With a new found confidence under their belt, the Arizona Coyotes have been showing signs of growth as a group as they have found their winning ways. With the regular season coming to a close in about a month, the Coyotes are mostly focusing on developing as a group. Sitting at a 21-35-11 record, in their last 13 games, the Coyotes led the league with a 9-2-2 record (22/26 possible points); even besting the league’s best teams such as the Tampa Bay Lightning and Vegas Golden Knights. Many analysts are saying this is the future for the Arizona Coyotes. Taking this new confidence, the Yotes were up in Vancouver to take on the Canucks. After a 3-1 loss to Vancouver back in Arizona just days before, the Coyotes were looking for revenge; hoping to leave with a win.
The game progressed slower than usual. After a no-goal call on a breakaway chance for Vancouver’s Brandon Sutter, the Coyotes continued things on their powerplay chance as they crashed the net until finally Clayton Keller poked it in to give the Coyotes the late 1st period lead. With the period winding down to it’s dying seconds, the Coyotes were on a delayed penalty call, where Vancouver took advantage of a 6 on 5 man advantage where a beautiful tic-tac-toe play starting from Sam Gagner and ending with Jussi Jokinen to tie the game with 15 seconds left in the 1st period. That would conclude the 1st period.
The 2nd period seemed to be another goalie battle between Darcy Kuemper and Jacob Markstrom; nothing was getting past either of these goalies. The Coyotes came close with a shot from Christian Dvorak, but the shot rang off the post. Just seconds later, Nick Cousins rang one off the post as well, but the game still remained tied. Minutes later, Nick Cousins again set up Brad Richardson on a small breakaway goal as Richardson hit the post as well. Three 2nd period posts kept this game tied, but the Coyotes were buzzing and had confidence going into the 3rd.
The 3rd period was the slowest of the 3 periods played. The Canucks came close with a redirected shot from Sam Gagner, but Kuemper was sharp and made a terrific pad-kick save. With it now bleeding down to the final minute in the 3rd, the Coyotes won an offensive faceoff draw where Derek Stepan, scooted the puck to Clayton Keller who skated it towards the point, but no Canuck seemed to pick Stepan up as he gave himself a perfect shooting area in the middle of the zone and wristed one past Markstrom to give the Coyotes the very late go-ahead goal; 2-1. Even Tyson Nash called the shot a “bullet” as it sliced through the air top shelf past Markstrom.
The Canucks would have to pull Markstrom in an attempt to tie the game up, but the Coyotes snuck away with the win, giving Darcy Kuemper his first win as a member of the Coyotes. The Coyotes, both statistically speaking and literally, won this game with a 2:1 ratio as the Coyotes out shot the Canucks 34-17, and Kuemper stopped 16 of the 17 shots faced and Markstrom stopped 32 of the 34 shots faced.
The Coyotes are still clicking which is showing their ability to find consistency in the play. The Coyotes would face the Canucks again on Sunday, March 11th back in Arizona. Will the Coyotes win the season-series against the Canucks?
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