Last Saturday, the Arizona Coyotes beat the Minnesota Wild, an opponent they couldn’t defeat last season. Tonight the Coyotes beat the Colorado Avalanche, a team that embarrassed them in the playoffs last season.
Colorado took the first penalty of the game, with Jacob MacDonald getting called for interference. The Avalanche were doing an excellent job of keeping the Coyotes to the outside, but it wouldn’t last long.
As the penalty ticked away, the Coyotes were in the Avalanche zone, with Derick Brassard alone in the faceoff circle. Clayton Keller found Brassard, who fired it past Philipp Grubauer, giving the Coyotes an early lead just under five minutes into the game.
The Avalanche would respond, of course, and the pipe would prove to be Darcy Kuemper’s best friend for the rest of the first period.
The Avalance would hit the pipe multiple times, and with eight and a half minutes left in the first period, both teams had two shots on goal.
But Arizona would get some extended zone time late in the period. With five minutes left in the first, and the Coyotes were deep in the Colorado zone.
Arizona cycled the puck back to Alex Goligoski on the blue line. He sent it to Keller on the other side, who caught an open Jakob Chychrun, who was cycling back. Chychrun fired it from the point through traffic, and suddenly the Coyotes had a 2-0 lead as the first period ticked away.
Colorado came back hard in the second period. They had a few good pushes, with Darcy Kuemper coming up with some big saves.
Derick Brassard was sent to the box for slashing Nazem Kadri less than eight minutes into the second. At first, it looked liked things would be okay, with Gabriel Landeskog getting called for tripping 17 seconds later.
Not surprisingly, Colorado was the better team at 4-on-4. And late in the 4-on-4, Valeri Nichushkin found the back of the net after receiving a pass from Kadri, cutting the Coyotes’ lead in half.
The Avalanche kept up the pressure and had doubled up on the Coyotes in shots on goal.
And with the consistent pressure, the Coyotes were bound to make a mistake. This time, it was Frédérick Gauthier who was called tripping Brandon Saad.
Colorado was great on the power play, and it didn’t take them long to tie things up. Just over half a minute into the power play, Andre Burakovsky buried a shot past Kuemper, and suddenly it was a tie game.
The rest of the period was all Avalanche, who had a lot of momentum after that goal. But the Coyotes kept things tied, and it would all come down to the third period.
Things did not start well for the Coyotes in the third period. Darcy Kuemper went down early, seeming to tweak something bad enough to head to the bench. The final 17:40 would be Antti Raanta’s.
Raanta came up huge, making some big saves and keeping the Coyotes in the game. But the Coyotes would make things a bit easier for him earlier in the third.
The Coyotes recovered the puck in the Avalanche zone and sent it back to the point. Oliver Ekman-Larsson fired it from the point on net, and Johan Larsson redirected it past Grubauer.
It was the Coyotes’ eighth shot on goal, and they had scored three goals. The Coyotes applied some pressure and kept the game tied for the rest of the period.
With just over two minutes left, the Coyotes did encounter a bit of extra difficulty. Jason Demers was in the box for hi-sticking Logan O’Connor, and the Avalanche had a play for 2 minutes of the final 2:14 left in regulation.
Raanta came up strong with some big kills, maintaining the Coyotes’ lead. Arizona killed the penalty and the final 14 seconds, and the Coyotes beat the Avalanche for the first time this season.
- Jason Demers playing in his second straight game after being scratched. He seemed to be playing with a more physical edge and was tied with OEL with most hits by defensemen with three.
- The Coyotes had their first first-period goal in the past 11 Games. That is probably not a good thing.
- It didn't matter much, but some of the penalties were weird with interference, and slashing calls should have been hi-sticking. They should have been penalties, just not what was called.
- The Coyotes only had 14 shots on goal compared to the Avalanche's 35. In less than a period, Raanta had to make 16 saves.
- Arizona had lost the previous four games against Colorado.
- Antti Raanta - 16 saves on 16 shots in the final 17:40 of the game
- Clayton Keller - 2 assists
- Oliver Ekman-Larsson - 2 assists
The Coyotes will stay in Colorado and face off against the Avalanche this Wednesday at 7:00 pm Arizona time.