Well, if you have been watching both teams this season, you may not have expected that. But under normal circumstances, you would expect the losing team to rebound at home.
The Coyotes managed to get that rebound. It wasn’t pretty, and the Coyotes probably didn’t deserve both points, but they beat the Colorado Avalanche in the shootout.
Arizona got off to a hot start. Early in the first period, the Coyotes forced a turnover in the Colorado zone. They stole the puck, passed it back to Jakob Chychrun at the point, who fired it on net past Jonas Johansson.
And the offense from the blue line didn’t stop there. Three minutes after Chychrun’s blast from the point, the Coyotes doubled their lead.
Arizona had been doing a great job at getting deep in the Avalanche’s zone. Phil Kessel had the puck behind the Avalanche’s net and found Alex Goligoski, who had dropped down to the faceoff circle. He fired a one-timer past Johansson, and the Coyotes were up 2-0.
The Coyotes were utterly dominant to start the game. Seven minutes in, the Avalanche hadn’t even recorded their first shot on goal. Arizona’s control wouldn’t last forever, but the Desert Dogs at least looked prepared.
Colorado got the first power play of the game when Chychrun was called for tripping 14:16 into the game. The Avalanche had been waking up, and the man advantage was all they needed to halve the Coyotes lead when Gabriel Landeskog picked up his own rebound and put it past Adin Hill.
But there was a clear momentum shift, and the Avalanche were pushing hard. And late in the period, with just over a minute left, Nathan MacKinnon backhanded the puck to Mikko Rantanen in front of the net, and he was able to put it home and tie the game.
The Avalanche coming back could have shaken the Coyotes. But when they returned for the second period, Colorado took an early penalty when Nathan MacKinnon accidentally hit Jakob Chychrun in the face with his stick, and he started leaking blood everywhere.
The Coyotes weren’t able to score on the four-minute power play, but it gave them a bit of a reset after allowing Colorado to score twice.
Midway through the second, the Coyotes would get another power play. The Coyotes didn’t score, and it would be their last power play of the game.
Even with the Coyotes having two power plays in the second, the Avalanche would start to push back. And because the Colorado Avalanche is a good team that plays a full sixty minutes, Nathan MacKinnon scored with just 11 seconds remaining in the second period.
The third goal is a tough hurdle for the Coyotes, one that they don’t always make. And things didn’t start well for the Coyotes when Conor Garland took an early penalty.
Arizona killed the penalty, but Colorado had all the momentum. And early in the third, after winning a board battle, the Avalanche got the puck back to Ryan Graves. Graves fired it on net, only for Valeri Nichushkin to redirect it past Hill.
And that should have been it. The Coyotes are a team that struggles to score, and the Avalanche just increased their lead to 4-2. But the Coyotes didn't give up.
The Coyotes’ fourth line had been pretty good all night and had been able to apply some good pressure. Alex Goligoski pinched and fired the puck from the faceoff circle. Johansson made the first save, but the rebound bounced off John Hayden, and Lawson Crouse fired it home.
Lawson Crouse Sandra Bullock (1995)— FOX Sports Arizona (@FOXSPORTSAZ) March 24, 2021
The Net pic.twitter.com/E0co6dm8Ms
Suddenly, we were in new territory. The Coyotes have always struggled to get their third goal, but here it was. And sure, they still needed one more to tie it up, but it was something.
Phil Kessel would get that tying goal two minutes and three seconds later. He had a partial breakaway, and like so many breakaways lately, he was unable to put it home. But with Clayton Keller working the rebound, Kessel was able to pick the puck up again and fire it home.
It was probably the worst angle for a shot. But someone it slipped past Johansson, and after allowing four goals, it was a tie game again.
Adin Hill needed to stay sharp and make some big saves, and the Coyotes needed to kill a late penalty, but regulation ended with the game tied at 4-4.
The Avalanche would start overtime with pressure. Kessel had another breakaway but again was unable to put it home.
Just under halfway through OT, Nick Schmaltz was called for slashing, and the Coyotes needed to kill a penalty for most of the second half of overtime. It was a weak call, but the Coyotes killed the penalty, and the game went to the shootout.
Nick Schmaltz, Conor Garland, and Christian Dvorak all scored for the Coyotes in the shootout. Joonas Donskoi scored the Avalanche, but Nathan MacKinnon missed, and the Coyotes skated away with two points.
- Both Niklas Hjalmarsson and Antti Raanta sat with injuries. Their timeline for return is unknown.
- Coach Tocchet really shuffled the lines today. It surprisingly led to more offense from the defense, but not sure that was the main intention.
- The Coyotes had four power play opportunities, including the double-minor, but failed to convert with the man advantage. Colorado had four power plays and converted on one.
- Adin Hill made this save during overtime. He had an excellent game.
- Eight Coyotes players recorded a point tonight. John Hayden got his first point as a Coyote, Alex Goligoski got his first goal of the season, and Phil Kessel got his tenth goal.
- Phil Kessel - Goal and an assist
- Lawson Crouse - Goal and an assist
- Nathan MacKinnon - Goal and two assists
The Coyotes play the Scottsdale Sharks this Friday at 7:00 pm Arizona time at Gila River Arena.