There were lots of smiles and high fives after the Arizona Coyotes crashed their way out of a four game losing streak at Gila River Arena last night, defeating the Los Angeles Kings in a close one 3-2. It couldn't have come at a better time, as the team was faltering and looking for a better result.
Energy From the Start
From the opening faceoff, this was a more inspired and results oriented team than what they had shown during their disappointing losing streak. Perhaps luck had finally arrived on the Coyotes end of the ice for a change. The first Arizona goal certainly seemed as if their fortunes had turned a new leaf. Michael Stone, whose play of late had been stellar, launched a wrist shot towards the Kings net. Who was standing there ready to defect or pounce on a rebound, but the rejuvenated Shane Doan?
He didn't need to do much with his stick, as the shot deflected right off his chest right on the Arizona Coyotes' team emblem, and behind Jonathan Quick before he could react.
The first period was all Coyotes as they almost tripled the Kings shots on net by a 13-5 margin.
You Must See This to Believe it
The second period saw one of the strangest goals you will ever see. In all this writer's years of viewing this great sport, never has a goal like this been witnessed. For some unexplainable reason Coyotes' goalie Louis Domingue couldn't play the puck, and cleared it right up the slot area, as he lost his stick. He proceeded to take off his goalie helmet, and looked entirely baffled himself as to why he would did that.
The goal was good and the Coyotes had to reclaim the energy they started this pivotal game with, and see what might happen next.
OEL to the Rescue... Again (with Max's help)
The next goal by the Coyotes in the second period was a classic set-up by the rookie sensation, Max Domi.
He showed the patience of an experienced veteran as he laced a perfect pass to Oliver Ekman-Larsson, who made no mistake of it by burying the biscuit past Quick.
The Kings got a tying goal near the end of the second stanza to make the third period the deciding factor for this Pacific Division match-up.
Doan's Alley-oop Pass (wait... isn't that in basketball?)
The third period showed what the Arizona Coyotes can do defensively, as they only had five shots on net, but one of them was the game winner by Jordan Martinook at the 00:22 mark of the last period.
According to Martinook, he and Shane Doan have practiced that play, and it worked to perfection this time.
But, even though that play earned Martinook the first star selection, he and his teammates really deserved to share that honor. Nearing the end of the third period, the Arizona Coyotes did not allow the Kings to get out of their own zone long enough to pull goalie Quick for an additional attacker.
Martinook was showing the ability of a fore-checker in the highest degree. Talk about keep away with the puck, the Coyotes put on a clinic in puck possession, to down the Kings.
An Important Win
The importance of this game cannot be understated. The Coyotes went from tenth position and out of a playoff nod to sixth place and back in the running once again.
If they can finish off the last two games on the road with a split, or a two game sweep, they will be sitting pretty when the season resumes after the All-Star game.
You remember the All-Star game, right? The game which the Arizona Coyotes will officially not have a representative playing in the game. Well, unless you include the All-Star folk hero John Scott -- who is officially a member of the AHL, and is on the Montreal Canadians payroll. It's a long story.