The Coyotes were not guaranteed to win this game. The Ducks had John Gibson back, a goaltender who has stolen games against the Coyotes before. But the Ducks were playing better than they had on Friday, and the Coyotes were playing worse.
Arizona was sloppy most of the game, having difficulties clearing the zone, completing passes, and finishing. They certainly didn’t look like a team that was trying to strengthen their playoff position.
Anaheim played fairly average hockey. But they did break up the Coyotes’ passes and keep them from getting set up in the offensive zone. The Desert Dogs had very little sustained offensive zone pressure from start to finish and had very little control of the game.
What the Coyotes did have was Jakob Chychrun.
Hockey is a team sport, and you never want to give a player too much credit for a single player. But defenseman Jakob Chychrun scored all three of the Coyotes goals tonight, giving the Coyotes the win.
Chychrun got things going for the Coyotes in the first period. The Ducks scored first after Trevor Zegras stole the puck as the Coyotes were cycling it behind the goal and got it to Sam Carrick. Carrick fired it home, giving the Ducks the early lead.
That looked like it may have woken the Coyotes up. If nothing else, it woke up Jakob Chychrun, who ties the game 27 seconds later, ringing the puck off the post and past Gibson.
NHL Video Highlight - Jakob Chychrun scores against the Anaheim Ducks to make it 1-1. pic.twitter.com/LZeOYk5hYw— Coyotes Game Bot (@CoyotesGameBot) April 5, 2021
Chychrun’s goal did not spark a comeback, and the game stayed tied for less than six minutes. It was Zegras again for the Ducks, firing a shot on net that was redirected by Derek Grant. And though the Coyotes would have a bit of energy as the first period expired, it was definitely the Ducks’ game.
The Coyotes would spend the final two periods not doing too much. Clayton Keller had a few good looks, as did Phil Kessel, but the Coyotes didn’t have the finish and were just too sloppy.
But they would get the equalizer late in the third period. Nick Schmaltz did some nifty stick work with the puck before finding a wide-open Chychrun. He fired it on net, and suddenly it was a tie game.
Regulation ended with 4-on-4 hockey as Michael Bunting and Adam Henrique both took roughing penalties. John Hayden had dropped the gloves with Sam Carrick earlier, so it wasn’t too out of nowhere, and it didn’t affect the outcome of the game.
The next call may have had more of an impact. Clayton Keller was tripped up on a breakaway and was awarded a penalty shot just over a minute and a half into overtime.
Keller overplayed the shot, and the puck rolled off his stick, keeping the game going. But it wasn’t for much longer.
The Coyotes won a faceoff and got the puck back to the hot stick, Jakob Chychrun. He fired it from the top of the circle and completed the hat trick for the game-winner.
IS THERE A BETTER TIME TO FINISH OFF YOUR FIRST CAREER HAT TRICK THAN IN OT?— Arizona Coyotes (@ArizonaCoyotes) April 5, 2021
WE DON'T THINK SO. pic.twitter.com/bUqvmhqnZ0
And that was it, the Coyotes completed the comeback and have two more points. Did they deserve to win? Tough to say, but they say good teams make their own luck, and I guess the Coyotes did that tonight.
Also, Jakob Chychrun is a phenominal defenseman. That helps too.
- Clayton Keller had a really good game but didn't seem to get the needed line support. Christian Dvorak and Lane Pederson seemed pretty invisible, which is disappointing, to say the least.
- The Coyotes outshot the Ducks but had very few high danger chances. Most of that came down to the Coyotes failing to get any sustained offensive zone time.
- In addition to the Coyotes not playing well, we didn't get the best officiating tonight. Adin Hill appeared to go down after taking a spear, he stayed in the game, and the offsides call on a 4-on-2 breakaway was a bit off. It wasn't bad enough to overturn a game, but not great.
- Jakob Chychrun - 3 goals. Duh.
- Trevor Zegras - 2 assist
- Clayton Keller - 1 assist
The Coyotes play the Los Angeles Kings tomorrow at 7:00 pm Arizona time.