The Arizona Coyotes had to take the ice shortly after the news arrived that Martin Hanzal had been traded. They were sluggish in the early going, but found their sea legs late in the contest.
The Arizona Coyotes no longer have #11 lining up against other team’s top centers.
For one night at least, they made due.
For two periods, they struggled to muster offense and Louis Domingue had some early struggles. The third period was a different story, however.
Nearly seven minutes later, Jamie McGinn found a loose puck in front of the Sabres net and put it home for his 100th career goal. 2-2.
Surprisingly, the Yotes weren’t quite done.
Louis Domingue held off Buffalo down the stretch and then Radim Vrbata scored a seeing-eye shot past Anders Nilsson with 18.9 seconds left in the third.
The Arizona Coyotes win, 3-2!
Arizona Coyotes Player of the Game
Radim Vrbata put points on the board in his ninth straight game, extending his career high. He’s been a revelation in the desert again this season, and it’s a shame for both Vrby and Hanzal both that the team around them hasn’t performed better.
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That may well be Vrbata’s last goal as a Coyote this season. We don’t know yet. But if it was, it was a hell of a way to go out.
The View From The 200 Level
What a day for the Yotes and their fans.
Martin Hanzal has been much maligned by the fanbase, but he will most certainly be missed over the final few weeks of this season. Things are likely to get very rough, but such is the cost of protecting your future when the present is a shambles.
Early on in tonight’s game it seemed like Louis Domingue might continue to fall apart in net. Thankfully he steadied himself and was solid, particularly in the third period, and he was a big part of why the Yotes pulled out a victory.
Seeing both McGinn and Domi score should put smiles on faces. Both have been pretty dry on goals when they’ve been on the ice this season, and the only hope the team has of being even semi-competitive through the rest of this season will rest on guys like these getting hot and carrying the load.
The trade deadline is Wednesday, March 1st and we may soon see a team that is also minus names like Vrbata and Anthony Duclair, if the rumors are to be believed.
Hold on tight. Things could continue to be crazy for a while yet.