As December rolls around the corner, the people of Arizona are finally able to go outside and enjoy some decent weather for a change; no more of those 100 degree days to cook us alive! While the temperature may be cooling off here in Arizona, the Arizona Coyotes, however, are starting to heat up. Coming off a close loss to end last weeks schedule, the Coyotes went back on the road to take on the Edmonton Oilers. Antti Raanta would remain on the Injured Reserved list so Scott Wedgewood would get the start.
The game would pretty much be back and forth with both Arizona and Edmonton trading goals. Christian Fischer would get the Coyotes on the board first to put up the Yotes 1-0. The Oilers would answer back 10 minutes later with a break away goal from Zack Kassian to tie the game at 1 a piece. That would conclude the first period. The Coyotes would get a goal in the second period from Oliver Ekman-Larsson. That would conclude the 2nd period with the Yotes up 2-1. The Oilers would tie the game in the 3rd period with a goal from the blue-line from Matt Benning. This would be the only goal in the 3rd so the game would need overtime. The Coyotes came so close to winning as they hit the goal post twice, but the Oilers would take advantage of their lucky breaks as Ryan Nugent-Hopkins would score on a break away goal to win the game for the Oilers 3-2/OT. Despite the loss, Scott Wedgewood played great and it didn’t get him down; his confidence would trail over to the next game. The Coyotes would be off to Calgary to take on the Flames.
What’s special about this game is the Coyotes facing their ex-goaltender Mike Smith. Smith was a huge part of the Coyotes as he helped them reach their only Western Conference Finals appearance. Many fans were upset to see their star-goalie go, but emotions soon turned as Smith made some rather “unsportsmanlike” comments on Sports Net Radio as he said he was looking forward to passing “to guys that can actually score.” A pretty low-blow comment to a former team. Social media fans of the Coyotes even were commenting that this game was going to be called, “Operation: Light Up Smitty.” ‘Light up’ wouldn’t exactly be the way to describe this game as Smith shutout the Coyotes and led the Flames to a 3-0 victory with goals coming from Mark Jankowski twice and Mikael Backlund. The Coyotes would return home for a matchup against the “red-hot” New Jersey Devils.
The Coyotes would get some goaltender revenge of their own as goalie Scott Wedgewood, who was a former pick from the Devils, would get another start against his former team. Something must’ve clicked with the Coyotes after getting shutout in the previous game, because the Coyotes would have some big success of their own. With a quick start, defenseman Jason Demers would get the Coyotes on the board just 34 seconds into the game. With nothing big throughout the rest of the first period, Derek Stepan would score off a rather broken play with a little chip pass from Tobias Rieder with 25 seconds left in the first period to put the Coyotes up 2-0. With 17:08 gone from the 2nd period Jordan Martinook would redirect a shot from Kevin Connauton and Zac Rinaldo to make it 3-0 Coyotes. The Devils would return with a 2 on 1 chance, but Scott Wedgewood would stand tall sliding over making the save with the tip of his right pad. The next goal would be a beauty as Anthony Duclair would race down the left wing only to sauce the pass to defenseman Alex Goligoski who would one-time the back through the legs of Andy Greene and passed goalie Keith Kinkaid to make it 4-0 Coyotes. An already exciting game, what else could to this off? How about Coyotes young-gun Dylan Strome scoring his first ever NHL goal. Even play-by-play announcer Matt McConnell was ecstatic. Scott Wedgewood would get the shutout against his former club in a 5-0 victory, the biggest game for the Yotes of the season. The Coyotes would take on the Vegas Golden Knights immediately after in Vegas.
With Antti Raanta still on the Injured Reserved list, Scott Wedgewood would get the start yet again. A new face among the group, second-year veteran defenseman Jacob Chychrun would make is season debut as he came back from an offseason knee surgery and was activated for the first time since his injury. Chychrun had an amazing rookie season and fans are excited to see him back.
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