After some brief rest and a bit of practice time, the Arizona Coyotes took a deep breath, refocused their efforts, and left Columbus with a well-earned win.
Two objectives were met in the first period of the Arizona Coyotes’ win against the host Columbus Blue Jackets. Clayton Keller scored the first goal of the game, and it was on a Coyotes’ power play.
Hopefully, that will boost Keller’s personal confidence moving forward, as well as the collective confidence of the power-play unit as the team moves on to Philadelphia to play the Flyers on Thursday night.
There’s something to be said about a team’s move away from friendly confines that allows them to focus on their jobs minus the distractions. The Coyotes played a more structured and simple game against the Blue Jackets, and that was a good thing.
The pace of the game was incredibly fast, and the ‘Yotes made a concerted effort to push the play out of their “D” zone and through center ice with aggressiveness and intensity. Those rushes from back to front are part of the team’s DNA, and they cause major problems for the opposition when the Coyotes effectively break out as a five-man unit.
Head Coach Rick Tocchet stresses the need for accountability, and if every player on the ice does his job, it makes it easier on the team to achieve their collective goals. A fast-paced game will normally favor the swift and skillful desert dogs, and taking responsibility on both ends of the rink will continue to reap dividends for the ‘Yotes as they get deeper into the season.
The reality is that the Coyotes’ blue-collar style of hockey is the only way this particular roster can achieve great results going forward. A lack of superstars doesn’t doom the club, as we’ve already seen this year. The Arizona Coyotes have played damn good hockey against premier teams like Edmonton, Washington, and St. Louis early on, and there’s no reason why it can’t continue against good teams like Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and Florida as long as it plays consistent and disciplined hockey.
Despite the fact that some of the Coyotes’ goal scorers have gotten off to slow starts, the club has been able to achieve good results because of others on the team. Talented youngsters Jakob Chychrun, Nick Schmaltz, Conor Garland, Lawson Crouse, Christian Fischer, Christian Dvorak, and Vinnie Hinostroza have made significant contributions. They represent not only the present team but are the core of a club with a very promising future. One game at a time boys, and it’s on to Philly! Let’s go Coyotes!