Pulling away with a lead is something the Coyotes haven’t done a lot this season. In fact, one of the last times they were able to pull that off may have been on December 31st, New Year’s Eve, against the Edmonton Oilers. Which makes sense why last night they were able to put one away. It seems, for whatever reason that the Phoenix Coyotes have Edmonton’s number. And at a crucial point in the season like this, where every loss puts them farther behind the Vancouver Canucks and the Minnesota Wild, any and every W is needed.
Like their performance of late or not (I clearly do not as evidenced by my recent RANT) the team is still in contention for a Wildcard spot. Right now they’re only one game behind the Wild and two behind Vancouver. And the way Vancouver has been playing lately it seems they could implode and start tumbling downhill faster than an opening puck drop brawl.
I for one, would be slightly blown away to see our boys in the playoffs. And even though I’ve aired some ugly worries about how they’ve handled recent games, I assure you my blood still bleeds Coyote Red. In fact, imagine the possibilities if a team searching for their chemistry were to suddenly find it in the Post Season. It wouldn’t be the first time and it could just make the Yotes a deadly contender for the Stanley Cup.
But I digress. A win can sure get my mind going. Let’s look at the tape for a scoring RECAP.
1st Period: With Hanzal healthy the Coyotes were looking to capitalize early and they did.
- Boedker notches number 15 after Yandle nabs a loose puck and feeds it down ice. 1-0 Coyotes.
- Hanzal reminds us why we missed him when he hands Vrbata the puck and it’s snapped in on a Power Play. 2-0 Coyotes.
- Morris gets an assist off a backhand from Halpern. Morris made it 3-0 just under 2:00 left in the period. 3-0 Coyotes.
2nd Period: After an impressive 1st the Coyotes must protect their lead.
- Ribiero puts one in off a shot from Moss just after keeping the Pilers out of the net after a PK. 4-0 Coyotes.
- Oilers Hendricks redirects a shot from Gordon after a face off. 4-1 Coyotes.
3rd Period: Things get hairy but the Coyotes manage to do their job and keep the Oilers contained.
- Oilers Perron asks no one to cry for him with some fancy stick work. He puts another past Smitty. 4-2 Coyotes.
- Edmonton’s Nugent-Hopkins of Edmonton pots one in after a feed from his teammate Eberle. 4-3 Coyotes.
And that’s where it ended. A few moments of breathless hockey and the Coyotes were mean enough and stubborn enough to get away with a win. Let’s hope this is a sign of things to come. Until next time, stay ornery Arizona.