After dropping their last game against the Los Angeles Kings, the Arizona Coyotes needed a big game. They needed it for the standings, and they needed it to get back some momentum.
Tonight’s game is one that the team will hopefully be able to build off. It was by no means a complete game, but the Desert Dogs came back and finished strong. But it took a massive comeback to secure the win.
The first period of tonight’s game may be one of the worst periods the Coyotes have played this season.
Arizona had two good shifts and then completely fell apart. A big factor was their inability to clear the zone, which is always the first sign that Arizona is off. Anaheim was good at forcing turnovers and managed to keep to zone and launch the puck forward. Johan Larsson briefly recovered the puck, but Jakob Silfverberg stole the puck and fire it past Kuemper and give the Ducks the lead just over three minutes into the game.
The Coyotes would have the opportunity to tie it up seconds later when Rickard Rakell was called for interference, the first of many penalties. Anaheim was extremely aggressive on the penalty kill and kept Arizona off the scoreboard.
Anaheim had all the momentum after the successful kill. The Coyotes were getting outshot and were limited to breakaways with little second effort.
Halfway through the period, Tyler Pitlick was in the box for delay of game after launching the puck over the glass. Niklas Hjalmarsson was put in the box giving the Ducks a 5-on-3 power play.
Darcy Kuemper had to slide to make a save, but the puck came out between his legs. Max Jones was in front of the net, and he recovered the puck and put it home wall falling to the ice.
When Jones got up, he decided to do a bit of chirping, and then chaos broke out.
A lot to unpack here....Go ahead. pic.twitter.com/rpp5aJmo85— FOX Sports Arizona (@FOXSPORTSAZ) February 23, 2021
It took a long time for the referees to sort out, and there were penalties all around. For Anaheim, Max Jones was given an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty, and Ryan was called for roughing. Lawson Crouse was given two for roughing, while Darcy Kuemper was given roughing penalties against Max Jones and Troy Terry. The final result was that the Ducks were on another power play.
The Coyotes were clearly frustrated, and the game was getting more and more physical.
At 18:01, John Hayden and Max Jones dropped the gloves. They didn’t really connect any punches, but things were heating up.
Less than two minutes left in the period, and we still saw another fight. Lawson Crouse cross-checked Derek Grant, and the two of them dropped the gloves as a result.
The extra cross-check meant the Ducks had a power play that carried over into the second period. They didn’t score on the power play, but soon after it expired Cam Fowler fired a slap shot through traffic and gave the Ducks a 3-0 lead.
Things looked even worse when the Coyotes were called for too many men on the ice at 7:43. But the Coyotes were looking good on the penalty kill, and Christian Dvorak had a breakaway. Dvorak was all alone heading to the net when Jakob Silfverberg took him down with a hook.
It’s fair to say that Jakob Silfverberg hooking Christian Dvorak changed the entire flow of the game. Dvorak was awarded a penalty shot, and he deked John Gibson out of the net and put it home.
Christian Dvorak (@10_CD) on the penalty shot and boy was it sweet. pic.twitter.com/Rn3j5wQbHE— NHL (@NHL) February 23, 2021
And that was just the start of the comeback.
Just over two minutes later, the Coyotes cut the Ducks’ lead to one. Conor Garland and Phil Kessel were in the corner working for the puck when Garland gained control. He passed it up to Derick Brassard, and he blasted it home.
Sneaky goal from Derick. pic.twitter.com/q1cHG6W4d1— Arizona Coyotes (@ArizonaCoyotes) February 23, 2021
But there was still more work to do. Two minutes later, Drake Caggiula was able to spring Jakob Chychrun, who went hard to the net. He was able to get in all alone, and as he was getting tugged by Isac Lundestrom, he got the puck past John Gibson to tie it up.
WE HAVE A TIE GAME!!!!!!!!!!!!— FOX Sports Arizona (@FOXSPORTSAZ) February 23, 2021
OMG @ArizonaCoyotes pic.twitter.com/keyIF6Ys3b
The period kept going, and neither team broke the tie.
But the Coyotes’ power play came up big in the third. Just over two minutes into the third, Troy Terry was called for hooking Clayton Keller.
It wasn’t the best power play, but the Coyotes set up in the Ducks’ zone with 30 seconds left to go. Jakob Chychrun fired a shot from the point, and Dvorak redirected it past Gibson.
That's four straight goals and the @ArizonaCoyotes have the lead! pic.twitter.com/JJApnX3vrt— NHL (@NHL) February 23, 2021
Anaheim had a few good chances after that, and make no mistake Darcy Kuemper earned his paycheck tonight.
It was far from a perfect game. The first period was absolute garbage, and discipline is still an issue. But rather than give up, the Coyotes kept pushing and won two badly needed points.
Tonight's squad. pic.twitter.com/PBZ9c2qDzk— Arizona Coyotes (@ArizonaCoyotes) February 23, 2021
- Can't believe this still keeps happening.
Hey @NHL, your refs owe another $1 to the "We're Not Called Phoenix" Fund.— Arizona Coyotes (@ArizonaCoyotes) February 23, 2021
- Isac Lundstrom was originally given a major for elbowing Alex Goligoski in the face. It was more the high shoulder that hit him, and it caused his nose and mouth to bleed but it was reduced to two minutes.
- Clayton Keller caught a stick up high, and despite it cutting his face it was still only two minutes.
#Yotes Clayton Keller is visibly cut in the corner of the eye from a high-stick.— Here's Your Replay ⬇️ (@HeresYourReplay) February 23, 2021
Refs call a 2 min minor - even after going to the bench and seeing he was cut. pic.twitter.com/4Zn7L5OO57
- The "Short Leash" Line was broken up during the game with Conor Garland skating with Phil Kessel and Derick Brassard. Drake Caggiula ended up skating with Keller and Nick Schmaltz.
- Christian Dvorak - 2 goals
- Jakob Chychrun - Goal and and assist
- Clayton Keller - 2 assists
The Coyotes and Ducks will see each other again this Wednesday at 7 pm.