Nobody had high hopes for tonight’s game. The Arizona Coyotes had dropped their last five, while the Colorado Avalanche were riding a ten-game winning streak. The Avalanche are comfortably on top of the Central Division, while the Coyotes have spent all season at the bottom. But despite falling behind twice, the Coyotes were able to force the game into the shootout and walk away the victors, having beaten the Avalanche 3-2.
Things started pretty slow tonight, with neither team able to get much of a footing. The Coyotes had an early power play just over five minutes into the period but failed to register a shot on goal with the man advantage.
Midway through the period, despite plenty of offensive zone time for both teams, the shots were still 1-1. However, the Avalanche were starting to build up speed, even if the scoresheet showed an even game.
Things got a little crazy late in the opening frame, and we saw a flurry of penalties for both teams, although more on the Coyotes. Arizona went from being down a man playing to 4-on-4. Then 4-on-3 before eventually giving the Avalanche a two-man advantage for close to two minutes. Neither team was able to score, and the first period ended tied 0-0.
The multiple power plays had given the Avalanche all the momentum, and they carried that into the second period.
Early in the second period, Nazem Kadri stole the puck from Christian Fischer in the corner and went hard to the net. Kadri stretched out goaltender Scott Wedgewood and fired it top shelf to give the Avalanche an early lead.
The Coyotes responded to being down 1-0 by immediately taking a penalty, with Lawson Crouse going off for holding less than a minute later. The Coyotes killed the penalty, but it wasn’t doing much for their momentum.
Thankfully, the Coyotes did start to come back midway through the period. And it didn’t take long for the Desert Dogs to get rewarded.
Immediately after their best shift of the game, the Coyotes had regained zone, and Clayton Keller had the puck down low. Keller passed the puck cross-ice to Ilya Lybushkin, who found a wide-open Alex Galchenyuk who backhanded the puck on net, scoring his first of the season.
take a shower Gally that was dirty. pic.twitter.com/mvhAmNRTSv— Arizona Coyotes (@ArizonaCoyotes) February 2, 2022
Galchenyuk had a few good looks throughout the game, and it was great to see him recorded with his first goal of the year. He has gone up and down the roster, but he played well with Keller and Nick Schmaltz, and although if it was good enough to earn a permanent spot remains to be seen.
The goal gave the Coyotes a shot in the arm, and they looked much better as the period continued.
Unfortunately, the Coyotes got caught up high late in the period, and the Avalanche brought the puck back on a 3-on-2. Mikko Rantanen netted his 24th of the season on the play, and the Avalanche had regained the lead with 43 seconds left in the second.
The Coyotes would need to have a big third period if they were going to tie it up. Not only did the Desert Dogs need someone to find the equalizer, Scott Wedgewood would also need to stand on his head for another twenty minutes.
Arizona played well in the final frame, and they were getting plenty of offensive zone time. But unfortunately, the Colorado Avalanche were doing a good job limiting the Coyotes’ shots and keeping them from playing too aggressively. Anytime a Coyotes player dropped low, you could expect an odd-man rush the other way.
After a late push from Colorado, Wedgewood finally got to the bench, and the Coyotes went to work. And with less than a minute left in regulation, Jakob Chychrun fired the puck on net, and the rebound went up into the air. Lawson Crouse was posted in front of the net and knocked in the rebound, tying the game with just 37.6 seconds left.
Crouse had been buzzing all game and made his presence felt on and off the puck. Crouse tied the game with that one shot, and we were headed to overtime.
The Coyotes had regained some energy going into overtime, and they played well. Arizona would get a power play midway through overtime but failed to convert with the final man advantage, and the game went to the shootout.
The Coyotes elected to have Nick Schmaltz, Alex Galchenyuk, and Clayton Keller go in the shootout, with Galchenyuk scoring the lone goal for the Coyotes.
Gabriel Landeskog and Mikko Rantanen would both miss for the Avalanche, and Scott Wedgewood stopped Nazem Kadri from pushing it to round four.
It was far from a perfect game and one the Coyotes probably don’t want to replicate. But how they won doesn’t matter, the Coyotes ended their five-game losing streak and came back twice to beat one of the best teams in the NHL.
- Alex Galchenyuk - Goal and shootout winner
- Scott Wedgewood - 38 saves on 40 shots
- Lawson Crouse - Goal
The Arizona Coyotes will be back in action tomorrow as they host the visiting Calgary Flames at 7:30 pm Arizona time.