Friday, December 12, 2008
Holy Jumpin is Right! Coyotes Finally Figure Out Wild
I am taking a break from studying. Okay I haven't started yet so maybe this can be classified as a continuation of my procrastination...a student's best friend.
Last week NHL.com had an article about how the Coyotes sophomores, specifically Peter Mueller and Martin Hanzal, were struggling. The color commentator for the Coyotes, Darren Pang, apparently read it and was none too pleased about the content of the article. You can read his take on the Coyotes website here.
But more importantly is the Coyotes game last night. If anyone has been following this team, they know the Minnesota Wild have been a kryptonite for Phoenix. Going into the game last night, the last time the Coyotes had defeated the Wild was on November 16th, 2006. Niklas Backstrom has been an absolute fiend in net coming into this contest 8-0 with 3 shutouts and a 1.13 goals against average against the Coyotes throughout his career.
However, all streaks come to an end. Backstrom let in 3 goals including 2 in the final 30 seconds of the 2nd period. The first came from Zbynek Michalek who continues his unbelievable play as he ripped a shot from the point.
Then just 25 seconds later Peter Mueller came down the wing with Olli Jokinen on the other side after rookie Mikkel Boedker had stolen the puck. He made a beautiful pass across the slot and over the stick of a Wild defenseman to Jokinen who put it by Backstrom. Just like that, it was 2-0.
The third period saw the newest addition to the Coyotes make an impact. Joakim Lindstrom was acquired earlier this week from the Anaheim Ducks for young defenseman Logan Stephenson. Tonight he scored his first goal as he redirected a beautiful pass from Steve Reinprecht into the net. While it was disallowed at first, review showed the puck had hit the white bar inside the net and bounced out.
Olli Jokinen has continued his hot streak since coming back from injury. He now has 3 goals in two games. Steven Reinprecht is also on a hot streak as he now has 6 points in his last 5 games. Ilya Bryzgalov had his best game of the season as he stopped 30 of 31 Wild shots. The Coyotes will need him to continue to play stellar if they want to succeed.
Was this game the turning point of the season? Quite possibly. The Coyotes had not beaten the Wild in over 2 years. Maybe this is where the Coyotes start moving up. They will face a stiff test on Saturday as the Detroit Red Wings come to Phoenix.