Even though the Arizona Coyotes won both their games against the Anaheim Ducks, they didn’t do it commandingly. They played poorly for large parts of those games and allowed the Ducks to score three unanswered goals each game.
Points are important, but clearly, the Coyotes needed to be better.
They were not better tonight. Arizona scored two extremely late goals, but the Colorado Avalanche outplayed them for most of the game.
Arizona started the game on the wrong foot when Jakob Chychrun was called for slashing less than a minute into the game. Adin Hill had to make a big save, but the Coyotes were able to kill the penalty.
Despite the successful kill, Colorado remained in control of the game.
Colorado was doing a great job at limiting the Coyotes’ shots. The Coyotes didn’t record their second shot on goal until 8 minutes and 37 seconds into the first when Derick Brassard shot the puck on Hunter Miska.
Arizona’s first good look came midway through the first. Lawson Crouse’s line did good work to keep the zone and allow the top-line to come out. Nick Schmaltz had a decent look and drew a penalty giving the Yotes their first power play of the game.
The Coyotes would not register a shot on goal during the power play.
Things started to get physical late in the period. There was some pushing and shoving after the whistle, and Gabriel Landeskog and Conor Garland were in the box for roughing. Well, Garland was technically in the locker room as Landeskog had slammed him to the ice, and he needed to get checked out.
But 4-on-4 hockey did not last long as Nick Schmaltz was called for hooking Mikko Rantanen. Rantanen responded by cross-checking Schmaltz into the Coyotes’ net, and for a brief moment, it looked like it would be matching calls. But nope, Schmaltz went to the box with 27 seconds left in the period.
The second started with the Avalanche on a 4-on-3 power play. The penalties to Garland and Landeskog expired, but with two seconds left in the Avalanche’s power play Mikko Rantanen tapped in a rebound and gave the Avalanche the lead.
Arizona would briefly reconnect the “Short Leash” Line in the second with Garland double shifting, but nothing could help the Coyotes’ struggling offense. Even a power play couldn’t give them any energy, and again they failed to record a shot on goal.a
Things really started to come alive in the third period. Arizona had about a minute and a half of good offensive zone time to start, but that quickly ended.
Drake Caggiula dropped the gloves with Bowen Byram, but even winning a fight didn’t give the Coyotes any energy or momentum.
Just over six minutes into the third, Colorado struck again, doubling their lead.
The Avalanche forced a turnover just in front of their blue line and went through the ice with speed. It was a 3-on-2 rush, and when the puck got to Andre Burakovsky. Burakovsky fired it top-shelf past Hill, doubling the Avalanche’s lead.
Colorado would extend their lead five minutes later. Cale Makar was coming into the Coyotes’ zone, and he brought four players with him. That left Nazem Kadri all alone to take the puck to the net and go five-hole on Hill.
For the third straight game, the Coyotes had allowed their opponents to take a 3-0 lead. Colorado was outplaying them, but eventually, the Coyotes would get some energy.
With less than two minutes left in the game, Arizona won a battle in the corner and sent the puck around. Jakob Chychrun fired the puck from the point towards the net and Christian Dvorak. Dvorak passed the puck to Phil Kessel, who put it into the empty net.
It only took that one to get things going. The Coyotes would score again 43 seconds later when Drake Caggiula tapped in the rebound and scored his first goal of the season.
But that left the Coyotes with only 53 seconds left to get another goal. They came close enough that it may have happened. But the Coyotes in no way deserved a point in this one. You can not allow your opponents to control the game only to come alive in the final minute and a half and expect to win.
Clear eyes. Full hearts.— Arizona Coyotes (@ArizonaCoyotes) February 27, 2021
Friday Night Lines. ⬇️ pic.twitter.com/UyXzDJv46P
- No Short Leash line to start, Derick Brassard was with Nick Schmaltz and Clayton Keller, Conor Garland was with Christian Dvorak and Phil Kessel.
- Schmaltz had a really good game, and for most of the game was the team's best forward.
- The Coyotes again had an issue with zone exits. When they aren't playing good they end up getting trapped in their own zone and it becomes a vicious cycle of always defending.
- During the Coyotes' power play in the first, linesman Brad Kovachik took a puck to the back of the head and immediately went down. He missed the rest of the first period, but came out during the second.
- Coyotes do not register a shot on goal on either power play opportunity they had.
- Adin Hill was good, and if not for some big saves the Avalanche could have easily scored six or seven. It's a shame he didn't get any support until the final two minutes of the game.
- With a goal and an assist tonight, Kessel has eight points in his past five games.
- Nazem Kadri - 1 goal, 2 assists
- Mikko Rantanen - 1 goal, 1 assist
- Phil Kessel - 1 goal, 1 assist
The Coyotes don't have much time to dwell on this one and they will be playing the Avalanche again tomorrow at 7 pm Arizona time.