The Arizona Coyotes lost the game but gained some self-respect in their tilt against the red-hot, swarming Minnesota Wild.
The Arizona Coyotes and the Minnesota Wild are moving along opposite paths. While the Wild have now won 5 games in a row, the Desert Dogs have lost 3 straight. The Wild move on to Colorado for a two-game set with the Avalanche, and the Coyotes are on to sunny Southern California to play the Anaheim Ducks.
Based upon the funk that the Yotes are in, there’s no such thing as an easy game, and the fact that the Ducks were beaten 8 to 4 by the Avalanche last night after leading 4 to 2 in the first period will put them in a very foul (fowl?) mood.
Due to an injury to Antti Raanta, goalkeeper Adin Hill started in goal for the Arizona Coyotes on Tuesday night, and it didn’t take long for him to come under fire. At 1:37 of the first period, Ryan Hartman scored after gaining possession of the puck following a poor shot taken by Jordan Greenway. The game was a physical one, but not overly so until 10:48 of the first period.
It was then that Carson Soucy decided to take a run at Conor Garland, as apparently it was his turn to do so. He skated over to Garland, left his feet, and crushed Number 83 against the boards in the Yotes’ “O” zone. Garland left the ice, bleeding from his nose and mouth, and didn’t return in the period. Soucy was issued a 5-minute major penalty for elbowing, but was not ejected.
At 15:58, shortly after Soucy was spit out of the penalty box, Lawson Crouse confronted the perpetrator near the Wild’s bench and wanted to chat – NOT! Crouse pounded Mr. Soucy with a series of left jabs, which was a welcome sight to see from a Coyotes fans’ perspective. Crouse became an instant celebrity for taking overt action in defending one of his teammates. To many, it was long, long overdue.
Crouse was assessed an instigator penalty and a game misconduct, and was tossed. Coyotes players and fans alike were nevertheless proud of him, not necessarily for his fisticuffs (well, some were), but rather for sending a message to others that physically abusing Conor Garland, Clayton Keller, or anyone else would no longer be tolerated. I bet that many folks would gladly help pay Crouse’s fine if one were assessed.
Although the Coyotes lost for the third time in three games to the Minnesota Wild and their task becomes even tougher as they move on to California, there was an odd sense of relief, almost satisfaction, after the game. It seemed as if there was a glimmer of hope that the emotion displayed by Lawson Crouse would carry over in a positive sense to the games at Anaheim.
Only time will tell, but did Crouse’s actions represent a catharsis of sorts, helping rid the Coyotes of some mental demons? Let’s go Coyotes!