After a lengthy six-game road trip to start the season, the Arizona Coyotes have finally played a game in their new spot, Mullett Arena. The atmosphere was electric as Coyotes fans got their first taste of home ice for the next three years. And though the game ended in disappointment, people will remember it for years to come.
After All-Elite Wrestling announcer Justin Roberts announced the opening night roster, the first game at Mullett Arena started fittingly, with Shane and Josh Doan dropping the puck. It was great to see the Coyotes’ past and future present in this one moment, and just a great kick-off to the game.
And all the credit to the Coyotes; they came out ready to play. This season the Coyotes have a horrible habit of starting games late, usually because they took a stupid penalty or two in the first few minutes. That didn’t happen against the Columbus Blue Jackets on Tuesday, and it didn’t happen against the Winnipeg Jets last night.
Midway through the opening frame, the Coyotes drew first blood with Christian Fischer getting his second of the season and first NHL goal at Mullett Arena.
WE'RE BRINGIN' THE NOISE! pic.twitter.com/04ztBdPVD7— Arizona Coyotes (@ArizonaCoyotes) October 29, 2022
It was a relatively simple play. The Coyotes had some offensive zone pressure allowing Troy Stecher to send the puck to the front of the net. Long-time Coyote Christian Fischer was there to put it home, and the Coyotes were up 1-0 as the crowd erupted.
The first period was halfway over, but Fischer wasn’t done yet. Just over five minutes later, Fischer got his second of the night off the faceoff.
1 Fish, 2 Fish, Red Fish, Score Fish pic.twitter.com/Uq2kO7NjFu— Arizona Coyotes (@ArizonaCoyotes) October 29, 2022
Jack McBain won the faceoff in the offensive zone, and Fischer fired the loose puck past David Rittich, and suddenly it was 2-0 Coyotes.
But they don’t call a two-goal lead the most dangerous lead in hockey for no reason. The Coyotes maybe got a bit too comfortable, and less than half a minute later, Cole Perfetti cut the Desert Dog’s lead in half.
The Coyotes followed this up with a penalty, with Troy Stetcher going to the box for cross-checking. Arizona killed their first penalty, but the opening frame ended with pushing and shoving that saw Zack Kassian get two penalties, and the Yotes started the second period on the kill.
Arizona should have come alive in the second period, but they couldn’t capitalize. The Coyotes got their only two power plays of the game in the second, but they could not solve Rittich with the man advantage.
With 40 minutes in the books and a one-goal lead, you would hope the Coyotes would come ready to close things out. Unfortunately, they set the tone early with an early penalty kill after Matias Maccelli was sent to the box for holding. Almost immediately after he was out, the Yotes had to kill another penalty for too many men on the ice.
Even though the Jets failed to convert on either power play, they were building momentum as the third period went on. So it didn’t come as a surprise when Mark Scheifele tied things up with his sixth goal of the season midway through the period.
Any hopes of a late tiebreaker for the Coyotes were cut short with another penalty, this time Lawson Crouse getting sent to the box for tripping. However, Arizona’s penalty kill remained perfect, and regulation ended with the score tied 2-2.
Last night was the first time the Coyotes have played such a close game and the first time they have gone to overtime this season. But, unfortunately, it didn’t last long as Blake Wheeler, on a breakaway, fired the puck past Karel Vejemelka just 32 seconds into OT, and the Jets won the first game at Mullett Arena.
The Coyotes have gotten better from the start of the season, and there was a lot to like about last night’s game. Their penalty kill was perfect, they started on time, and they didn’t look completely outmatched. The biggest difference between last night’s game and Tuesday’s was that the Jets took the Coyotes seriously and did a better job shutting down their top players and power play, Columbus and Toronto didn’t.
First lines at Mullett are in. pic.twitter.com/yRyffXSKqV— Arizona Coyotes (@ArizonaCoyotes) October 29, 2022
- Christian Fischer - 2 goals, including the first NHL goal at Mullett Arena
- Blake Wheeler - Game-winning overtime goal
- Mark Scheifele - Game-tying goal
The Coyotes will be at Mullett Arena again on Sunday with a 5:00 pm start time as they host the New York Rangers.