The Arizona Coyotes beat the Ottawa Senators today in what has to be one of the craziest games I’ve seen in the 11 years I’ve been writing for Five For Howling. If nothing else, it broke records from before I started writing on FFH.
It didn’t take long for things to get crazy. The Coyotes went to the power play just over four minutes in when Nikita Zaitsev was called for holdings. Almost immediately, you could tell this wasn’t going to be a standard Coyotes’ game.
Arizona won the opening draw, and Shayne Gostisbehere picked up the puck and fired it from the point. The puck hit a few bodies in front of the net, and Nick Schmaltz recovered and backhanded it past Matt Murray to give the Coyotes an early 1-0 lead.
The Coyotes do not have a good power play, and the Senators have a surprisingly solid penalty kill, but somehow the Coyotes were able to find success with the man advantage. And it wouldn’t be the only goal of the night. After giving up the early goal, Ottawa pushed back. But, unfortunately, Arizona didn’t do themselves any favors when Phil Kessel was called for tripping less than two minutes after they got on the board.
But the Coyotes survived the Ottawa power play and the next few minutes, thanks to the solid play of Scott Wedgewood. Wedgie made some big saves in the opening frame, and the Coyotes maintained their lead.
Arizona continued to bend, but they did not break. Ottawa had a few good looks, but the Coyotes had the lead and weren’t about to give up yet.
The Coyotes didn’t take long to double their lead when midway through the period, Clayton Keller collected the puck behind the goal line and passed it up to Nick Schmaltz in front of the net. Schmaltz’s shot bounced off Murray up to Shayne Gostisbehere, who was able to find a wide-open Keller to knock it home.
right place, right time. pic.twitter.com/MvMARz4a30— Arizona Coyotes (@ArizonaCoyotes) March 5, 2022
The first period ended with Austin Watson and Lawson Crouse dropping the gloves, with Watson getting an extra two minutes for interference. The Coyotes would finish the opening frame with 1:18 left of power play time, but the physicality would continue.
Things only got crazier in the second period, although it still felt very Coyotes. Nick Schmaltz started the action when he got his second of the night and third point less than three minutes into the period.
It was a broken play for the Senators, and an errant pass ended up bouncing off a skate in front of the Ottawa net. Schmaltz collected the stray puck, went hard to the net, and fired it home.
y'all guessed Schmaltzy, right? pic.twitter.com/lFyBkcLrfc— Arizona Coyotes (@ArizonaCoyotes) March 5, 2022
For the moment, it was all Coyotes. Arizona continued to apply pressure and was rewarded again midway through the period, with Matias Maccelli getting his first NHL goal in his second game.
The goal started with Phil Kessel finding coming in and firing the puck. Murray made the initial save, but Maccelli picked up the rebound and fired it past him to make it 4-0 Coyotes.
The Coyotes were up 4-0, but the game was far from over. It was like a professional wrestling match; midway through the game, the music played, and the second-period collapse ran down the ramp.
Over 2 minutes and 12 seconds, the Ottawa Senators would score three goals to make the game 4-3. Parker Kelly started the second-period scoring, Josh Norris got his 19th of the season when Christian Fischer took the lone penalty of the second period, and Parker Kelly finished with his second of the night.
Arizona started the period with a 2-0 lead. Then, they doubled that to a 4-0 lead at one point. But in just over two minutes, the Senators were back to within one.
But the troubles did not start when the puck dropped for the third period. Two minutes into the period, the Senators added another two goals, with Alex Formenton getting his 12th of the season and Nick Paul getting his 10th.
It was a collapse for the record books, five unanswered goals allowed after scoring four. But it didn’t take long for the Coyotes to turn things back around and take control of the situation.
Clayton Keller started the comeback with his second goal of the night and 23rd of the season. Matt Murray had come out to play the puck behind the net, only to see Nick Schmaltz steal it and pass it up to a wide-open Keller. Keller scored one of the easiest goals of his career, and suddenly it was a tie game.
gorgeous, gorgeous goals go in the net. pic.twitter.com/zuutaouGeP— Arizona Coyotes (@ArizonaCoyotes) March 5, 2022
Just over two minutes later, the Senators’ downfall when Nick Paul fired the puck over the glass and was given a two-minute penalty for delay of game.
Midway through the power play, Schmaltz sent the puck deep, and Clayton Keller was the first to reach it. Keller got the puck back to Schmaltz, who sent it cross-ice to a streaking Lawson Crouse, who knocked it in for his 15th of the season.
the ELEVENTH goal of this game. pic.twitter.com/fZ104qW3Ga— Arizona Coyotes (@ArizonaCoyotes) March 5, 2022
The Coyotes had learned their lesson, though, and they did not let up. Arizona didn’t take control of the period, but they were ready to make their chances count.
Arizona had been doing a good job entering the zone all game, and that didn’t change as the game continued. With just over five minutes left, Nick Schmaltz quickly brought the puck in and found a wide-open Shayne Gostisbehere, who fired it past Murray to make it 7-5.
The extra point is good! pic.twitter.com/uM3G8i7V3n— Arizona Coyotes (@ArizonaCoyotes) March 5, 2022
Considering the scoring started with Gostisbehere assisting on a Schmaltz goal, it would have been fitting to end with Schmaltz assisting on a Gostisbehere. But the Coyotes do not have time for a reflective narrative, Nick Schmaltz had only six points on the night, and he needed to set a record.
It didn’t take long either. Less than a minute and a half later, the Coyotes made it 8-5 when Keller brought the puck in and found a streaking Dysin Mayo, who fired it in for his fourth of the season.
YOU GET A GOAL.— Arizona Coyotes (@ArizonaCoyotes) March 5, 2022
YOU GET A GOAL. pic.twitter.com/Pi38Swwg4V
Recording a secondary assist on the goal was Nick Schmaltz, who found Keller before he brought it into the Ottawa zone.
That was pretty much it for the game. The Senators pulled their goalie and tried to come back, but the Coyotes weren’t about to be fooled again.
The Coyotes went from being up 4-0 to giving up five unanswered goals and going down 5-4, only to score four more unanswered goals to finish 8-5.
And the most significant part of the Coyotes’ success was Nick Schmaltz. Schmaltz set a franchise record going back to the Jets 1.0. He was also the first NHL player to have a 7+ game since 2012.
- Nick Schmaltz - 2 goals, 5 assists for a franchise record!
- Clayton Keller - 2 goals, 2 assists
- Shayne Gostisbehere - 1 goal, 3 assists
The Coyotes are heading on the road, and they will face off against the Detroit Red Wings next Tuesday at 5:30 pm.