After a somewhat disappointing game against the Vancouver Canucks, the Arizona Coyotes came out looking extremely flat this past Thursday against the Minnesota Wild. The score may have been tied at one through the first two periods, thanks to a goal from Jakob Chychrun, but the Desert Dogs were being outshot 24 to 11 and things were looking grim.
After two extremely weak periods, the Coyotes came out swinging in the third. The Desert Dogs got goals from Christian Dvorak, Richard Panik, Kevin Connauton, and Jordan Martinook in the span of just over fifteen minutes. Max Domi finished the night with three assists, Christian Fischer had two assists while Oliver Ekman-Larsson and Dvorak had one assist. Antti Raanta also deserves a lot of credit for keeping the team in the game, especially during the first two periods. Saying that the Coyotes have been good in 2018 is still a stretch, but at this point there is no denying that they have been better.
Despite making it to the Eastern Conference Finals last season, the Ottawa Senators have been terrible this season. They are currently second to last in the East, ahead of only the lowly Buffalo Sabres. Before last night’s 5-4 win against the Vegas Golden Knights, the Senators had lost their last five games, but credit where credit is due they mostly played playoff bound teams during that stretch.
The Ottawa Senators will have a player that few people expected to have for this game: defenseman Erik Karlsson. Karlsson has spent the past nine seasons with the Ottawa Senators, and is their star defenseman. He is also a pending unrestricted free agent who has told the media “[w]hen I go to market, I’m going to get what I’m worth, and it’s going to be no less, no matter where I’m going.” That isn’t what you expect to hear from a player looking to re-sign with his current club, and most people expected the Senators to move him at the deadline only to be surprised when he stayed.
The Arizona Coyotes have swept the Ottawa Senators for the 2017/18 season, coming from behind at Gila River Arena on Saturday night to earn a gritty 2-1 win. The Coyotes won their other game with the Senators earlier in the season in Ottawa when former Yote Anthony Duclair completed a hat-trick in overtime to win that game 3-2.
In Arizona, Ottawa hit the scoreboard early in the evening, goaling through Jean-Gabriel Pageau only 3:24 minutes into the match. It would be the only scoring done on behalf of the visiting team as the Senators whose offense resembled something of a fish-out-of-water, managing only 4 shots on goal in the final frame after the Coyotes took the lead in the second segment of play.
Oliver Ekman-Larsson scored the equalizer at the 18:46 mark of the first period; a beautifully placed wrist shot off a nifty toe drag. He was set up by a Clayton Keller feed with Derek Stepan picking up the secondary assist.
OEL ties up the game late in the period! pic.twitter.com/gS6LfS4Vye— Five For Howling (@Five4Howling) March 4, 2018
Later, in the second period, some dreadful defensive coverage by the Senators gifted Jordan Martinook his 6th goal of the season. Unmarked, Martinook was able to walk right into the slot where there was enough room to fit an elephant in front of Mike Condon. With all eyes watching Brad Richardson and the puck behind the net, no one was ready to stop Martinook from scoring at point blank range when Richardson dished him the biscuit. Nick Cousins earned the secondary assist on the play, battling for possession in the corners before giving the puck to Richardson.
After the second period was over, the Senators were lifeless and handed the Coyotes one of the least stressful one-goal victories in recent memory. While only facing 24 shots for the entire evening, Finnish net-minder Antti Raanta was calm in goal, continuing his fine form that has now given the Desert Dogs an 8-2-1 record in their last 11 games.
Arizona will now hit the road for the next three games after not having played an away game since February 13th against the San Jose Sharks.
Up first on this 3-game-roadtrip is Connor McDavid & Pals (the Edmonton Oilers) on Monday night, March 5th. Puck drop is at 7:00pm MT and can be viewed on Fox Sports Arizona Plus or tuned into on ESPN 620 AM.