The Coyotes didn’t take long to get on the board tonight. Just seconds into the game, Mattias Maccelli picked up a loose puck at the Buffalo end and passed it over to Lawson Crouse. Crouse fired the puck past Eric Comrie, and suddenly the Yotes were up 1-0.
23 seconds.— Arizona Coyotes (@ArizonaCoyotes) November 9, 2022
That's it. That's the tweet. pic.twitter.com/PXvQTSzURK
It was Crouse’s sixth of the season, tying Ritchie for the team lead. After so many slow starts, it was great to see the Coyotes get lucky early.
Unfortunately, the Coyotes followed that up with a penalty seconds later. Nick Ritchie was sent to the box for boarding the player he was traded for, Ilya Lybushkin, and the Coyotes were down a man.
The Coyotes killed that penalty and the next one when Crouse was sent to the box for tripping. That was the Coyotes’ second penalty in under five minutes, in what would be a rough start if the Coyotes weren’t up 1-0.
The Coyotes preserved their lead after killing both penalties, and they did look better when not short-handed. But the Coyotes took one too many penalties, and the Sabres eventually converted.
Dysin Mayo was in the box for boarding, and Phoenix-born Tage Thompson tied it up with his eighth of the season. It was a dumb penalty to take and a part of a general trend for the Coyotes.
The Coyotes eventually got a power play when Zemgus Girgenson was sent to the box three-quarters of the way through the opening frame. But the Coyotes’ power play showed up again, and they regained their lead with a goal from Matias Maccelli.
First goal of the season for the rookie. ✅ pic.twitter.com/DufIN7JDA9— Arizona Coyotes (@ArizonaCoyotes) November 9, 2022
Maccelli has contributed a lot to the Coyotes’ offense, his assist on the Crouse goal was his eighth of the season. So it was fitting that his first goal was a lucky bounce when his pass went off the skate of Dylan Cozens into the back of the net.
It wasn’t a great opening period, but the Coyotes had the lead and looked good.
The second period saw the Coyotes fail to convert on a four-minute power play when Peyton Krebs’ stick hit Ritchie in the face and drew blood. Then, making matters worst, the Coyotes killed the last few seconds of the power play when they drew yet another too-many-men penalty.
Arizona preserved their lead as the period expired, and one broken Zamboni later, the puck was dropped on the third period.
Arizona extended their lead early, with Liam O’Brien getting his first of the season from J.J. Moser and Clayton Keller.
O’Brien didn’t have a great shot from the point, but the puck redirected on its way to the net past Cormie, giving the Coyotes’ a two-goal lead.
The early goal energized the Desert Dogs, and they did a great job keeping the Sabres from any Grade A chances. Arizona also, thankfully, stayed out of the box. There were two minutes of 4-on-4 when Crouse and Rasmus Dahlin both went for roughing, but the Coyotes weren’t short-handed for the rest of the game.
The Coyotes kept their two-goal lead, and with just over two minutes left in regulation, the Sabres pulled Cormie for an offensive zone faceoff. The Coyotes controlled the puck, and Clayton Keller got his fourth of the season in the empty net.
The Coyotes’ early goal definitely helped them stay calm throughout the game, and even when they were taking penalties, they never looked out of it. It wasn’t a perfect game, but the Coyotes earned their win.
- Karel Vejmelka - 32 saves on 33 shots
- Matias Maccelli - Goal and an assist
- Clayton Keller - Goal and an assist
The Coyotes will play the New York Islanders this Thursday at 5:30 pm Arizona time.