The Arizona Coyotes are facing a tough road trip. The Coyotes next six games against the top three teams in the division, and they desperately need points to climb back up the standings.
Things seemed to start off well. The Coyotes controlled the first fifteen minutes, and Christian Dvorak gave them the lead just over halfway through the opening period. Things were trending well for the Desert Dogs, but that would not last.
St. Louis seemed to come alive late in the first. They were able to capitalize when Alex Goligoski got tripped up at the blue line, and Mike Hoffman tied it up with just over two and a half minutes left in the first.
The second period would be mostly back and forth, with the Blues maintaining an advantage.
St. Louis regained the lead less than four minutes into the period when Justin Faulk walked pasted Barrett Hayton and Jordan Gross and wristed the puck five-hole. It was a rough goal that could have demoralized the Desert Dogs.
The power play would keep the Coyotes in the game. Arizona has struggled with the man advantage, and tonight showed why it is so important.
Ivan Barbashev was in the box for tripping 4:20 into the second. Thirty seconds later, Marco Scandella was given two minutes for hooking Nick Schmaltz, and it was 5-on-3.
St. Louis killed the first penalty, but the Coyotes were still deep in the St. Louis zone. Nick Schmaltz passed the puck to Jakob Chychrun, who cycled it down to Phil Kessel. Kessel passed the puck back to Schmaltz, who sent it forward to a waiting Dvorak. Christian Dvorak redirected the Schmaltz pass past Jordan Binnington, giving him his second of the night.
But the St. Louis Blues would keep pushing.
The Blues brought the puck over the Arizona blue line just over halfway through the second. Jordan Schwartz had the puck below the faceoff dots and found Vince Dunn, who was skating all alone through the circle. Dunn shot the puck past Kuemper, and the Blues regained the lead heading into the third.
The third period was to be a big one. The Coyotes have struggled to get that much-needed third goal in the past, and St. Louis had been playing a solid game. Arizona started on the wrong foot when Drake Caggiula took a double minor for high-sticking Oskar Sundqvist.
At first, it looked like the Coyotes may be able to survive. David Perron was off to the box for holding Alex Goligoski, and it looked like the Coyotes had found a bit of relief.
But the Blues are not a team to be taken lightly. Colton Parayko brought the puck into the Coyotes’ zone on a 3-on-2 and found Jordan Kyrou in the middle of the ice. Kyrou passed it to a wide-open Ryan O’Reilly, who found the back of the net. St. Louis had doubled their lead not two minutes into the period.
All credit to them, the Coyotes did not give up. Arizona kept pushing and had a few good looks as the period went on.
They would finally get rewarded late in the third when they had the extra attacker.
With 3:03 left in the third, the Coyotes had pulled Darcy Kuemper. Phil Kessel passed the puck back to Conor Garland, who was waiting at the side of the net. Garland quickly passed to the front, where a waiting Nick Schmaltz tapped it home.
For a few moments, it looked like the Coyotes were going to find a way to rebound. Binnington seemed to be fighting the puck, and the Coyotes looked great 6-on-5. There we
- Really interesting lines to start out. Before the season started people question if Barrett Hayton would be playing center and yet he was centering Derick Brassard.
- This was also Dryden Hunt’s first game as a Coyote. He had a big missed assignment that led to a St. Louis goal but overall played a solid enough game.
- Keller-Schmaltz-Garland looked great in the offensive zone. Before the start of the game, Coach Tocchet said they were on a “short-leash” when it came to the defensive coverage. Let’s see if they played well enough to get a second look.
- Christian Dvorak with back-to-back multi-goal games. This is the first time in his career he had back-to-back two-goal games.
- Phil Kessel earned his 300th career power play point on the Coyotes’ second goal. He also blocked a pretty big St. Louis shot in the third and overall looks much better compared to last season. He can disappear for stretches.
- Despite missing Christian Fischer and Lawson Crouse, two big parts of their penalty kill, the Coyotes did not allow a single power play goal. St. Louis had five opportunities so you can’t say it was a fluke.
- The Coyotes continuing to fight back was a good thing. St. Louis pushed back hard, and the Coyotes weathered the storm well enough. We have seen a bad goal suck all of the Coyotes’ momentum in the past which thankfully didn’t happen tonight.
The Coyotes have another shot at St. Louis on Thursday at 6:00 pm again.
UPDATE: Section title was changed from "Three Stars" to "Stray Thoughts"