The Arizona Coyotes have been off to a hot start in March, most recently taking a victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs in overtime. Last night, they visited the Boston Bruins to try to extend that streak but found themselves on the losing end of a very close 3-2 game.
The Coyotes started out very strong, taking a lot of chances early and putting a lot of pucks on net. A few defensive zone turnovers led to some Boston opportunities, but both goalies were putting in work early.
But then, when the Bruins found themselves getting some pressure after the Coyotes’ initial barrage, Craig Smith found a rebound off Vejmelka and put the second chance past the goalie to open up the scoring making it 1-0 Boston.
The period continued with some back-and-forth action and a few penalties sprinkled in for both teams. However, Boston eventually found a way to capitalize on a rebounding puck, with Craig Smith picking up his second of the game.
Unfortunately, things got worse during the second period. Jakob Chychrun fell during play and collided with Derek Forbort. After the hit, Chychrun left the game and would not return, leaving the Coyotes with five defensemen for the game.
A few minutes into the second, the Coyotes head to the power play when Trent Frederic was called for tripping. Unfortunately, the power play didn’t amount to much by the Coyotes, and it expired without much harm done.
There were decent chances for either side throughout the rest of the period, but the excitement started to pick up towards the end of the period. The Coyotes had a lot of pressure as the seconds ticked away. Clayton Keller found the puck with about one second left and ripped one past Jeremey Swayman with 0.5 seconds left to cut the lead in half.
The Coyotes would head into the dressing room only down 2-1, a huge boost to the momentum they had been building towards the end of the period.
Unfortunately, after a goal to end the second, things didn’t start great in the third. Early in the final frame, Brad Marchand found a rebound in front of the net, with a helpless Karel Vejmelka out of position, leaving a wide-open cage for an easy goal. Fortunately, J.J. Moser was on his game and got his stick extended just in time to deflect the shot high to prevent a goal.
Moser’s efforts would prove monumentally important because the same thing happened at the other end minutes later. Nick Ritchie found himself looking into a wide-open net after a rebound off of Jeremy Swayman’s pads. There was no D-man to block the shot this time, and Ritchie found the equalizer to make it a 2-2 game.
Nick Ritchie? More like Nick CLUTCHie pic.twitter.com/p3PAlEULTm— Arizona Coyotes (@ArizonaCoyotes) March 13, 2022
With about 8:00 remaining in the period, Moser headed off the bench and into the dressing room, leaving the Coyotes with only four defensemen to close out the game. He would not return.
A lot of close chances and great saves by both goalies eventually amounted to a Boston 2-on-1. Charlie Coyle put a backhander past Vejmelka, giving Boston a 3-2 lead with just over 3:00 minutes remaining.
Coyotes lacked the urgency to establish offensive control, only getting Vejmelka to the bench with about 45 seconds remaining to get the extra attacker. In those last seconds, though, the Coyotes were playing with a fire in their eyes, getting several opportunities on net, making Jeremy Swayman work for it. In the end, the Coyotes got a shot at the last second that the entire team thought was in, but the puck trickled wide.
The Bruins took the game 3-2, but it was a close game, and the Coyotes put up a great fight.
1. Craig Smith - 2 goals
2. Charlie Coyle - 1 goal, 1 assist
3. Clayton Keller - 1 goal
The Coyotes road trip continues as they cross the border and will face off against the Ottawa Senators on Monday at 4:30 Arizona Time.