They say that insanity is doing the same thing repeatedly and expecting different results. The Arizona Coyotes disproved that idea today. If you thought the Coyotes would get the same result playing the same way they did against the Montréal Canadiens and Ottawa Senators against the Pittsburgh Penguins, you might be insane.
Arizona had a decent start, but that didn’t last long. Early on, the Coyotes were outshooting the Penguins 5-4, but when Dysin Mayo was sent to the box for interference, things quickly changed. Mayo was called for interference at 7:58, and Arizona did not register another shot for the rest for the period.
Pittsburgh wouldn’t score on their first power play or the rest of the first period, but they did everything else. The Penguins had complete control of the game, and the first period finished with Pittsburgh outshooting the Yotes 19-5.
But after thoroughly outplaying the Coyotes, the Penguins didn’t take long to breakthrough in the second period. Kasperi Kapanen was posted on the side of the net and shot home a cross-ice pass from Jeff Carter to give the Penguins a 1-0 lead.
It felt like a long time coming, and the Penguins continued to set the game’s pace. But Scott Wedgewood continued to stand on his head and kept the Coyotes within one.
Finally, midway through the period, the Coyotes started to put together a few good shifts and make things interesting.
Midway through the game, the Coyotes finally tied things up. Anton Strålman intercepted a pass in the defensive zone and got the puck up to a streaking Clayton Keller. Keller split the Pittsburgh defenders and tucked the puck between Tristan Jarry’s legs.
Initially, it looked like it stayed out, and Nick Schmaltz crashed the net to make sure. But the puck had trickled in when Jarry closed his legs, and Keller extended his point streak to eight games.
Unfortunately, the Coyotes couldn’t get much going for the rest of the period. Arizona got their first power play three-quarters of the way through the period when Evgeni Malkin was called for goaltender interference, but the Coyotes’ couldn’t do much with the man advantage.
Things went from bad to worse as the period drew to an end. Barrett Hayton was called for hooking with a minute and a second left, and the Coyotes were on the penalty kill again. Then, with 27 seconds left in the second, Clayton Keller was sent to the box for tripping, and the Penguins were set to have a minute and half of 5-on-3.
Arizona somehow managed to kill both penalties, but they were in for an uphill climb in the final frame.
Arizona got a golden opportunity early on when Kasperi Kapanen was sent to the box for tripping, but the Coyotes failed to register a single shot on goal. More importantly, Clayton Keller did not return after getting tripped to the ice.
Arizona would have a few more chances as the period continued, but the Penguins dominated play. Pittsburgh finally broke the tie midway through the period, with Evgeni Malkin getting his 11th of the season.
Sidney Crosby must have felt left out after being held off the scoresheet, and he finally got on the board with less than four minutes left. He got his second of the afternoon two minutes later when Wedgewood was on the bench for the extra attacker.
The loss stings for the Coyotes, but it wasn’t unexpected. Solid goaltending can only get a team so far, and getting outplayed is not a recipe for success. The Coyotes have taken significant steps forward as the season has progressed but today showed they still have a long way to go.
- Evgeni Malkin - 1 goal
- Sidney Crosby - 2 goals
- Scott Wedgwood - 45 saves on 48 shots
The Coyotes will head on the road and play the San Jose Sharks tomorrow at 4:00 pm.