The Coyotes committed four crucial mistakes:
- In the first period and on the penalty kill, a Coyotes defenseman whiffed on a clearing attempt instead feeding a wide-open Cam Barker at the point.
- Late in the first period and on the power play, Adrian Aucoin allowed Kris Versteeg to sneak behind him. Versteeg beat Aucoin to the loose puck and came in alone on Bryzgalov.
- In the second period, the Coyotes got caught with too many men on a rush. Duncan Keith intercepted a pass and sprung Patrick Sharp on a clear breakaway.
- Not even a minute later, Patrick Kane got a breakaway of his own.
On most nights against NHL teams, at least two of those mistakes would have been buried in the back of their net.
On this night, the Hawks didn’t even register a shot on goal from any of those chances. Patrick Kane came the closest when his shot grazed the outside of the post and went out of play.
Cam Barker, Kris Versteeg, and Patrick Sharp all missed the net.
That pretty much sums up the Hawks night.
Three minutes into the game, John Madden made a careless pass behind the Coyote net. Ed Jovanovski picked it up and gained the red line where he fed Martin Hanzal. Brent Sopel gave Hanzal a ton of room. Hanzal gladly accepted; took the puck wide and fired a shot towards the net. The puck went between Cristobal Huet’s legs and Coyotes drew first blood.
After the Coyotes killed off the Hawks first power play of the night, the Hawks defensive pair of Brian Campbell and Cam Barker didn’t have the opportunity to get off the ice. The Coyotes took advantage of the tired legs when Shane Doan threw the puck towards the net where it was re-directed by Hanzal. With two Coyotes in front of the net and Campbell having to choose who to cover, the rebound went right to an uncovered Peter Mueller.
Halfway through the second, Kris Versteeg got caught too far down in a forecheck and Phoenix came back the other way on a 4-on-3. After some nifty passing, Scottie Upshall buried a shot and the ‘Yotes were up 3-0.
The Hawks cut into the lead just three minutes later when Patrick Kane picked up a loose puck on the penalty kill. He forced the Coyotes defense to keep backing up and left a drop pass for Versteeg. Versteeg put a shot towards the net and the puck went right between Bryzgalov’s legs.
Later in the period, the Hawks generated some major pressure on the power play. Bryzgalov made two huge stops on Tomas Kopecky tips and kept the lead at two goals going into the intermission.
In the third period, the Hawks thought they had cut the deficit to one goal with ten minutes left but Colin Fraser clearly kicked the puck into the net and the war room in Toronto took a whopping 15 seconds before disallowing it.
Bryzgalov carried it home the rest of the way for the Coyotes turning away whatever else the Hawks threw towards the net.
–Yes, the power play went 0-for-6 tonight, but at least it resembled a professional unit for parts of the night. You couldn’t say that a week ago.
-Not the best Dave Bolland performance I’ve ever seen.
-Speaking of performances, there was a Tomas Kopecky sighting tonight and I’m not just saying it because his newly hired PR staff of Pat Foley and Ed Olcyzk told me to. He actually was getting to loose pucks and making plays happen. Now if we can just see that on a more consistent basis….
-Keep this in mind before you grab your pitchforks and torches in the hunt for Cristobal Huet, the Hawks scored one goal. Just one.
*On the Farm*
-Shawn Lalonde made his return to the Belleville Bulls lineup on Wednesday night. He notched an assist in their 4-3 shootout loss to the Peterborough Petes. He also was stopped as the second shooter in the shootout.