The Coyotes took care of their on-ice business on Tuesday night, defeating the Oilers 3 to 0. It was a refreshing reminder of what they can accomplish when focused and playing to their strengths.
What a wonderful and surprising sight it was to see the Arizona Coyotes rise from their collective lethargy on Tuesday night. Maybe players-only meetings and collective soul-searching gatherings DO have an impact on the psyches and the performances of the men on the roster!
Regardless, the ‘Yotes were swarming throughout the game and it seemed as if they had 7 skaters on the ice at times. That big zero, yep I said it, the humongous goose egg on the Edmonton side of the scoreboard was certainly unanticipated, but what the heck, we’ll take it! Folks up Edmonton way don’t see that very often, that’s for sure!
Perhaps those pesky and talent-laden Edmonton Oilers assumed that they had a victory wrapped up merely by their offensive reputation. After all, they have Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl, and the Coyotes have, well, they don’t have McDavid and Draisaitl.
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No problem, however, because the dynamic duo were basically invisible Tuesday night except for when the Coyotes’ Russian defender, um, he wears #46, oh yes Ilya Lyubushkin helped Leon Draisaitl to his seat on the ice. Boom – welcome to Glendale Leon!
The Coyotes were pretty much able to effectively keep the high-powered Edmonton attackers to the wings. As a result, the Oilers’ attacks didn’t last long and were routinely neutralized, often resulting in the ‘Yotes counterattacking in numbers off the rush and cycling down low, giving the Edmonton blue liners problems.
There is renewed hope that, based upon the overwhelming success achieved on Tuesday night, the Coyotes can carry over their mojo into Thursday night’s game against the Carolina Hurricanes. Antti Raanta has played two good games recently, and the defense, even without Captain OEL and Jason Demers, has played more tightly organized of late.
With Conor Garland and Taylor Hall evolving as the Coyotes’ very own version of a legitimate, dangerous scoring tandem, things are starting to trend upward. Lawson Crouse, Christian Dvorak, et al are complementing the other forwards by playing on both ends of the ice, and it’s contagious. Once Nick Schmaltz and Vinnie Hinostroza get hot again, they may actually rub off on Clayton Keller and Phil Kessel.
For the time being, the Coyotes have stepped back from the precipice of irrelevancy. A convincing win against the Hurricanes may be exactly what they need before they venture out of town for their next four games. A couple victories while on the road would bring the dormant Desert Dogs back into the fray, and into the thick of the playoff race. Let’s go Coyotes!