It took a few periods for the Coyotes to get up to full speed for tonight’s game. The Panthers were great at controlling the neutral zone, and Arizona had trouble breaking through and establishing pressure or getting shots on net. They spent most of the first in their own zone, doing their best to limit the Panther’s shots.
The Coyotes didn't get their first shot on goal until late in the first period. Nick Schmaltz picked up a turnover and passed the puck up to a streaking Clayton Keller, who skated in all alone.
Keller fired the puck five-hole giving the Coyotes the first goal of a game on their first shot.
But the Panthers had been outplaying the Coyotes all period, and they would eventually even things up. Keller was in the box for interference, and after winning an offensive zone faceoff, the puck found itself in front of the net. Joe Thornton picked up the loose puck and put it home, tying the game with just 19 seconds left in the first.
Goaltender Carter Hutton had been in net for the first period, and he did a great job keeping the Panthers off the score sheet with little to no offensive support. But during the intermission, it was announced that he sustained a lower-body injury, and Karel Vejmelka would be in net for the rest of the game.
The second period was more of the same. The Coyotes still had problems generating offense, and most of the game was played in the Arizona end. The Panthers would double their lead with an early goal from Frank Vatrano before the Coyotes even recorded their second shot on goal.
The Panthers would extend their lead midway through the period with another power play goal, this time from Aaron Ekblad. Radko Gudas had laid out Conor Timmins with a big hit that Ryan Dzingel took exception to, leading to Dzingel dropping the gloves with Gudas. As a result, Dzingel would be assessed a fighting major and an instigator penalty, which allowed the Panthers to get their second power play goal of the game.
The Coyotes would start the third period down 3-1, and with an announcement, Conor Timmins would not be returning due to a lower-body injury. Also not returning, Ryan Dzingel, who would miss the rest of the game with an upper-body injury.
Arizona would look better to start the third, but it didn’t immediately pay off. A Shayne Gostisbehere turnover in the neutral zone would lead to a 2-on-0 opportunity for the Panthers, which led to Jonathan Huberdeau getting his third of the season.
But midway through the third period, the Coyotes finally started to get rewarded. They had been getting more shots on net throughout the period when Liam O’Brien fired the puck short side. He managed to beat Spencer Knight, and suddenly it was a 4-2 game.
And the Desert Dogs didn’t stop there. Only 34 seconds after O’Brien’s goal, Phil Kessel walked in with the puck, drew Knight out of his net, and tucked the puck behind his skate to cut the Panthers’ lead down to one.
The Coyotes would continue to apply pressure, and it looked like they were going to tie things up. Phil Kessel almost immediately had another good look, but Knight closed the door and kept the Coyotes from finding the equalizer.
There would be one more goal of the night, but it, unfortunately, would come from a former Coyote. Anthony Duclair was able to take the puck up the neutral zone and fire it into the Coyotes’ empty net, giving the Panthers the 5-3 victory.
It was definitely an uneven game for the Coyotes, who didn’t find their footing until the third. If nothing else, you can say it gave them something to build off of, and they proved to themselves that they wouldn’t go down without a fight.
Monday night hockey on deck. pic.twitter.com/RfnrBFURqF— Arizona Coyotes (@ArizonaCoyotes) October 25, 2021
- Jonathan Huberdeau - 1 goal and an assist
- Clayton Keller - 1 goal, 17:44 TOI
- Sam Bennett - 2 assists
The Coyotes continue their road trip and will face off against the Tampa Bay Lightning this Thursday 4:00 pm.