The Angry Budgie Live

Thursday, 5 January 2012

Desert Dogs-a-Howlin' - December

A 16 game December is next for the Coyotes, a schedule not exactly relaxing for the festive month! There's no repeat of the epic 5 game road trip experienced in December but a packed month none-the-less. The month also gives the Yotes their first taste of action against the Oilers and NY Rangers. There'll be some banter with Gem over that game!

@Jets, First up for December was a return trip to Winnepeg to face the Jets.The Coyotes had won the first game in the series 4-1 at the Jobing and this was a chance for revenge back at the MTS centre. Going into the game the Coyotes were on a 2 game winning streak and expected a hostile reception. Despite being booed throughout the game the Coyotes pressured the jets all game, but the result would be a win for the Jets. Only one goal scored in the game through Bryan Little. So a disappointing return to Winnepeg but not the end of the world.

v Flyers, The Coyotes returned to Phoenix to take on the, aptly named, Flyers. Riding high and scoring loads of goals the Flyers took the game to the Phoenix and, effectivly, won it in the first period. The game would also see Mike Smith pulled for the first time this season conceding 4 goals on 17 shots. The stats don't look good for Smith, but the goalies can only do so much when the team in front is not helping out! The Flyers first period goals came from Read, Simmonds, Giroux and Hartnell. With LeBarbera in for the 2nd and 3rd periods the Coyotes steadied the ship and did not concede any further goals. In fact they staged a little comeback and make the score look a little more respectable. A second period goal from Whitney and a second goal in the final minute of the third from Boedker gave the home fans something to cheer about.

@Blackhawks, Just six days ago the Coyotes were in Chicago and left the windy city with both points, this time around the Coyotes would again leave Chicago with the win, but a much harder fought win this time. Once again the Coyotes jumped out to an early lead. By the end of the first session the Yotes were two goals to the good through Rafi Torres and Vrbata, damn that guy can't stop scoring! Yandle put the Coyotes 3-0 up early in the second, this goal seeming to wake up the Blackhawks as they scored soon after through Toews. Toews would cut the deficit again by deflecting a shot from the point by Duncan Keith. The game tying goal capped off the comeback when Patrick Kane was found on the back post to score in the top corner. A solid third period from the Coyotes saw the game head to OT and Penalty Shots, Oliver Ekman-Larsson got the game winner. So thats two games in Chicago and 4 points, as a Yotes fan, iv'e got to be happy with that!

@Nashville, The day after their win in Chicago the Coyotes head south to Nashville to take on the Predators. their previous game against the Pred's came on the day of Rinne's birthday and the day he signed a massive contract. The Coyotes were determined this would be different, the Coyotes took the lead just 9 seconds into the game through Taylor Pyatt. The Coyotes/Jets franchise record is 5 seconds, so nearly a new record! The Pred's did tie the game in the first period scoring with 12 seconds left in the session. What was it with the early/late goals!?!? No goals followed in the second period, but the third would burst into life. Ray Whitney put the Yotes ahead before Weber would, once again, tie the game. The two top players on the Phoenix roster would step up and secure the win. Shane Doan made a great play to find Keith Yandle to make the final score Preds 2 Coyotes 3!

@Detroit, The Coyotes rolled into Detroit on the back of two road wins in Chicago and Nashville, the game against Detroit would be their third in four nights and see the Yotes return to Detroit for the first time since being swept out of the playoffs last season. The Wings absolutely obliterated the Yotes in the first twenty minutes by scoring 5 unanswered goals. I think the Yotes were still on the plane or in a different time zone! Mike Smith came into the game in great form, yet he wouldn't last the period! Goals from Bertuzzi, Filppula, Holmstrom, Helm and Hudler sealed the win for the Wings early on. LeBarbera came in after the fourth and only conceded one more for the game. The Coyotes finally got on the board in the second thanks to a laser shot from Vrbata and the scoreline was made more respectable in the third after a PPG from Martin Hanzal. Normally I would not expect much going into Motor City, but had the first period been different, I wonder what the result may have been?

vWild, The Coyotes came back to the desert to face the high flying Wild and the slow start would hurt the Coyotes....again. After their first period capitulation to the Wings the Coyotes endured another awful start to the game, and were 4 nil down going into the last ten minutes. Mike Smith again in goal put alot of the blame on himself which can be a little unfair, there is only so much a goalie can do without a team in front of him! The other major issue at the moment is the Coyotes PP, dead last in the NHL standing at just 10%! That has to change if the Coyotes have any hope of winning games. The solitary scorer for the Coyotes was Korpikoski who scored at the 11min mark in the third period. A disappointing loss, especially as the Coyotes were leading the Pacific Division coming into the game.

@Ducks, The Coyotes headed off to California for their next game against the Anaheim Ducks, the Ducks worked hard and came out of the game with a well deserved 4-1 victory. Martin Hanzal getting the only goal for the Yotes. Despite spending much of the second period in the Ducks zone the Coyotes only had the one goal to show for their efforts. The Ducks outworking and out thinking the Coyotes across the ice. Mike Smith was again in goal and unfortunately for him picked up the loss too.

vOilers. The Coyotes needed a big game, a bounceback game, and the Oilers gave it to them. The Coyotes worked hard and traded goals with the Oilers, but ground out a 4-2 victory massively out shooting the Oilers 42-20 in the process. Korpikoski and Vrbata scored hussel goals for the Coyotes only to be pegged back by Taylor Hall, both times, to bring Edmonton back into the game. After Hall made the scores 2-2 6mins into the third period the next goal was always going to be massive. This is where you need your franchise players to step up, and Shane Doan did just that! Oliver Ekman-Larsson added a 4th goal for insurance and the Coyotes got the deserved win, dominating the Oilers over the full 60minutes. The game also giving Mike Smith a morale boosting win!

vRangers, Rangers were next to the Desert and this game would see a heartbreak ending. The Rangers took the lead through Gaborik only for Korpikoski netting a short handed goal with 9 sec left in the first period. The Coyotes would take the lead in the second period with Cal O'Reilley scoring a PPG, that special team unit really clicking for the Yotes. The Ranges pegged them back early in the third period when Gaborik scored his second of the night. That goal was Gaborik's 300th in the NHL. The game was destined for OT only for Ryan McDonagh for the Rangers battled in the corner, back handed a pass towards the goal for Brad Richards to deflect it goalwards. After review the goal was ruled good and the Rangers won the game with 0.1 seconds to go. As I said, a real heartbreaking end!

@Panthers, the Coyotes had to wait three nights to get over the pain of losing a game with a tenth of a second to go. The opposition this time were the Florida Panthers. Perhaps this game saw lady luck smile on the Coyotes after she so harsly ditched them against the Rangers. The Coyotes went 2-0 after the first half of the game through goals from Whitney and Vrbata, both PPG's showing that unit finally clicking. The Panthers narrowed the gap through Brian Campbell in the second setting up a close third period. Just before lady luck got warmed up, she would give the Coyotes one last kick, Mike Smith suffering a groin injury just 3mins into the period. LeBarbera came in and would be involved in the moment where Lady Luck shone for the Coyotes. Stephen Weiss got a penalty shot opportunity late on for the Panthers but LeBarbera pulled off a big save and the puck trickled towards the goal line only to stop short. Giving the Coyotes the win!

@Hurricanes, A stanley cup winner with the Hurricanes, Ray Whitney returned to Raleigh and in front of friends and family got the Coyotes rolling towards a great 4-3 win. A win which saw the Yotes come from 3-1 down in fact! After allowing Ruutu, Nodi and Tlusty to fire the Hurricanes into the lead the Coyotes dug deep and hit back with 3 unanswered of their own. Further goals coming from O'Reiley, Klesla and Korpikoski with the game winner. So a satisfying return for Whitney, and a welcome break from the Coyotes 1-11-1 record when trailing after the first two sessions. They hung around and it paid dividends!

vBlues, The Blues came to town and, on the day the Coyotes inducted Keith Tkachuk into their ring of honour the Blues would be the party poopers! No goals came in the first period the Blues won the second 2-1 and fought a hard 1-1 third to get the 3-2 win. Steen and D'Agostini for the Blues and Doan for the Yotes were the scorers in the second period. Arnott and Yandle traded markers in the third and it finished 3-2 Blues. The 30 minute induction ceremony may have contributed to the sluggish start, but its remarkable to think that all but 18 games of Tkachuk's career were played for the Blues and Coyotes!

@Kings, The injury hit Coyotes went to Los Angeles to take on the Kings on the back of a western conference leading away form of 11-6-1. Unfortunately that road record would count for nothing when a combination of injuries and the LA Kings offence turning up saw the home side skate out with a 4-3 win. LeBarbera was in goal once again but then gaveway to Curtis McElhinney after conceding the 4th goal of the night. Scuderi, Torres and Richardson traded goals in the first period leaving it 2-1 Kings. Torres got his second of the night with the only marker of the second period. Mitchell and Brown gave the Kings the advantage in the third period and only one goal for the Coyotes Langkow gave the home side the win.

vBruins, The Stanley Cup champions came to town and a soldout awaited them. Before the puck drop I would have said the Coyotes would be lucky to get anything from the game, but in reality they came so close to the win! In a game short on goals the Bruins exploded out the blocks with a goal after just 47 seconds from David Krejci. Ray Whitney got his 13th of the season and tied the game 1 a piece. It would stay this way all the way into OT. Before OT was even 1 minute old lady luck deserted the Coyotes, a shot from Dennis Seidenberg deflected off Coyotes defenceman Derek Morris between LeBarbera's pads giving the Bruins the extra point! So a point against the Bruins.....i'll take that!

@Avalanche, The Coyotes went to Colorado to face a team who's past seven wins have been by one goal margins. The teams traded goals throughout the first and second periods with the Avs going first. Kevin Porter, then Mikkel Boedker made it 1-1. Then Stefan Elliot and Mikkel Boedker (again) made it 2-2. With the scores tied, win the third and you win the game. Gabriel Landeskog would score the only marker of the third session to give the Avs yet another close win.

@Wild, The coyotes went to Minnesota to avenge their early month loss to the Wild in the arena. A season high crowd in the Excel Energy Centre greeted both sides. Curits McElhinney was in goal once again as the injury riddled Coyotes looked to get back to winning ways. No goals in the first period gave way to two in the second. Pierre-Marc Bouchard scoring first for the Wild only for Langkow to score a PPG to tie the game. The fourth period went crazy with goals. A pair for Radim Vrbata would give the Coyotes the ultimate edge in the third period. Matt Cullen scored a penalty shot to make the scores 3-2 and, I was even able to listen to the last 5mins on my phone through the NHL gamecentre app McElhinney stood tall for the Coyotes and stoned the Wild in the dying minutes. Ray Whitney broke into centre ice and was able to add the empty netter for the Coyotes.

The Coyotes went 6-9-1 through the month of December!

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