With the Nashville Predators coming into the game against the Arizona Coyotes on a six-game losing streak, it was obvious that the game wouldn’t be easy. An excellent performance by both goaltenders Louis Domingue and Pekka Rinne set the pace of the game, and they were the best players out on the ice.
Sticking things out
No matter how disastrous the Coyotes season has been, they are still on a mission to stay focused on this current season and focused on turning out all of the points they can. A third period goal by Kyle Chipchura kept the ‘Yotes in the game, and pushed things out to overtime. Two of the past three games the Coyotes have played, they’ve been able to get a couple of points in a shootout win and an overtime loss.
“We found a way to stick around and we had a chance,” said Chipchura. “Unfortunately that’s been the story lately, just not finding that extra mode to win the game.”
The amount of chances the Coyotes have had that they haven’t been able to capitalize on is encouraging and dispiriting all at the same time. The past good chunk of games has warranted lots of attempts, but nothing seems to be bouncing in their favor. Last night, they were able to cash in on a bounce and eventually get a point out of it by taking it into overtime.
The penalty kill that keeps getting better
Once again, the penalty kill has been a huge factor in keeping the score of the game low. Nashville went 0 for 5 in their power play chances, and it isn’t by coincidence. The Coyotes have now killed off the past 14 of their last 15 penalties. This is a vital piece of their game, if they aren’t producing offensively.
“There’s quite a few there, you know the way the team is right now, we’re putting people in a role, we see them moving forward. We brought Brendan Shinnimin in tonight, Cunningham’s (Craig Cunningham) a penalty killer, Vitale (Joe Vitale) is obviously a penalty killer,” said head coach Dave Tippett about the PK. “We’re putting people in roles so we can see exactly where they are, and our penalty killers did really well for us tonight.”
Goaltender Mike Smith was given a break from the net to give backup Louis Domingue his second NHL career start. He had 38 saves in an overtime loss, following a win against the Montreal Canadiens on February 1st in his debut. Domingue has collected three of the four possible points he could’ve helped the team earn in his two career games.
The first shot on him rang off of his mask, and he said that it definitely “wakes you up”. Dominigue kept them in the game from there, not allowing a goal in the first, but facing a good amount of offense. An early goal in the second was the only one that Domingue allowed in the entirety of regulation. An untimely shot by James Neal in overtime caught him off guard after facing seven shots over 2 minutes into the bonus hockey.
“We played some good games in the six-game losing streak but we played a lot of games that weren’t us,” said the OT goal scorer, Neal. “Tonight we were back on the positive and doing good things in the offensive zone that makes us a great hockey team, and obviously it paid off.”