The Coyotes started things off well enough, with an early power play goal. Shayne Gostisbehere got the Desert Dogs on the first three and a half minutes in through traffic to give the Coyotes an early lead.
We love to see those power play goals. pic.twitter.com/SL526cOApR— Arizona Coyotes (@ArizonaCoyotes) December 18, 2022
Kale Clague was in the box for holding, and it was great to see the Coyotes convert on the power play. But, unfortunately, special teams would not be their friend for the rest of the game.
Buffalo didn’t take long to respond when they got their own power play two minutes later. Jack McBain was sent to the box for holding, and Jeff Skinner tied it up with his 14th of the season.
There was nothing Connor Ingram could do against the shot, which Skinner redirected past him into the back of the net. It was up to the Coyotes to stay disciplined and work hard for the rest of the game.
Instead, both teams took two more penalties before the opening frame was up. Neither team converted, but neither team was able to gain much momentum either.
The second period started with an early penalty that the Coyotes killed off, and the Desert Dogs looked to be finding their footing. Arizona got on the board midway through the second, with Barrett Hayton getting his first goal of the season.
THIS. IS. EVERYTHING. pic.twitter.com/Ypn0uWqSjl— Arizona Coyotes (@ArizonaCoyotes) December 18, 2022
Hayton has played well this year, even if he hasn’t shown up on the score sheet. And his goal was something to watch as he forced a turnover and got in all alone on a breakaway before firing it past Craig Anderson to give the Yotes a 2-1 lead.
But that didn’t last long, with Skinner getting his second of the night four and a half minutes later. The score was tied again as the second period expired, and it would be up to whoever played better in the final frame.
That team would not be the Coyotes. Arizona took the first penalty of the period just over nine minutes in when Nick Bjugstad was sent to the box for holding. Ingram made some massive saves on the kill, but Tage Thompson got left alone at the side of the net and gave the Sabres their first lead of the game.
Arizona got the chance to tie it up on the power play almost immediately after but failed to convert. Then, a late goal from Tyson Jost with a minute and a half left all but guaranteed a Sabres win. And if that didn’t, Kyle Okposo scoring with 52 seconds left in regulation did.
Unfortunately, the Coyotes couldn’t overcome the penalties they took, ultimately falling to a power play goal. The Sabres are a high-offense team, and you can’t expect to have success when you give them five chances on the power play.
- Jeff Skiller - 2 goals and an assist
- Rasmus Dahlin - two assists
- Barrett Hayton - goal
The Coyotes will play again tomorrow against the Montréal Canadiens at 8:00 pm Arizona time.