Four games into the six-game series and the Arizona Coyotes and St. Louis Blues have gotten to know each other, and they don’t seem to like each other. And if they didn’t before, the Blues certainly don’t like the Coyotes now.
Tonight’s game was a bit of a departure compared to the other games. Just under three minutes into the matchup Kyle Clifford and John Hayden dropped the gloves.
John Hayden and Kyle Clifford have a dance pic.twitter.com/rj90zYDZJl— SB Nation NHL (@SBNationNHL) February 9, 2021
It probably won’t make any highlight reels, but it was just a sign of a more physical first period.
The Coyotes would control large stretches of the first. The Blues didn’t have their first shot on goal until just under eleven minutes into the period. The Coyotes weren’t generating great chances during that time, but they prevented St. Louis from doing anything.
Arizona took the next penalty when Michael Chaput went to the box for hi-sticking Robert Bortuzzo.
Up until tonight, the Blues had not scored a power play goal against the Coyotes. St. Louis had thirteen power play opportunities in the first three games, but they just needed one tonight.
David Perron had the puck at the point and got the puck through to Darcy Kuemper. Kuemper made the initial save, but Ryan O’Reilly was in front of the net and shot the rebound home.
The Coyotes didn’t come apart and had their own power play later in the game. But the Desert Dogs couldn’t convert, and the first period ended with the Blues up 1-0.
Arizona started the second period with a push, and the “Short Leash” line tied it up early. Nick Schmaltz and Clayton Keller entered the Blues’ zone on a 2-on-2. Schmaltz passed the puck across the ice to a Keller who managed to hit the post. Conor Garland was heading up the ice all alone and picked up the rebound. He had an easy shot into a wide-open net, tying the game.
The goal seemed to motivate St. Louis, and they pushed back hard. It didn’t help when Jason Demers took a hooking call 4:40 in, but they found a way to keep things tied.
Close to halfway through the period, the Blues did find a way to capitalize on a Coyotes mistake. David Perron was able to steal the puck from Barrett Hayton near the Coyotes blue line and took it in. He fanned on a shot but kept pushing and forced Kuemper out of the net. At first, it looked like Kuemper had done enough, but Perron handled the puck behind Kuemper and into the empty net.
Hayton did end up making it even for the team, in a way. Vince Dunn hooked Hayton and then cross-checked him right in front of the referee. The referees only called the hook, but that was all the Coyotes needed.
The Coyotes were all business for the power play. Christian Dvorak won the faceoff, and the Coyotes worked the puck back to Jakob Chychrun. Chychrun whipped the puck over to Nick Schmaltz, who skated it up to the faceoff circle and fired it. Christian Dvorak was driving to the net and chipped the puck through Robert Bortuzzo’s legs and over the shoulder of a dropping Binnington.
That was it for the rest of the period, but it was clear that St. Louis wasn’t going away. And they managed to strike early in the third.
Three minutes into the third and the Blues had all the momentum. They had significant time in the Coyotes’ zone, and the Coyotes were unable to quiet things down. Kuemper had already had to make a few big saves and got caught out of the net again. Again the Blues were able to push the puck from behind Kuemper and retake the lead.
For a while, that seemed to be the breaking point. Both for the Coyotes, who looked shaken up, but for the broadcast as well.
The Fox Sports Arizona audio feed cut out, and instead, the fans heard the radio broadcast of a basketball game. After that, there were a few minutes of the ice sounds before the regular audio resumed.
And that frustration seemed to be building as the minutes ticked away. It seemed to get even worse when Clayton Keller was called for holding with 2:25 left.
But that was just the start of things.
Jaden Schwartz went to the box for hi-sticking Niklas Hjalmarsson 56 seconds after the Keller call, and suddenly it was a different game.
It looked like the Coyotes were going to get another lucky break when Justin Faulk got caught holding Conor Garland with 49 seconds left. But Garland was also off to the box for embellishment, a controversial call.
But late in the game, less than a minute left, with Kuemper on the bench, the Coyotes were deep in the Blues’ zone. Keller left the box and headed straight up the ice to the left of Binnington.
Christian Dvorak managed an insane behind the back pass to Keller, waiting alone and looking at an empty net. The replay confirmed he made it time, with the puck crossing the line with less than a second to go.
Absolutely insane finish to the third period between the Coyotes and Blues. Clayton Keller ties it with less than a second left on the clock pic.twitter.com/Cohxu4hfDJ— SB Nation NHL (@SBNationNHL) February 9, 2021
With a finish like that, we needed more hockey. Neither team converted in overtime though, so we had to finish this game with a shootout.
Darcy Kuemper came up big in the shootout, only letting David Perron get past him. Conor Garland and Christian Dvorak scored some big goals, and the Coyotes headed to the dressing room with the win.
- David Peron - Goal
- Nick Schmaltz - Save
- Brayden Schenn - Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahah. Miss.
Brayden Schenn gonna want this shootout attempt back pic.twitter.com/cHlPRazfoU— Brady Trettenero (@BradyTrett) February 9, 2021
4. Conor Garland - Goal
5. Ryan O'Reilly - Save
6. Christian Dvorak - Goal
The Monday night crew. pic.twitter.com/dFfciOByb5— Arizona Coyotes (@ArizonaCoyotes) February 9, 2021
- Lawson Crouse is back after missing three games and spent some time in Drake Caggiula's spot with Christian Dvorak. He looked good and had a few good rushes.
- This game was rougher than the first three, which is to be expected in series like this. It will be interesting to see how the Blues respond next game.
- Tonight is the first time all three members of the "Short Leash" line had a point in a game. They have 13 points against the Blues.
- The Blues scored twice by bringing Kuemper out of the net. Because these teams have seen so much of each other, it will be interesting to see how these two teams respond to each other.
- Antti Raanta was not on the bench with the team reporting it was a rest day.
- The Blues had another four penalties. Discipline has been a big issue in this series.
- Jordan Oesterle took a big hit from Kyle Clifford late in the third. The hit looked clean, but Oesterle seemed to hit his face on the glass.
- Clayton Keller - Goal and an assist
- Christian Dvorak - Goal, assist, and shoot out goal
- Ryan O'Reilly - Two goals and an assist
The Coyotes next game is currently Saturday, February 13th against the Blues.