It had been over ten days since the Arizona Coyotes last played. The NHL has postponed three Coyotes games, giving them plenty of time going into last week’s holiday break. And the delay led to one of the crazier Coyotes games ever played.
Arizona didn’t particularly play well against the San Jose Sharks, but they kept things entertaining. Unfortunately, they never really had their footing, and the Coyotes spent most of the game trying to dig themselves out of a hole only to see themselves fall into another one.
The Coyotes gave up their first goal after a tragic series of events. It looked like Arizona would get the first power play of the game, but Jan Janík delivered a cross-check before dropping the gloves with Jonah Gadjovich, keeping the play 5-on-5.
Arizona won the faceoff, but a turnover led to Logan Couture firing the puck on net and Alexander Barabanov redirecting that shot past Scott Wedgewood and into the back of the net.
Thankfully, the Coyotes didn’t take too long to come back. Less than three minutes after the Sharks opened up the offense, Phil Kessel collected the puck in the corner and passed the puck up to Lawson Crouse. Crouse played in his first game since being placed on the NHL’s COVID-19 protocol, and his shot went past James Reimer, tying the game at 1-1.
Laying down the law-son. pic.twitter.com/ZCWWF9KABo— Arizona Coyotes (@ArizonaCoyotes) December 29, 2021
The back and forth action continued, and both teams had a few good looks, even if they couldn’t put them away. But midway through the first, Nick Bonino picked up a rebound and put it past a stretched-out Wedgewood and into the net, putting the Sharks back on top.
But the Coyotes weren’t going to go down yet, and they kept up the pressure. Arizona was finally rewarded late in the period when Crouse forced a turnover in the corner and got the puck up to Janis Moser, who fired it past Reimer.
that first career goal feeling. pic.twitter.com/KY2sppNp5l— Arizona Coyotes (@ArizonaCoyotes) December 29, 2021
It was Moser’s first NHL goal, but it wouldn’t be his last.
The first would finish with the score tied at 2-2, and both teams looked pretty rusty. Possibly because both teams were rusty, but the high-speed pace would continue into the second, and both teams continued to get lots of offensive zone time.
Unfortunately, the Coyotes had another brief collapse, this time giving up two goals in seven seconds, with Radim Simek and Jeffrey Viel both getting their first of the season.
Arizona did manage to briefly stop the bleeding just over two minutes later, with Clayton Keller getting his tenth of the season.
It was another excellent pass from Kessel, who found a streaking Keller with plenty of room. Keller was able to fire the puck past Reimer and cut the Shark’s lead in half.
Arizona continued to apply pressure, and for a while, it looked like the Coyotes were going to even things up. But, unfortunately, the Sharks would be the ones to convert when Timo Meier back-handed the puck out of the air and over the shoulder of Wedgewood into the net.
It was a rough goal to give up, but the Coyotes kept up the pressure.
Arizona would get a golden opportunity late in the second when they got their first power play of the game. But, again, it was the youngster Moser who fired the puck through traffic with seconds left.
Arizona was down one to start the third, with plenty of time to make up the difference. But the Coyotes don’t make things easy for themselves, and Tomáš Hertl wound up all alone and able to give the Sharks another two-goal lead.
But the Coyotes still weren’t done. Reimer was able to make the save on a Dysin Mayo shot, but Lawson Crouse sneaked to the front of the net and put home the rebound.
How about that, Crouser! pic.twitter.com/P3ZiRDP2Eh— Arizona Coyotes (@ArizonaCoyotes) December 29, 2021
Unfortunately, the Coyotes couldn’t tighten things up, and midway through the final period, Logan Couture gave the Sharks another two-goal lead with his tenth goal of the season. The Coyotes had only seven minutes left to tie things up to force overtime.
The Coyotes showed they were still in it with just over three minutes left when Shayne Gostisbehere fired the puck through traffic and past Reimer to cut the Shark’s lead back down to one.
With San Jose’s lead cut in half, the Coyotes got a golden opportunity less than a minute later when Brent Burns was called for cross-checking Nick Schmaltz.
The resulting power play was a good one, but at first, the Coyotes couldn’t get much done. But just as the team was pulling Wedgewood, Andrew Ladd was left all alone in front of Reimer and free to wack away at the puck.
Ladd eventually raised the puck up Reimer’s shoulder and into the net, tying the game with just under a minute and a half remaining.
Neither team could get anything going during overtime, and the game went to the shoot-out. San Jose picked up the win with Couture and Hertl both scoring after Schmaltz and Keller missed their shots.
The Coyotes lost, but they had done a great job to stay in the game. It definitely wasn’t Wedgewood’s best night, but the teams in front of him were also pretty rusty, hence the high score for both teams.
- Last night was supposed to be the NHL debut of Matias Maccelli, but he and Travis Boyd were placed in the NHL’s COVID-19 protocol before the game.
- Lawson Crouse returned from protocol for last night’s game and made an immediate impact. Alex Galchenyuk is also eligible to return, but he had not traveled with the team.
- Loui Eriksson recorded his 600th career point assisting on Janis Moser’s second goal of the night.
- Fun fact:
That's the first career goal for Janis Moser. He's the the third player and first defenseman from the 2021 NHL Draft class to score in the NHL. #Yotes— Arizona Coyotes PR (@AZCoyotesPR) December 29, 2021
- Logan Couture - 1 goal and 1 assist
- Phil Kessel - 4 assists
- Janis Moser - 2 goals
Provided there are no further delays, the Coyotes will next host the Dallas Stars this Sunday at 6:00 pm Arizona time.