Coyotes Get On The Board Early, Outlast Montreal 3-2
That ending was a little more exciting than my blood pressure was prepared for but hey! We won! We scored first! We got a power play goal even! Mike Smith was good…even! Then we kind of had our booties taken out behind the woodshed and whipped for the better part of 20+ minutes but our good buddy Smitty went full blown Ralphie on the Canadien’s Scut Farkus to keep the Coyotes in the W column 3-2.
Here’s how it went down:
Anthony Duclair got on the board with a very sweet apple on the Martin Hanzal goal in front of friends and family. The Duke definitely has that Phil Kessel vibe to him…he just waits like a viper for his time to strike and then boom.
How many wins would the Coyotes have if Martin Hanzal were injured through these first 19 like he was for so long in 2014-15? Half of what they do now? That seems reasonable. I feel like the Yotes would be firmly in the the thick of the Auston Matthews “race” without him. That early goal was exactly what the team needed after so many poor starts.
The captain keeps on kickin’. How old is he now? 39? 48? 57? Does it matter? After batting in that rebound off the Tobias Rieder attempt, Shane Doan sits with five goals already this season. Yet another 20 goal campaign is looking quite possible. Amazing.
Speaking of Tobias Rieder, Tobi is always making things happen. He’s an engine out there, constantly pressing and seeing good things as a result.
Zbynek Michalek joined Antoine Vermette in the “Players Who Need To Take Less Minor Penalties” club. Seriously. And it’s not just them. The Coyotes are quite undisciplined of late and they are lucky Mike Smith ate his Wheaties tonight or this game could’ve turned the other way in a hurry.
Oliver Ekman-Larsson got another goal and extended his career long point streak to seven games. He’s on fire right now.
Last but not least, Mike Smith. What can we say, Smitty? When you’ve had more than one night off in a row you play like an elite goaltender. When Tippett puts you on both games of a back-to-back or you play every other day you aren’t quite the same. I don’t know if it’s due to the intensity with which he plays, the continued nagging of whatever injury he had in preseason, or just a lack of focus on some nights. Whatever it is, I wish Coach Tippett would take note of how strong Smith looks with rest if things (presumably) continue to go the same way they have been without it. Hell of a night for Smith and he was easily the team MVP.
The Coyotes finally righted the wrongs of the past by holding the opposition off the board in the first period. Scoring their own two goals in the period was a nice bonus, as well. The abundance of penalties is an issue and I’m hopeful that over time they will be able to reign that in. Some of these are just silly, like the one Vermette took in the offensive zone behind the net for tripping. Taking penalties in your own zone is taboo to begin with, but especially so for someone like Vermette who just came off of a game where he took three minor penalties.
The Coyotes lace ’em up Saturday in Winnipeg to end the road trip. After that, it’s a three game extravaganza at Gila River Arena surrounding Thanksgiving Day. Good night and good hockey.