The Coyotes knew they would need to provide solid support to fairly inexperienced goalkeeper Adin Hill during Tuesday night’s game in Sunrise, Florida, and support him they did!
Before a sparse crowd in Sunrise, Florida, the Coyotes were on their front skates and leaning forward in an impressive performance against the Florida Panthers on Tuesday night. The ‘Yotes played tight defense and made it a point to move as 5-man units, giving the home town boys very little room to maneuver.
That pre-planned tactic was critical in shutting down Florida’s big guns, and the shorter shifts (and thus more energy) helped the desert dogs kill the only penalty assessed in period one.
It was fun to watch the Coyotes’ attackers come back into the “D” zone to help their defensemen protect the house and then move forward when needed, keeping constant pressure on the highly-skilled and dangerous Panthers’ forwards.
The Coyotes began the second period with some sloppy, unnerving play, and they only survived the first few minutes because of the ‘Yotes’ forwards helping the “D” via some effective backchecking. It appeared as though the ice was slanted in the Panthers’ favor for the first 6 or 7 minutes, and the ice started opening up for the swarming Panthers.
The Coyotes knew they couldn’t afford to have the game devolve into a track meet because the Panthers’ love to play a speedy north and south style. Two turnovers, however, resulted in two quick goals by the Floridians in the second period.
Fortunately for the visitors, Captain OEL scored to tie the game on a rocket from the goalie’s right, and then Taylor Hall put the Coyotes ahead 3 to 2 on a power play-related, net-seeking missile from the circle on goalkeeper Chris Driedger’s left side. Darn good shootin’ boys!
The Coyotes had to successfully finish killing a penalty at the beginning of the third period, and they did so. Then they faced a barrage of shots from the Panthers early on, and again the ice seemed slanted in Florida’s favor. The Coyotes maintained their composure, however, kept playing using short shifts, and ultimately scored the 4th goal late in the third period. Lawson Crouse, who hit the post twice on two earlier shots, scored an empty-netd goal on a generous feed and assist by Phil Kessel.
The performance against the talented Panthers was an outstanding one by the Coyotes, back to front. Adin Hill was able to settle in early and developed a comfortable rhythm in front of his blue liners and forwards alike. It was truly a team effort, and the Coyotes coaching staff had the boys well-prepared.
Kudos to the boys in white tonight, and on to Tampa Bay. Let’s go Coyotes!