The Angry Budgie Live

Thursday, 8 December 2011

Desert Dogs-a-Howlin' - November

October is done and in the can, November will prove to be a tough month for the Coyotes. 13 games and a killer five game road trip in the middle visiting both the west and east coasts of America!

@ Avalanche, The Coyotes opened November with a trip to Colorado and the Mile High city to take on the Colorado Avalanche. The Avalanche came into the game with a good record, 7 wins going into the game and the Yotes came in on the back of a two game winning streak. It would be a tough game for the team from the desert and needed some big performances. The Coyotes got them, once again Mike Smith came up big in the game turning away 39 of 40 shots to give the Yotes dependable goaltending. Of the skaters Radim Vrbata had a two goal game including one spectacular goal as he was taken down from behind. While the Coyotes advanced to a third win in a row, they condemned the Avalanche to their fourth defeat in five on home ice. The team famed for its sell out streak is struggling! The Coyotes....are starting to warm up!

v Predators, Nashville, a difficult place to play a game and, with Rinne fresh from signing a seven year $49mil contract extension the Coyotes had to get past a goalie who would be in the form of his life and happier than larry! Unfortunately for the Dog's luck was just not on their side in Nashville, LeBarbara started in place of the red hot Mike Smith and was done by two pieces of bad luck, nothing to do with him! The first was the go ahead goal for the Predators which went through traffic and the legs of a Nashville player before sneaking past LeBarbaba. The second was a turnover from Korpikoski which gave the Predators a 2 on 0. In the end, the birthday boy millionaire was in such good form the Coyotes were unable to breakthrough and left Nashville with null points!

v Oilers, After the loss in Nashville the Coyotes returned home to take on the hot Edmonton Oilers who went into the game on the back of a six game winning streak. A scoreless first period gave way to a two goal second period which would give the Coyotes the edge. Daymond Langkow and Adrian Aucoin scored goals and the Coyotes defence strangled the Oilers offence to send the Yotes on the way to a 4-2 victory. Further goals coming from Boyd Gordon and a sixth for Ray Whitney, an empty net goal. This defence first mentality the Coyotes brought to the ice also brought head coach Dave Tippet his 100th win behind the Yotes bench. What better way than to celebrate the milestone with a home win at the Jobing!

v Canadiens, The Coyotes second game at home, in a row, saw the men from Montreal come to the desert. The Canadiens arrived missing three forwards and facing a three game skid the Canadiens would be hungry. With Langkow missing due to family reasons the Phoenix toplines had to be juggled around and it showed. With the Coyotes goals coming from their third and fourth lines. Despite withstanding a 34 shot Montreal first period the Coyotes could not get the win in regulation. But thanks to Mikkel Boedker and Raffi Torres the game went to OT, only for the Canadiens Josh Gorges to seal the extra point for the Canadiens. Against a team like Montreal who, I would expect to be challenging come the post season, to get a point, im a happy Coyotes fan. While a home win would be so much better, 1 point is better than a big fat 0!

@ Sharks, After the loss to Montreal the Phoenix headed to California to face division rivals the San Jose Sharks. This game would also give the Coyotes a chance to atone for their opening day loss to the Sharks in Cali, when they allowed 52 shots. So far this season the Coyotes have been red hot when scoring first, since Dave Tippet took over the Coyotes have won 73 games when scoring first. It's almost like the stars were aligning for a Phoenix win after the first period, as the Yotes exploded out the blocks. After the first session the Yotes were 2-0 to the good through goals from Vrbata and Boyd Gordon. The Coyotes now had to ensure that lead was not surrendered! Step up Mike Smith, he did and then some! Only one more goal would be a Coyote! Patrick O'Sullivan got the insurance and Mike Smith got the shutout!

@ Maple Leafs, The Phoenix roadtrip continued with a trip to Toronto to face an improved Maple Leafs, after picking up an OT loss and a win the Coyotes were up to 3 points so far on the road trip. The Coyotes once again played an excellent first period and, again, would find themselves 2-0 up after the first session. First period goals from Shane Doan and Oliver Ekman-Larsson would see the Yotes into the lead up until the third period. Mike Komisarek and Phil Kessel brought the Leafs back into the game, and forced OT. With no goals scored we went to every fan's favourite hockey time, the shootout! Thankfully Mike Smith came up big again and saved both Toronto's attempts in the shootout while O'Sullivan and Vrbata scored with theirs, giving the Yotes the win!

@ Flyers, Next up for the Yotes roadtrip was a trip to Philadelphia and the first game against ex Coyotes Ilya Bryzgalov. The game would turn out to be an old fashioned goalie duel with new Phoenix nettie Mike Smith coming up against his predecessor. In fact, so tight was the game that, it was only decided with just 18.6seconds left on the clock. The Flyers went ahead in the second period through James van Riemsdyk only for Boedker to tie the game early in the third period. Matt Read got the winning goal and give Bryzgalov the win against his old team. The victory for the Flyers also broke the Coyotes five game road win streak.

@ Sabres, The Coyotes turned north and headed to Buffalo for game four of this roadtrip and for the first time ever in his NHL career gave Paul Bissonnette a chance to play in front of family. With around 50 family in attendance Bissonnett would break a 2-2 tie and give the Coyotes the go-ahead goal and impetus to win. Towards the mid point of the game Phoenix and Buffalo traded goals. Doan and Vrbata scoring for Phoenix and Adam and Kaleta scoring for the Sabres. In fact Vrbata and Bissonnette's goals came within 70 seconds of each other and really knocked the stuffing out of the Sabres. Buffalo only managed 15 shots after and the Coyotes were the only team to score another goal. Radim Vrbata getting his second of the game, an empty net goa, with just over a minute to go.

@ Capitals, The last stop in the Coyotes west to east roadtrip ended in the nations capital against the Capitals. In the end it was almost de-ja-vu for the Coyotes, facing an opposition on the slide and a head coach on the cusp of a milestone victory. The capitals on the back of a 6 in 7 loss streak and Boudreau looking for win number 200! Phoenix, with LeBarbara in net looked to spoil the party by jumping to a 2-0 lead through goals from Vrbata and Korpikoski, both short handed in fact look to have put the Yotes on the way. Only for Washington to score 4 unanswered to ultimately win the game. That comeback coming from Carlson, Eakin, Backstrom and Laich. Korpikoski would get his second of the game to bring the Yotes within one, but the comeback was not to be and the Caps held out for Boudreau's 200th win.

v Ducks, The Yotes returned to warmer and more familiar climbs after their epic road trip, to begin a three game homestand against Division rivals the Ducks. Despite the Ducks scoring first through Koivu the Coyotes hit right back with 4 unanswered goals to win the game. Mike Smith proving he has the Ducks figured out improved to 5-0-1 against the Ducks. The Phoenix hot streak came from Yandle, Eckman-Larsson and current player in form Vrbata with two. Vrbata's pair of goals lifting him to 11 for the season. Corey Perry would get his 8th of the season and the Ducks second of the game but the Yotes got the win and began the homestand with the W.

v Canucks, Last seasons Stanley Cup finalists were next to come to the desert and bring the much heralded Sedin twins to the Jobing ice. Going into the game I would have expected a loss, but would have been delighted with a point. Unfortunately it wasn't to be and the Canucks rolled the Coyotes and left with a 5-0 shutout and two points. Mike Smith's recent hot form, 8-1-1 over a month and a save % of .946 was blown out of the water by goals from Salo, Kesla, Booth, LaPierre and Burrows. The one possible bright spot for Tippet and the Coyotes was the penalty kill unit. Phoenix stopped the NHL's best PP unit on all 5 chances and 1min 31sec of 5 on 3. Not many positives but an impressive one none the less!

v Stars, After such a tough loss against the Canucks the Coyotes welcomed the Stars to Phoenix. So far the Coyotes had managed to surrender winning positions to the Stars late in the game, this would be an opportunity to right that wrong. The game also saw Langkow return to the coyotes lineup after his own personal tragedy. The Coyotes were brilliant, after surrendering those late leads and two OT losses to Dallas the Coyotes responded with a 3-0 shutout win on home ice. That shutout was Smith's 13th of his career and improves him to 3-0-0 against the Stars in regulation. The Coyotes goals came from Boedker, Whitney and Pyatt.

@ Blackhawks, The Coyotes rolled into Chicago to take on the Blackhawks and played their best road form. Able to play their hard-checking, suffocating style of play the Coyotes raced into the lead and never looked back. With Mike Smith in fine form between the pipes the Coyotes took the lead in the first period through Daymond Langkow's fourth goal of the season. Shane Doan then blasted a slap shot from the right circle that went straight through Crawford, giving the Yotes a 2-0 lead midway through the game. The Coyotes wrapped up the game in the first 5 minutes of the third period, Vrbata continuing his hot streak scoring the Yotes 3rd just after the start of the period and Whitney making it four at the 5min mark. The Blackhawks finally gave their fans something to cheer about when they got their only goal of the game in the last minute, denying Mike Smith a shutout, Patrick Sharp making the final score 4-1 Coyotes.

Coyotes end the month 8-4-1

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