The Phoenix Coyotes played the Anaheim Ducks in their third and final game of a three game series last night. Overall it was not a good performance by the Yotes. They seemed to lack any heart in the game and looked slow and sloppy. Now for a quick recap!
The first period was all about the Ducks. They dominated the play while the Coyotes got absolutely no offensive pressure. Jason LaBarbera got the start in goal for the Yotes and he actually did a very good job. The Ducks pressured a fair amount throughout the game, even getting a penalty shot against LaBarbera. However, he stood his ground in net and only let up one goal to Cory Perry in the first period. If the Yotes could go all season giving up one goal a game, they would be in amazing position. The huge drawback though is that the Coyotes had no shots at all until after 10 minutes into the first. Even then, they finished the period with a whopping 3 shots. Obviously, fans will like that the defense had a much more solid game, but that kind of offensive effort is unacceptable.
The second period was much of the same, with a lot more neutral zone play. No goals were scored and once again the Coyotes couldn’t get a sniff of the offensive zone against the Ducks. To the credit of Anaheim, they played pretty solid defensively for the most part. They did not give the Yotes a lot of time handling the puck before attacking the carrier. They also did a good job keeping the Coyotes out of the dangerous spots on the ice. Through both periods, Hiller did not experience any real danger from a Coyote offensive attack. After 2 periods, the Coyotes had a grand total of 9 shots on net. Ouch.
The third period looked to continue on just like the second. Finally, with about maybe 9 minutes left in the game, the Coyotes decided they wanted to maybe tie up the game. For the first time all game, they started to get offensive pressure and really looked like they could get a goal to force another OT between these two teams. However, it was not meant to be. The effort was too little too late and the Coyotes gave up an empty net goal off a Keith Yandle turnover to Ryan Getzlaf. Final score was 2-0 Ducks, with the better team winning the game.
The Coyote’s power play continued to struggle. Struggle is actually putting it mildly… it was more of a comedy of errors. After starting the season out doing well on the power play, the Yotes have gotten away from what made them successful and tried to get too fancy once again. This is another area that the coaches will have to strengthen if they want the Coyotes to make the playoffs. The biggest disappointment of the game, however, was the lack of heart the team showed throughout. The Coyotes are not a skill team like Detroit… where they can rely on their talent and system so much. Hard work and doing all the little things is how the Coyotes win games. Last night, there was not much heart from this team, including the captain, until late on. Going through the motions will not win this team any games. Hopefully the players have seen what that gets them and come with a better effort tonight against the St. Louis Blues.
My stars of the game will actually be very short. Jason LaBarbera gets all three stars in my opinion. He was the only Coyote player who came to the rink and did his job well. It really is a shame he did not get a better offensive effort from the team in front of him. The team will take on the Blues tonight, and they are looking to rebound from last night’s effort. Considering the lack of effort last night, perhaps they were saving their energy for tonight’s game instead. We will find out which Coyotes team takes the ice tonight!