Florida did a great job capitalizing on the Coyotes’ mistakes, and it started early. Just over a minute in, a turnover in the Coyotes’ zone led to Matthew Tkachuk scoring his first of three, and it was clear it was going to be that kind of night.
Unfortunately, defensive zone turnovers and an inability to clear the puck would be consistent problems for the Coyotes. We saw something similar happen ten minutes after Tkachuk opened up the scoring, with Eric Staal getting his fifth of the season after another costly Coyotes’ turnover.
The Coyotes’ defense could have been better on both goals, but Karel Vejmelka likely wants to have both of them back. Either way, the Coyotes had dug themselves into a deep hole and were down 2-0 11 minutes and 21 seconds into the game.
But the Coyotes were not about to go down without a fight, and they did start to push back as the period went along. That culminated in the Coyotes getting a late power play when Aaron Ekblad was sent to the box for holding with 40 seconds left.
It was a perfect chance for the Coyotes to finish the period strong and make the Panthers pay, and they succeeded. Clayton Keller found a streaking Jakob Chychrun, who redirected the pass past Spencer Knight, cutting the Panthers’ lead in half.
Snuck it in right before the buzzer pic.twitter.com/IGI2XEfv48— Arizona Coyotes (@ArizonaCoyotes) January 4, 2023
With one period in the book, the Coyotes came out strong and kept up the pressure. And it didn’t take long for the Yotes to tie things up, with Clayton Keller getting his 14th of the season just over five minutes in with a nifty backhand shot.
THAT BACKHANDER THOUGH pic.twitter.com/sgok7SBuF6— Arizona Coyotes (@ArizonaCoyotes) January 4, 2023
That goal woke the Panthers up, who would claw their way back. They regained their lead midway through the period, with Tkachuk getting his second of the night.
But the Coyotes still had one more comeback left in them. Three minutes after Tkachuk regained the lead, Nick Bjugstad redirected a J.J. Moser shot, tying the game at three.
But the rest of the period was all Florida. Eric Staal got his second of the game two minutes later, and Matthew Tkachuk completed the hat-trick on a late power play. The Coyotes were in a deep hole heading into the third, and after outshooting the Panthers 12-8 in the first, they were outshot 20-10 in the second.
Unfortunately, that didn’t happen. Arizona had a good third period, but more was needed from a team down by two.
Things started poorly with an early Coyotes penalty. Nick Bjugstad was sent to the box just over three minutes in, and the Panthers had their second power play.
The Yotes managed to kill that one, but they couldn’t build momentum off of the kill. Midway through the final frame, they got their second chance on the power play when some pushing and shoving after a Shayne Gostisbehere hit saw Ghost, Matthew Tkachuk, and Radko Gudas all sent to the box, but the Coyotes couldn’t capitalize. It was like that for the rest of the period, and the score ended 5-3.
The Coyotes did an excellent job at limiting their penalties and coming back from deficits, but they made too many little mistakes. And while the Panthers didn’t play a perfect game, they did a great job at capitalizing on their chances and making the Coyotes pay whenever they made mistakes.
Ready for some hockey. pic.twitter.com/u7LdwL4mTt— Arizona Coyotes (@ArizonaCoyotes) January 3, 2023
- Matthew Tkachuk - Three goals and an assist
- Eric Staal - Two goals
- Clayton Keller - Goal and an assist
Arizona will be back in action on Thursday against the Philadelphia Flyers at 5:00 pm Arizona time.