After almost breaking the record for the worst start to an NHL season, the Arizona Coyotes seemed to turn things around as they’ve finally won some games; two to be precise. The first win came on a 4-3 overtime win against the Philadelphia Flyers in Philly on Monday. The Yotes led the entire game with a minute left in regulation, leading 3-1, but the Flyers didn’t admit defeat as they managed to slam home two quick goals in a span of 30 seconds by Jordan Weal and Sean Couturier, sending the game to overtime. Thankfully, the Coyotes hard work paid off as a nifty little “tic-tac-toe” between Max Domi, Clayton Keller, and the goal-scorer Alex Goligoski beat Flyers goaltender Brian Elliott. The Coyotes players spilled over the boards with a sigh of relief, to finally be in the win column.
The real story of the game was the newly acquired goaltender from the New Jersey Devils, Scott Wedgewood. In his Coyotes’ debut, Wedgewood posted a .903 save percentage, also stopping 28 of the 31 shots faced also including his first win as a member of the Arizona Coyotes.
After dropping the next two games, one between the Detroit Red Wings with a score of 5-3 and the next between the Buffalo Sabres 5-4, the Coyotes played on Saturday night at home to face the Carolina Hurricanes.
Some news to mention also, goaltender Antti Raanta was deemed as healthy to play and started against the Hurricanes. With a scoreless first period, it seemed that Antti Raanta was getting back to his old self again. The only goal in the second period came from Coyotes’ rookie star forward Clayton Keller as center Brad Richardson set him up on an amazing one-timer tap in goal. With the second period over, Antti Raanta was still looking sharp as ever with two scoreless periods. Alas, with 2:35 left in the 3rd period, Hurricanes’ center Jordan Staal slapped home a one-time pass from Sebastian Aho to tie the game up. Overtime was needed, but no goals were scored, which would result in the game going to a shootout.
Clayton Keller was the first shooter for the Coyotes, and good thing too, as he managed to slide one past the Canes’ goalie Scott Darling. Even head coach Rick Tocchet said in the post-game interview “The fans loved it. If I don’t put him out there first they will probably kill me.” But the Hurricanes were not done yet as Brock McGinn went top shelf on Raanta to tie the shootout at one. After previous shooter for the Coyotes’ Oliver Ekman-Larsson was stopped, Derek Stepan had the game on his stick to once again take the lead, with a dangle here and there, Stepan back handed one 5-hole on Darling, to give the Coyotes the lead once more. With the final shooter for the Hurricanes in Derek Ryan, Antti Raanta came up big stopping Ryan stick-side to give the Coyotes the win. Raanta even charged away from the net to celebrate with a one-knee slide out of excitement as he met his teammates at center ice for the congratulations.
Despite it only being two wins and the Coyotes still sitting on a 2-12-1 record, this is sure to spark some confidence in Antti Raanta and the entire Coyotes team to possibly crawl out of the whole they are in, but Clayton Keller still seems to be the man in the spotlight. He was even awarded the NHL’s October Rookie of the Month as he posted 9 goals, 6 assists, and 15 points overall, another thing to take note of: he’s only 19! Could he be the next Patrick Kane? With stats like that at only 19 years of age, you better believe it!
The next game for the Coyotes is going to be against the Washington Capitals on Monday in D.C.
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