When you lose 11 straight games to one team, it doesn't hurt to have a little luck on your side the next time you play them. That was certainly the case in the Arizona Coyotes' 5-2 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins, their first win in 12 games against the Pens.
Leading 3-2 in the third period, the Coyotes picked up some much-needed insurance thanks to a stunning misplay by Pittsburgh stars Kris Letang and Evgeni Malkin. With Tristan Jarry out of the net on a delayed penalty, Letang passed the puck back to Malkin in order to set up a play with the extra attacker. However, Malkin awkwardly mishandled the pass, allowing the puck to dribble over the goal line, much to the delight of the Mullett Arena faithful.
As a result, Lawton Crouse got credit for his 18th goal of the season. Former Penguin Jason Zucker recorded a goal and an assist in the game, while Alex Kerfoot, Nick Bjugstad and Juuso Valimaki also scored for the Coyotes. For the recent healthy scratch Valimaki, the goal marked his first in 37 games, dating back to March 31, 2023.
In a funny bit of NHL history, Arizona became the first team to ever record a power play goal without a single shot on net with the man advantage in the game.
Thanks, in part, to Letang and Malkin's gaffe, the Coyotes have now managed to slow their recent skid with two straight wins. They currently sit two points shy of the Nashville Predators for the second wild card spot, but with two games in hand, and are set to embark on a three-game road trip that will take them through Florida and Carolina.
On the other side of the ice, the mistake made by two stalwart Penguins couldn't have come at a worse time. Already struggling, Pittsburgh has now dropped four of their last five games and sit five points out of the playoff picture and way down in seventh in the Metropolitan Division.