Chad Johnson got his first career shutout win over Nashville Monday night in our first overall complete game of the early season.
Finally we got the all around performance we had been craving. Even better than the rout of Columbus. This felt like a must win and the Coyotes clicked on all cylinders.
First of all Chad Johnson played really well and stopped everything sent his way including a few that looked to be sure goals. With his parents and twin brother watching in the stand he sparked a struggling defense that had allowed the most goals in the league. Like a back up QB a change needed to be made. Antoine Vermette took some pressure off with a sweetly place wrister to beat the Vezina finalist Pekka Rinne early in the 1st period. Pretty much all the action in a grind it out opening stanza that also had Chupacabra Kyle Chipchura pummel Richard Clune and Nashville never got off the ground to fight back.
The Predators on their 4th game of a seven game road trip can’t help when the Coyotes are playing suffocating defense. Stick were on the ice, skaters were blocking, pulling, and playing “Hockey the Hard Way” once again. Korpiskoski broke the tension of the huge next goal late 2nd to give the Yotes breathing room. Nick Johnson added a goal to go with his assist and Keith Yandle added the cherry on top to go with his 2 assist game. Keith’s nest game this season.
Coyotes fans, all 8,500 who decided to show on this rainy Monday night were treated to a delightful complete team win that gives us hope moving forward. The Oilers come into town Wednesday and if the Coyotes can get a point or two we will be right back in the “Hunt” leading into a weekend back to back with Dallas starting Friday.
Bad news for the Coyotes is Mike Smith was sent to IR retroactive to the game he left only 9 mins in. Good news is he will be able to return Friday against the Stars. Smitty participated in the skate this morning and thinks he will be ready to stretch out the groin he slightly pulled. My thoughts are he should start Saturday at home against the Stars which would give him another day to ease back as well as some home cookin’ to push his psyche to the right side of the force. If so you can let the vet LaBarbera return from his rest to battle on the road. If Smitty goes Friday I would have Johnson (if he is still with the team and not on his way back to Portland) get the start at home to ride the wave of momentum he created tonight.
Oilers arrive Wednesday for a 7:30 puck dropping. Fans NEED to show up early and fill the joint as it may be the game where the bean counters and Jamison announce the deal with the NHL is finished and the cloud can leave the top of Jobing.com for good.