With a disappointing start to the season; after going 0-10-1 in their first 11 games, the Coyotes are starting to mold and shape together, which has resulted in them compiling win after win. Here’s a look at weekly recap:
To start off the week, after coming off a 2-0 shut out win against the Anaheim Ducks, the Coyotes were immediately back to work the next day against the Vancouver Canucks. Newly acquired goaltender Darcy Kuemper would get his first start as a member of the Yotes after being traded from the LA Kings for Tobias Rieder and Scott Wedgewood. The game started off with the Coyotes’ beautiful passing as it led to a goal from Nick Cousins, but was immediately waved off as Brad Richardson was called for goalie interference; this would also result in a penalty to Richardson, so the Canucks would go to the powerplay where their passing would lead to a goal from Daniel Sedin to give the Canucks a 1-0 lead. No scoring would occur until the 3rd period where the Coyotes would get a powerplay goal of their own as Alex Goligoski put home a juicy rebound to tie the game at 1, but Daniel Sedin would get a redirected goal just 2 minutes later to make it 2-1. The Coyotes would go back to the powerplay, but Brandon Sutter would head the other way with Darren Archibald with a 2 on 1 where Archibald would score a short-handed goal to make it 3-1 Canucks late in the third. That would conclude this game. A pretty disappointing debut for Kuemper, but the optimistic side of this is Raanta would be rested and ready to go for their next outing which would be four days later against the Minnesota Wild.
The Wild are among the many teams that are fighting for a playoff spot, so the Coyotes were anticipating a hard-fought battle. The game started off with a slow first period until 15 minutes where the Coyotes were guilty of a penalty, but couldn’t gain possession of the puck, so Minnesota would pull the goalie and have a one-man advantage, where Zach Parise would come in late on the play to one-time a goal past Antti Raanta to give the Wild a 1-0 lead. That would conclude the 1st period, but the 2nd period would begin to pick up as the Coyotes would take advantage of a powerplay and score with a goal from Jacob Chychrun to tie the game at 1. That would be the end of the 2nd. The 3rd period was a momentum changer as the teams began trading goals; Christian Dvorak would put home a rebound from a shot from Christian Fischer and Max Domi to make it 2-1 Coyotes. The Wild would take advantage of a powerplay of their own where Mikko Koivu would skate into the goal crease and shoot one top shelf on Raanta to tie the game at 2. The Coyotes would go back the other way as Oliver Ekman-Larsson would saucer-pass one to Richard Panik where he one-timed the puck in for a 3-2 lead. Max Domi then would skate into the zone where he also saucer-passed one to Kevin Connauton where he would score once again to make it 4-2 Coyotes, but the Wild wouldn’t admit defeat, as Matt Cullen poked one in for a goal as Raanta thought he stopped it. The game would be 4-3. Minnesota would have to pull their goalie and a lucky play where Jordan Martinook would bounce one off the glass and all the way down the ice for an empty-net goal to secure a 5-3 Coyotes win. Wild head coach Bruce Boudreau stated about the Coyotes that, “once they get ahead or tied, they start to believe. I think they’re a lot better of a team than their record shows.” The Coyotes would be back at it again on Saturday to face the struggling Ottawa Senators.
The game got off to a quick start as Jean-Gabriel Pageau would redirect a goal just 3 minutes in for an early 1-0 Ottawa lead. The Coyotes would eventually respond with a little over a minute left in the 1st period as Oliver Ekman-Larsson would skate into the play and snipe one past Mike Condon to tie the game at 1. By the 2nd period, Jordan Martinook would snap one home with a pass from behind the net from Brad Richardson to make it a 2-1 Coyotes lead. The rest would be a goalie face off as the net-minders stopped the remaining shots in the game. The Coyotes would win 2-1 and their home stand record would go to 8-2-1 in their last 11 games now. Antti Raanta even ranks 2nd in goals against average (GAA) with a 2.09 GAA and 1st in save percentage with a .934% in the NHL. An impressive stat for the Coyotes as a whole. Even Tyson Nash commented on the Coyotes recent success as he stated: “This is a completely different team.” Tyson’s statement is proving to become a valid point.
The Coyotes still sit at the bottom of the league, but are now closing in behind the Buffalo Sabres as they sit 1 point behind them. They begin their road trip as they head off to Edmonton.
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