaway, Sean Monahan cleaned up a loose puck in front with Raanta too far from his crease to have a hope of making a save, putting the Flames up 2-1.
However, 2 minutes after the Coyotes began trailing, Max Domi intercepted a puck from Michael Ferland, and sniped it blocker-side on Mike Smith.
Make 'em stop and stare. pic.twitter.com/mPMEWmXLir— Arizona Coyotes (@ArizonaCoyotes) March 20, 2018
After Domi’s tying tally we entered the third with, as Matt McConnell says, “deuces wild.”
Emotion continued to run high in the third as bodies were being thrown more and fewer exceptions were being let go around the crease. The best case of this was after Niklas Hjalmarsson dumped Sam Bennett after he got a chance in the slot.
And then. With 3:41 left in the third. A tie game. Who could have scripted it better? Oliver Ekman-Larsson, netted his 100th career NHL goal, on former teammate Mike Smith, turning out to be the game winner. Ekman-Larsson, by the way, has 28 game winning goals in his career! That’s 27.7% of his goals! Clutch!
Here’s that special moment.
100 goals.— Arizona Coyotes (@ArizonaCoyotes) March 20, 2018
1,000 of memories.
Never change, O. pic.twitter.com/TY41OjN1hP
You may be wondering why that math doesn’t quite check out (28% no?). Well that’s because he netted his 101st after Smith had gone to the bench for the extra attacker, giving OEL two goals on the night.
Domi wrapped this one up with another empty netter to make it a 5-2 contest, throwing a cold, wet blanket on Calgary’s playoff hopes.
Isn’t playing spoiler fun?
3 Stars of the Night
1st Star - Oliver Ekman-Larsson: OEL scored his 100th career NHL goal while simultaneously scoring the game winner. He added an empty net for a total of two goals on the outing.
2nd Star - Antti Raanta: Antti was terrific on his return from yet another injury, stopping 42 of 44 shots on goal for a cool 95.5% save percentage.
3rd Star - Max Domi: Maxy, who has struggled to score this season provided the game tying goal late in the second and the nail in the coffin empty-netter in the third. He finished with three points on the night (2-1-3).
The Coyotes are heading on the road for the next week starting in Buffalo, going through Carolina, Florida, Tampa, Vegas and Los Angeles, before returning to the valley to take on the St. Louis Blues for their second to last home game on 3/31. Catch the Yotes on Fox Sports Arizona over this trip or on radio at 98.7 FM and ESPN 620 AM.