Going into tonight’s game, it was doubtful the Arizona Coyotes were going to win. The Coyotes were the underdogs for a variety of reasons, like:
- The Coyotes are not good this season,
- The Minnesota Wild are good this season,
- The Coyotes have struggled against the Wild the past few seasons,
- The Coyotes played last night while the Wild rested
- The Wild had home-ice advantage
- The Coyotes are really, really not good this season
But even with the Coyotes being massive underdogs, hockey will sometimes surprise you, so you have to play the game. And at first, it looked like things were going to work out okay.
The Coyotes drew first blood early in the game, with Clayton Keller getting his sixth of the season from Phil Kessel and Shayne Gostisbehere. It was a nifty play that saw Keller receive the pass, turn around and fire through a Minnesota defenseman and past Kaapo Kahkonen.
A little spin-o-rama from Kells. pic.twitter.com/gOVZOXBadJ— Arizona Coyotes (@ArizonaCoyotes) December 1, 2021
It was a solid goal from the Coyotes’ top line, and they would continue to keep up with the Wild throughout the first.
Unfortunately, it didn’t take long for the Wild to tie it up. Just over a minute after Keller scored first, Minnesota’s forecheck stretched out Scott Wedgewood, leaving a wide-open net for Joel Eriksson Ek to get his ninth of the season.
It was a tough goal to give up, but the Coyotes had a golden opportunity to tie it up when they drew a penalty a minute and a half later. Unfortunately for the Coyotes, they were unable to finish despite a solid power play, and the score remained tied.
The Coyotes being unable to finish would prove to be a theme for the rest of the game. The Coyotes had good looks throughout the game, but they failed to find the back of the net.
Arizona didn’t score with the man advantage, and despite a few good looks, they couldn’t build any momentum. A penalty would zap any energy two minutes later, and the first period would end with the score tied at 1-1.
The second period started, and it was still anyone’s game. But, unfortunately, that wouldn’t last long.
Kirill Kaprizov would open things up for the Wild 7:20 into the second with his seventh of the season. He fired the puck through traffic past Wedgewood, although it looked like the puck was deflected past him. Either way, the Wild had taken the lead.
Arizona responded to be down a goal by taking a penalty a minute and a half later when Kyle Capobianco was called for hooking. The Coyotes killed the Wild’s power play, but again a poorly timed penalty killed any momentum.
Minnesota would find the back of the net twice more in the second, Jordan Greenway deflected a Jon Merrill shot from the point, and Jonas Brodin fired a blast past Wedgewood with less than four seconds left in the period. The second period ended with the Coyotes down 4-1 and unlikely to come back.
Arizona has had some excellent third periods this season, and they have repeatedly shown that they will not go down fighting. And sure enough, in just under six minutes, the Coyotes’ cut the Wild’s lead by one when Anton Strålman got his second of the season from Jakob Chychrun and Keller.
It was a solid goal and kept hope alive for the Coyotes to come back and tie it up. But then Marcus Foligno scored a minute and 44 seconds later, and that was pretty much it.
With two minutes and nine seconds left, Jakob Chychrun would take a late penalty, pretty much sealing the Coyotes’ fate. And if that didn’t do it, with 37 seconds left in the game, Johan Larsson would be assessed a double minor for roughing, and the game would end.
Despite the different outcome, the Coyotes looked much better tonight than they did last night against the Jets. The Coyotes had their chances, but they just couldn’t put them home. Minnesota did a better job at creating chaos in front of the net though and were able to turn their chances into goals.
- Jordan Greenway - goal and two assists
- Kirill Kaprizov - goal and an assist
- Clayton Keller - goal and an assist
The Coyotes have a few days off and will face the Vegas Golden Knights this Friday at home at 7:30 pm Arizona.