The Arizona Coyotes took care of business in their house and neutralized the attack of the Minnesota Wild by scoring 5 unanswered goals.
The befuddling, Jekyll and Hyde-like Arizona Coyotes took the ice on Saturday night with the intention of making a statement prior to their impending road trip. They went down 2 to 0 in the first period, however, when the Wild’s Matt Dumba scored at 5:40 of the first in a goal mouth scramble, and then at 15:12 when Jordan Greenway scored for the Wild. It appeared as if Jakob Chychrun’s positioning on the Greenway play may have screened goalkeeper Darcy Kuemper.
Before you could say “well, here we go again,” however, the tide and momentum began to turn in the Yotes’ favor. Only 1:25 into the second period, amazingly unlucky Lawson Crouse turned his fortunes around when he put a Conor Gonor rebound into the back of the net while falling forward toward the ice. Pretty no, but pretty important, yes!
That was the first goal of the season for Crouse, although several of his shots in previous games have hit posts but have not managed to cross that ever-elusive blue line. The breaking of the goalless streak for “Postman” Crouse came at a perfect time, as the Coyotes needed an early second period response in the game as much as he did personally.
At 13:32 of the period, Jakob Chychrun scored on a rocket of a shot from inside the blue line and at the top of the circles while Oliver Ekman-Larsson was getting stapled to the ice by a Wild defender. It was the puck movement by the Yotes in the “O” zone just before Chychrun’s blast that made the quality shot possible. Had Chychrun not scored, the Yotes would have been on a power play. Regardless, the game was tied at 2 apiece!
At 3:57 of the third period, Conor Garland scored a power play goal after sneaking undetected between the circles and rifling a shot past stunned goalkeeper Cam Talbot. The perfect pass was practically delivered on a gold platter by Derick Brassard from the left wing. Three unanswered goals by the Coyotes!
At 6:15 of the third period, Niklas Hjalmarsson took a shot near the blue line, and Tyler Pitlick was able to get his stick on that twine-seeking missile while standing with his back to Talbot. Incredibly enough, it became 4 to 2 Yotes!
Finally, at 19:13 of the last period, Tyler Pitlick was able to reach a puck that had bounced off the end boards and score an empty net goal. The effort displayed in that instance seems to be a trademark of Pitlick, and he is quickly becoming a fan favorite because of his hustle.
Although the Coyotes started the game relatively slowly (again), the difference as the game progressed was that they stayed the course, were aggressive on both sides of the ice, and seemed to believe and trust in what they were doing. In essence, the Desert Dogs didn’t panic, and there were contributions by everyone in one way or another. It was an enjoyable game to watch.
If the coaching staff could bottle up whatever it was that the Coyotes were able to muster from within and pour it out before every game, the Yotes would be fine. Instead, the only other option is for the team to remember what they did well on Saturday and repeat it beginning on Monday in Colorado.
We’ve just witnessed some pretty impressive hockey by the Arizona Coyotes. Let’s see if they can sustain it. Let’s go Coyotes!