Tuesday night in Glendale started the same as it had the past few times at Jobing.com Arena. A lackluster 1st period that had fans, coaches, and even some players thinking: Are they still smarting from New Years? Pass, Pass, TURNOVER! Just another uninspired slow start.
Then all of a sudden something magical happened. Was it hustle? Maybe. Was it hard work? Sure, why not. Was it luck? It sure was. At first I didn’t even get out of my seat and clap. I thought it was played with a high stick. Then on the replay I don’t think anyone knew how the puck went in. A shoulder. Lately when it comes to Doan, nothing is clear cut. But as quickly as you could say, “I got bit by a tick!” the announcement came and it was a good goal. Ok, we’ll take it. 1-0 Coyotes. We sure have been in line for some “Puck Luck!” We weren’t finished either as Hanzal found a loose puck that came off a Flame’s calf and right on the tape with an open net waiting like a fat kid for a bowl of Rocky Road ice cream. 2-0 Fat Kids! I mean 2-0 Coyotes and now we are again up 2 goals in position to let Tippett’s system take over.
After seeing Shane Doan score his 13th of the season Boedker netted his 13th in the same period on a nice feed from Ribeiro for a mighty 3-0 lead. The rout was on and the sparatic crowd of 10,000+ stood and clapped for the struggling ‘Yotes who for one period played the Coyote hockey we all have been spoiled with. The 3rd period was much of the same as the hungry Coyotes took advantage of a tired Flames group who played the night before in Colorado. Korpikoski, Stone, and Klinkhammer tee’d off for a 6-0 Coyotes stomping of the Flames. This game was a one sided affair after a few lucky bounces. Thomas Greiss got his 2nd career shutout stopping all 27 scattered chances.
Mike Smith watched his defense play a complete game on the day he was announced to the Canadian Olympic team. Of course immediately you had a handful of novice fans screaming for Greiss to be the starter in lieu of Smitty. Let’s break things down a bit and not have such a knee-jerk reaction.
First of all, we noted the Flames were on a back-to-back and were shutout. This was the 4th time they have been shutout in the last 6 games. They are one of the worst teams in the NHL. The Coyotes were hungrier than ever coming off a pair of home losses including the return of a rusty Shane Doan and the loss of Ollie the Trolley. So let’s not compare this to game 6 vs. the Blackhawks in the playoffs.
Greiss played well but the biggest difference was no rebounds, no campers setting up shop in front of the net, and most of all we stayed out of the box. Only 2 penalty kills spread a period apart. This was a huge difference then the previous game where the opponents lived on the man advantage and owned the area in front of the net. Not only that but we had been getting outperformed on the boards the last 2 games prior to the Miracle at Jobing.com.
So if you think this game is anything more than a step in the right direction, you’re fooling yourselves. Enjoy the win, but we have work to do. Sure will be nice to have a healthy well oiled line deep squad. We need to create some more of that luck! (Preparation meets opportunity)
So going forward we need the following: Hard work on the blue line and in net. Passion for 60 mins. Aggressive offense including pinching a DEF in time to time to create a frenzy. Some traffic in front of the net on offense and clearing the traffic on defense. Smitty and Greiss in spot starts are good when they can see the puck and there are no 2nd chances.
Yandle will have a lapse here and there but I’ll take the bad with all the good he brings on offense. Smitty may give up a soft goal here and there but he has shown he can win big games and we paid him to do the job which he is more than capable of doing. Sure Greiss had a good game with good circumstances. But let’s look at the schedule and see where he had a solid start, he gave up 3-4 goals the next time out. He faced this same horrible Flames squad stopping only 14 shots and giving up 4 goals in a 4-1 loss. So if you wanna crown him, crown him. For now Good Game ‘Yotes. If they don’t come out Thursday inspired and get 2 points against Minnesota then this was just smoke in mirrors.