Friday, 17 December 2010

'Yotes lose it in a Shootout

12 - Paul Bissonnette
Too many penalties are killing the Coyotes right now. Just when momentum seems to be swinging their way, they slash, hook and throw it over the glass, handing it back to the other team. They stormed into an early lead last night in New York with a PPG from Taylor Pyatt and goal from Adrian Aucoin. I was actually hoping the latter goal would be given to Paul Bissonnette, the Coyotes enforcer who seemed to re-direct the puck. Bissonnette has built up quite a fan-following in the desert and around the hockey community and his funny tweets are well worth checking out.

However, three consecutive penalties in a row destroyed any rhythm the Coyotes had and let New York back in the game with a PPG of their own before the end of the first period. The Coyotes had gone from dominant to desperate in less than ten minutes. They aren't showing any of that killer instinct that served them so well last season. They would often win games by just a single goal because they were so strong mentally and defensively. The second period started off very well, just like the first, with Martin Hanzal taking a fantastic pass from Shane Doan in front of the net and putting the 'Yotes ahead by two again.

However, with six seconds remaining in the period, a mistake by LaBarbera let in Brandon Prust to score a short handed goal and swing the momentum back in the favour of the Rangers. As Dave Tippet put it, the Coyotes are simply shooting themselves in the foot. They are playing well enough to beat teams, but then throwing the game away with poor decisions and costly mistakes.

The Coyotes still had a one goal advantage going into the third period but gave that up around the 14 minute mark. After a goalless overtime, the game went to a shootout. Last season, the 'Yotes were so strong in the shootout but have been far from impressive this season. Only one goal was needed to decide the outcome and it was Erik Christensen who managed to score it, meaning the Coyotes left Madison Square Garden with only one point when they really should have had two.

Last night in New York was a microcosm of the 'Yotes' season so far. They have simply been inconsistent. They need to find that rhythm that served them so well last season and they need to learn not to throw it away when they have it. The Western Conference is so close this year that these odd points here and there that the 'Yotes are dropping could prove costly. Of course, there is a long way to go, but I'd love to see those mistakes rectified sooner rather than later.

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