Expectations for the Arizona Coyotes going into this season were low. The front office completely blew up the team during the offseason, shipping out anyone who would net a second-round pick. And so, it should come as no surprise that the Coyotes lost their first game of the season spectacularly.
It didn’t take long for things to start to go downhill. The Columbus Blue Jackets had the puck, and former Coyote Max Domi fired a shot on net. Alexandre Texier redirected the shot, and 40 seconds into the game, the Coyotes were already down a goal.
And the Blue Jackets just kept scoring from there.
The Arizona Coyotes didn’t get their first goal until 1:03 into the second when Anton Strålman fired a shot from the top of the faceoff circle past Elvis Merzlikins.
1st goal of the season!!— Arizona Coyotes (@ArizonaCoyotes) October 15, 2021
Has a nice ring to it, eh? pic.twitter.com/31dbYlyhoE
By then, the Blue Jackets had a 3-0 lead, with a power play goal from Oliver Bjorkstrand and Boone Jenner goal 35 seconds into the second period.
Arizona didn’t look especially bad, but Columbus controlled the game’s pace and converted on their chances. The Coyotes may have led in shots on goal, but they weren’t especially dangerous.
The Coyotes couldn’t build off Strålman’s goal, and the Blue Jackets scored another four unanswered goals.
Columbus finished out the second with Oliver Bjorkstrand getting his second of the night and Jake Bean getting his first. That period also saw the game’s first fight, with Ryan Dzingel dropping the gloves with Sean Kuraly with just over two minutes left in the second.
Arizona thankfully didn’t allow another goal in the first minute of the period, but they didn’t keep the Blue Jackets off the scoresheet long. Zach Werenski scored his first of the season 4:33 into the third, and just over four minutes later, Max Domi scored his first.
Clayton Keller was able to double the Coyotes’ goals on a late power play. It was a simple play to get Keller free in the faceoff circle, and he fired it home.
Of course, it wasn’t going to change the outcome, but Keller was involved in a few good plays throughout the game, and it was good to see him reward. Arizona doesn’t have Conor Garland on the power play anymore, which could force Keller to take more shots and hopefully result in more goals.
But because the Coyotes aren’t allowed to have nice things this season, Gustav Nyquist scored with 1:24 left in the game to give the Blue Jackets a definitive 8-2 victory.
- Oliver Bjorkstrand - 2 goals, 2 assists
- Max Domi - 1 goal, 2 assists
- Anton Strålman - 1st Coyotes goal of 2021-22
- It’s important to remember how new this team is when evaluating this result and how little chemistry they likely have. Only nine Coyotes players who played tonight played for the team last year. They are probably going to need some time before they look cohesive.
- Jay Beagle, Andrew Ladd, and Jakob Chychrun wore As for tonight's game.
- The former Coyote Max Domi was motivated to have a big night against his former club and finished the night 1-2-3.
- The Coyotes look to be a much more physical team. The two fights stand out, but Columbus didn’t take too many liberties throughout the game.
- Nobody looked especially great, but the Keller-Schmaltz-Crouse line looked fun. Dmitrij Jaškin also had a few good looks. The Coyotes do have something to build off of, even if it isn’t much.
- Carter Hutton was left in net for all 60 minutes and finished with a .692 save percentage. It’s going to be a rough season.
- The Bally Sports feed did not have a power play clock, making it extremely difficult to keep track of power plays. The layout looked good enough for 5-on-5 play, but they likely would have known they needed a power play clock if they had broadcast the preseason.
The Coyotes will continue to Buffalo on Saturday to face off against the Sabres at 10 am.