Last night’s game was definitely one of the more interesting Coyotes games of the season, with plenty of back and forth action. The action started early with Liam O’Brien dropping the gloves with Nicolas Deslauriers at the two and half minute mark.
That seemed to spark something for the Coyotes, who went to work. Phil Kessel brought the puck in and found a streaking Travis Boyd who was coming up center ice with speed.
Boyd put it home, and the Coyotes had an early 1-0 lead. But that goal woke up the Anaheim Ducks, who quickly started to take over the game.
Anaheim got their first golden opportunity when Blake Speers was called for cross-checking just over four minutes into the game. On the resulting power play, Kevin Shattenkirk fired the puck from the faceoff circle off a post and into the pack of the net, tying the game at one.
And the Ducks didn’t stop there. As we have seen many times this season, the Coyotes tend to give up goals in bunches, and last night was no different.
Less than a minute after Shattenkirk tied it up, defenseman Hampus Lindholm came in with speed and gave the Ducks the 2-1 lead.
And even with the lead, the Ducks did not slow down, with Derek Grant extending Anaheim’s lead two minutes later. Grant had gone to the front of the net, and when Jakob Sifverberg fired the puck, it deflected off Grant’s skate past Scott Wedgewood and into the back of the net.
The Ducks had a commanding 3-1 lead and had been outshooting the Coyotes 9-1 less than ten minutes into the game. It was a tough start, and Arizona needed something to get going.
Arizona would get their chance later in the first period when they got their first power play. Johan Larsson and Sam Carrick had dropped the gloves, and Carrick was given an extra two minutes for roughing, and the Coyotes were going to make something happen.
It was a good power play with plenty of puck movement. Late in the power play, the Coyotes had their chance when Nick Schmaltz fired the puck from the point, only for the shot to get stopped by Barrett Hayton. Luckily for the Coyotes, Christian Fischer was posted in front of goaltender John Gibson, and he recovered the puck and put it into a wide-open net.
The feed.— Arizona Coyotes (@ArizonaCoyotes) December 18, 2021
The hockey hugs. pic.twitter.com/I0a5GyhG5g
Anaheim had taken a commanding 3-1 lead in less than three minutes, but thanks to a late power play, the Coyotes had cut that lead to one. And there was still plenty of hockey left to play.
Arizona started the second period down a man with Liam O’Brien in the box for hooking. They would get three power plays throughout the second, but they couldn’t tie it up. But Scott Wedgewood kept them in the game, and the Coyotes kept up the pressure until they were rewarded.
The play started on the other end of the ice, with Scott Wedgewood making a big save on Max Comtois, who was in all alone. Anaheim briefly maintained control, but Shayne Gostisbehere recovered the puck and found Clayton Keller in a prime position for a breakaway of his own.
Keller came in all alone with speed, faked out Gibson forcing him to go low, before firing it above his shoulder and into the back of the net. The Coyotes had tied the game with one period remaining.
This is the Coyotes though, and they aren’t going to make anything easy. And so, just over two minutes in, the Ducks regained the lead when Trevor Zegras fired a one-timer that deflected off Ilya Lybushkin and past Wedgewood.
Thankfully, the Coyotes didn’t take long to recover. Arizona got two quick goals, the first coming when Phil Kessel, Travis Boyd, and Andrew Ladd came in on a 3-on-1. Boyd passed the puck up to Ladd, who redirected the shot past Gibson.
Aren't you Ladd we scored? pic.twitter.com/NUsBfvqYIY— Arizona Coyotes (@ArizonaCoyotes) December 18, 2021
But the Coyotes weren’t happy just sitting back with a tie, and they kept up the pressure.
And just over a minute later, Arizona regained the lead for the first time since the first period, when Phil Kessel found himself all alone behind Gibson. Boyd got the puck to Kessel, who easily put it into a wide-open cage. The Coyotes had a 5-4 lead with just over ten minutes left.
Unfortunately, the Coyotes are going to Coyotes. Arizona had already taken two penalties to start the third, including another too many men on the ice call less than a minute after Zegras gave the Ducks the lead. And as we have seen so many times, they just kept taking penalties until their opponents made them pay.
Janis Moser was in the box for holding, and the Ducks were looking to even things up. And they weren’t going to be denied, with Hampus Lindholm getting his second of the night after firing the puck through traffic past Wedgewood.
Arizona had clawed their way back from a 3-1 deficit to take the lead, only to see the Ducks force overtime. They had ended their pointless streak and managed to score five goals on Gibson, a feat any night, but they wanted the win.
Midway through overtime, Nick Schmaltz brought the puck into the Ducks’ zone and passed it off to Clayton Keller, who had all the room in the world. Keller used Zegras as a screen and fired his shot through Zegras’ legs. The shot found just enough space under Gibson’s arm and it was all over, the Coyotes had the 6-5 win.
KELLER. THE OT WINNER!! pic.twitter.com/4okXhRxMdP— Arizona Coyotes (@ArizonaCoyotes) December 18, 2021
When you see a team like the Coyotes going on a six-game losing streak, you start to wonder what it will take to win. Arizona didn’t play a perfect game, but they stayed in there and walked away with a win against a former division rival and a top contender.
Tonight's lines in Anaheim. pic.twitter.com/9PAbZEO9Qd— Arizona Coyotes (@ArizonaCoyotes) December 18, 2021
- Clayton Keller - 2 goals and an assist
- Travis Boyd - Goal and two assists
- Hampus Lindholm - 2 goals and an assist
The Coyotes’ road trip continues as they face off against the Vancouver Canucks this Sunday.