He is finally back ladies and gentlemen! Niklas Hjalmarsson is back in action with the Arizona Coyotes following his injury four games into the season.
Coyotes fans know how big of a role Niklas Hjalmarsson plays on our blue line. He is the best defenseman game in and game out, and he can singlehandedly block as many shots as a goalie!
Hjalmarsson made his return last night against the Pittsburgh Penguins, and although the Coyotes didn’t win, Hjalmarsson’s fingerprints were all over the game. Although Hjalmarsson only played about 16 minutes last night the impact he made was so much more.
Hjalmarsson had two great block shots last night and managed to tally two takeaways for the Coyotes. However, his big moment came midway through the third period. Hjalmarsson stopped a puck on the boards and fired it towards the net for Derek Stepan to pick up and score. In his first game back Hjalmarsson already has one assist.
Do not get me wrong, Hjalmarsson is no scoring machine. That Coyotes defenseman is not going to light the lamp for the team, but he might just play one of the best complete games out of everyone out there.
Arizona did not get the win last night, but having Hjalmarsson back is a complete win in my eyes. Rick Tocchet and the Arizona Coyotes once talked about holding the fort for Niklas Hjalmarsson.
“We’re going to have to hold the fort for Nik.”
Coach Tocchet discusses Hjalmarsson’s injury and previews tonight’s matchup with the Jets: pic.twitter.com/ZH9A4thALo
— Arizona Coyotes (@ArizonaCoyotes) October 15, 2019
I would say the Coyotes held the fort rather well for Niklas Hjalmarsson in his absence. The team currently finds themselves in the playoffs and competing for the top spot in the Pacific Division. Not bad for a team that almost wrote off their season after losing one of their best defensemen.
Arizona is going to need Hjalmarsson and the defense a lot more moving forward. Although the ‘Yotes got a point last night in their loss to Pittsburgh, they had the lead with under 5 minutes to go in the game. They should not have given it up, then we wouldn’t have had to watch 8 rounds of shoot out hockey!