Arizona opened the scoring relatively early, with Dysin Mayo getting his second of the season just 3:16 into the game.
Perfect amount of sauce. pic.twitter.com/9K70SVvKU6— Arizona Coyotes (@ArizonaCoyotes) January 7, 2022
It was a relatively simple play. Mayo picked up the puck at the blue line from Shayne Gostisbehere and brought it down to the faceoff circle. He fired a quick shot, beating Marc-André Fleury, and suddenly the Coyotes were up 1-0.
Arizona had the early lead, but they weren’t out of the woods yet. The Coyotes took the first two penalties of the game in the initial frame, Clayton Keller for delay of game with a puck over the glass and Andrew Ladd for holding, and the four minutes of power play time helped the Blackhawks build momentum.
Still, the Coyotes bent but didn’t break, and Karel Vejmelka came to play with some big saves.
And as the first was expiring, JJ Moser fired the puck from the blue line, only to see his shot deflect off Johan Larsson and into the back of the net, giving the Coyotes their first two-goal lead of the season.
With 20 minutes in the books, the Chicago Blackhawks came out hard, tying the game up in the first five and half minutes with goals from Kirby Dach and MacKenzie Entwistle. At one point, the Blackhawks were outshooting the Coyotes 8-0 during the frame, and the Coyotes were having problems generating any offense.
But as we have seen so often this season, poorly timed penalties can change things completely. And midway through the game, with Connor Murphy in the box for cross-checking, the Coyotes were in the perfect position to make the Blackhawks pay.
It didn’t take long for the Coyotes to regain the lead. Arizona won the opening faceoff, and Phil Kessel brought the puck around to the other side of the ice. He sent the puck towards the front of the net, where it went off Andrew Ladd, allowing Travis Boyd to knock it home, eight seconds into the power play.
There would be three more penalties during the middle frame (two for Chicago, one for Arizona), including Kirby Dach getting his own delay of game call, but neither team managed to score again. Second-period collapses are relatively common for the Coyotes, but they held firm and went into the third with a lead for the second this season.
The third period was definitely a crazy one that continued the high offense action.
After a relatively quiet night, Clayton Keller started the action early, with his 11th of the season.
we checked, it's good. pic.twitter.com/ZmQ2gub3xl— Arizona Coyotes (@ArizonaCoyotes) January 7, 2022
It was another simple play that showed how vital faceoff wins could be. Keller collected the puck after the faceoff, brought it up high, and fired through traffic and into the back of the net. Marc-André Fleury was upset by the goal, and the Blackhawks immediately challenged for goaltender interference, but review confirmed it was a good goal.
If you are a team like the Blackhawks, challenging a Coyotes’ goal makes a lot of sense. Of course, if the call doesn’t go your way, you have to kill a penalty, but the Coyotes’ power play is terrible anyway, so what’s the harm? Especially when the goal means going down by two.
But the Coyotes smelled blood in the water, and their killer instincts took over. Midway through the man advantage, a wide-open Johan Larsson picked up a pass from Travis Boyd and fired it an open cage, giving the Coyotes their first three-goal lead of the season.
Don't mess with the Johan. pic.twitter.com/9zt4V2Md5h— Arizona Coyotes (@ArizonaCoyotes) January 7, 2022
There was still a lot of hockey left to be played though, and the Blackhawks weren’t going down without a fight.
Two and a half minutes after Larsson’s second, the Blackhawks cut the Coyotes’ lead back to two. It was a relatively simple shot from the point from Jake McCabe that hit Jonathan Toews and redirected into the back of the net. It was a tough goal to give up, but the Coyotes still had a two-goal cushion.
Unfortunately, we’re still talking about the Coyotes, so they aren’t going to make things easy. Midway through the final frame, the Coyotes took two back-to-back penalties. Johan Larsson went off first for tripping, and the Coyotes did a decent job killing that penalty. However, things started to get a little chippy as the penalty expired, and just when it seemed like the referees were ready to put away the whistles, Anton Strålman sent the puck over the glass for the fourth delay of game call of the game.
The Blackhawks found a way to score with the second man-advantage, because of course they did. It required a bit of luck and some phenomenal hand-eye coordination from former-Coyote Dylan Strome, but Alex DeBrincat put home his 21st of the season by batting a bouncing pack past Karel Vejmelka.
There were just under seven minutes left, and the Coyotes had a slim lead. But, thankfully, they didn’t take any more dumb penalties and did a decent job in the final half of the period.
Chicago pulled Fleury for the extra attacker, but the Coyotes still didn’t look too concerned. And then, with 29 seconds left, Larsson picked up a pass from Lawson Crouse and fired it into the empty net.
GIVE YOUR HATS TO LARRY! pic.twitter.com/3YXXnoLTPN— Arizona Coyotes (@ArizonaCoyotes) January 7, 2022
It was an exciting matchup with plenty of back-and-forth action, one that saw the Coyotes walk away with a win.
- Johan Larsson - 3 goals
- Travis Boyd - 1 goal, 2 assists
- Clayton Keller - 1 goal, 1 assist
The Coyotes will be staying in Glendale as they host the Nashville Predators this Saturday at 6:00 pm Arizona time.