Swimming is exactly what goalie Thomas Greiss was doing Saturday night, as he got the start in an attempt to jump start the struggling Coyotes team.
It started on a positive note with Lauri Korpikoski putting his own rebound past Hiller far post and in. Supporters of the back up goalie felt vindicated by the early play resulting in a 1-0 lead by the Desert Dawgs. Unfortunately the defense was again less than spectacular and Greiss wasn’t steady enough in net. Swimming around the crease in a feeble attempt to stop the puck, a greasy dribbler squirted by to tie the score at 1. It would be a theme for the first half of the game as it appeared Greiss was as excited as a puppy with his first toy and couldn’t hold still creating wide open opportunities that the Ducks couldn’t help but score on. End of 1 scored still all tied.
The second period would spell doom for the ‘Yotes as they squandered an early power play goal and instead of gaining momentum they watched Greiss let a shot squirt through the five hole and just like that the life seemed sucked out of the building and definitely the fragile Coyotes. It was a clean shot easily seen. In baseball it would be like an infielder letting the ball get under the glove while having another glove and a bat to try and stop it with giant gloves around your thighs and ankles. Very soft goal that cannot be blamed on anyone but the backup goal minder. I didn’t agree but was ok with the decision to sit Smitty. I felt if anything the rest of the team should realize THEY benched Mike Smith with the subpar play on both ends of the ice.
The end seemed near as the 3rd Anaheim goal zipped past Greiss who saw the entire play and watched the puck pass from behind net for a blast top shelf in which Greiss never reacted until the puck was tickling the twine behind him. This is when he should have been pulled. The soft one appeared to rattle him and he didn’t even flinch. What is equally disturbing is you had 2 Ducks and 4 Coyotes set in position all puck watching as a pass came unmolested to the tape of Penner and no one touched him as they watched the Sportscenter highlight up close and personal. This is disturbing on every level. We aren’t physical enough and let the opposition run a muck freely without prejudice.
The 4th goal given up started with another poor offensive zone opportunity. Not exactly the turnovers that have doomed us lately. But Ribeiro and his fancy moves gave up the puck and you saw it all unravel from there. On the other end you saw Anaheim’s first line look like Olympic figure skaters moving freely with grace in and out of the crease. They move with skill and purpose. Who knows if Greiss had stayed in net if a save would of been made. Again he overreacted and went swimming all around the painted area floundering like a fish out of water. 4-1 Ducks and the hook was out and Mike Smith was in. Half the game and Greiss was done giving up 4 goals on 19 shots.
In the 3rd period it was all about pride moving forward. Again we did nothing on offense and found ourselves in the box on a silly penalty. Hooking by Klinkhammer sent us to the disadvantage down 3 goals. Mike Smith played well in his half of the game and looked good in and out of the net handling the puck, poke checking, and staying still in the face of danger. Not even he could stop a hard pass to his backdoor put in by a Duck who seemed like he was invisible as no defense was in sight and bang bang 5-1. Smitty didn’t have a chance on this goal at all. I am no Smitty apologist. If we had a top notch goalie signed or traded for I would be in favor of it. Our goalies are not the issue in my opinion.
Our boys didn’t quit and after a less than entertaining fight by Klesla we managed to score a few late goals including a 2 man advantage. My question is why did it take a 5-1 deficit and 2 goalies to get upset. I expect us to be fighting each other at this point. I want Doan to punch Connor Murphy sometimes. I want Smitty to 2 hand slash Yandle after a turnover. Where is the PASSION! Someone has to say enough is enough.
5-3 is the final and it really felt like we saw a breaking point for this team. Either they will find something on the road or the locker room is lost and we need to make moves looking toward next season. Not many would care if Mike Smith, Ribeiro, Yandle, or many others would traded. Right now it seems the only untouchables are Doan and Ollie in the eyes of the franchise. Even the reliable Hanzal is drawing criticism. In the end it is not any goalie’s fault. It is a total team failure. I am not at the point of blaming the coaching staff. I do question why the GM Maloney hasn’t fired a few shots across the bow. Send someone down or trade someone. Light a fire.
Until we can get some momentum our Howl will be but a whimper. Let’s try fans….Everybody……Howl? Oww owww ouch.