The Arizona Coyotes went into Chicago on Monday night and came away with a 3-2 shootout victory over the Chicago Blackhawks.
Both the Arizona Coyotes and Chicago Blackhawks held leads in regulation, but both clubs squandered their leads and after 60 minutes of hockey the scoreboard was knotted up at 2-2. Arizona avoided disaster with 16 seconds remaining in the overtime period against the Chicago Blackhawks when the referees determined that the puck did not cross the goal line on the Arizona defensive side.
No one else scored in the final 16 seconds of overtime and the game went into a shootout, a place where the Coyotes have struggled as of late. The Coyotes hadn’t scored a goal in a shootout in their last three contests that went the full distance.
Lucas Lessio and Antonie Vermette scored for the Coyotes (20-27-7) in the shootout as the Coyotes were finally able to notch their 20th victory of the season.
Lucas Lessio- Goal (1-0 ARI)
Jonathan Toews- No goal
Oliver Eckman-Larsson- No goal
Patrick Kane- Goal (1-1 Tied)
Antoine Vermette– Goal (2-1 ARI)
Patrick Sharp- No goal
Marian Hossa netted the first of two goals on the evening mid-way through the second period after a beautiful pass from Toews. Smith had no shot to save the shot from Hossa, but the Coyotes would respond well from being down.
Not even five minutes later the Coyotes struck first on the scoreboard when the captain, Shane Doan, scored on the power-play with the pair of first-line defensemen, Keith Yandle and Oliver Ekman-Larsson, assisting on the goal.
Vermette lit the lamp just four minutes into the third period when he slipped a shot by Chicago’s backup goaltender Antti Raanta. Ekman-Larsson was the lone assist-man on the goal for his second assist of the game.
With the barrage of shots that Smith had to face, made 36 saves on 38 shots, it was only a matter of time before the Blackhawks would tie the score. With just under eight minutes remaining in regulation Toews racked up his second assist of the night with Hossa being on the receiving end of another fantastic pass to score his second goal.
Early in overtime Martin Erat was sent to the penalty box for holding and all signs were pointing toward the Blackhawks pulling off the come-from-behind victory. Smith and the penalty killing unit stood tall however and kept Chicago out of the zone for the majority of the penalty.
Arizona’s number six rated power play finished the night 1/2 against the number one rated penalty kill (87.5%) of Chicago, while the 14th ranked Blackhawk’s unit finished 0/4 on the power play against the Coyotes’ 27th ranked PK squad.
Smith’s strong play as of late has been key to the Coyotes’ 4-2-1 run since the All-Star break.
First Star: Mike Smith- 36 saves
Second Star: Marian Hossa: two goals
Third Star: Oliver Ekman-Larsson: two assists
Arizona will conclude their two game road-trip tomorrow night against the St. Louis Blues. You can catch the game on Fox Sports Arizona at 6:00 PM MST.