Into 2012 and a tough month ahead for the Coyotes!
@Blues This would prove to be a tough game for Phoenix, the Blues on the back of a three game loosing skid faced the Coyotes who began a stretch of 10 games, 8 being road games. The Blues backlash began within 5 minutes of the first period and the Blues would end the first 2-1 up. Knowing how the Coyotes play the Blues got in their face quick, disrupted the play and got the lead early on. Coming into the second the next goal would be huge, and the Blues got it. Taking that 3-1 lead on the PP the Blues TJ Oshie but the game firmly in their hands. Into the third all the Coyotes could do was pressure the net, but St Louis held on and added an empty net marker with less than a minute to go. Final score Blues winning by a score of 4-1.
@Kings It says alot about the game when the top stars are the two goalies! The Coyotes rode into LA and came up against a resurgent Kings under the guidance of Darryl Sutter. A tight game with few chances can often be decided by a brilliant play, or a blown call. It has to be said the Coyotes got both, a massive glove save from Quick denied the Yotes early in the third during some great pressure. For the Kings to get some fortune after a missed call. The goalie interference by Johnson on Mike Smith, denied the chance of the save and the Kings found the winner in OT from Drew Doughty. Another loss, a frustrating one as the goal, maybe, shouldn't have stood. The only thing to hold onto, heading back to the desert was, the solitary point taken from the OT loss.
v Islanders Next up for the Coyotes, the visit of the struggling Islanders. This would be the Coyotes 19th home game of the season, coincidentally captain Shane Doan wears number 19....good omens maybe? Captain fantastic would be the star of the show and, after amassing over 1,100 NHL games and 305 goals the stars would align and Doan would get his hattrick. A slice of luck was needed too, with time running down Whitney had the puck looking for Doan and with less than 4.5sec in the game, the two connected for a goal. Or would it, the play went to review and, to the delight of those in attendance the goal was good! Phoenix needed this win, 5 one goal losses over the past 7 games hurts, so with Doan's hattrick and further markers from Ekman-Larsson and Pyatt the Phoenix dominated the Islanders.
@Rangers After a morale boosting win against one of New Yorks teams, the Coyotes headed north east to the big apple to take on the NHL's form team, the New York Rangers. Another tight game for the Coyotes the only goals of regulation didn't come until the third period. Fedotenko putting the blueshirts ahead only for Vrbata to bring Phoenix level. OT couldn't separate the two teams and, it seems, even penalty shots nearly couldn't! Going into the sixth round of shots Gaborik had to score to keep the Rangers alive, he did, and Derek Stepan clinched the extra point. So the Coyotes couldn't topple the leagues best tonight, but another point was secured.
@Red Wings No easy game for the Coyotes on this mini roadtrip! Rangers one night, now a trip to the Joe and the Red Wings. Phoenix coped well for this game and took the lead twice, but you know the Red Wings will keep coming. One goal is never enough, the Coyotes needed two, just couldn't get it! Vrbata and Pyatt put them ahead twice only for Filppula and Franzen to drag Detroit back into it. Like the previous night against the Rangers, OT couldn't decide the extra point and another shootout was needed. Six rounds were not needed tonight, just four! Henrik Zetterberg scoring for Detroit and, when Korpikoski's effort was saved Detroit got the other point!
@Blue Jackets After 'simple' games against the Rangers and Wings the Coyotes travelled to Columbus to take on the Blue Jackets. The Coyotes worked hard, but by the end of the second it wasn't looking good. 4-2 down after goals from Kubalik, Nash, Russell and Brassard for Columbus and goals from Aucoin and Korpikoski for Phoenix the Coyotes had to go all out in the third. Vrbata brought the Coyotes within one goal midway through the third but the 4th never came. Maybe the gas was running on empty but it wasn't for trying! A tough loss to take, especially after taking points from the previous two losses but sometimes the bounces just don't go your way!
v Avalanche Heading into this game the Coyotes have, primarily, played the first half of the season on the road, the second half, 21 of 35 will be played back in the desert. After loosing the previous three games the Avalanche were sure to be in-line for a reaction. Some reaction too! Doan got his 40th multi-goal game and six other Coyotes recorded multiple point games as the Coyotes crushed the Avs. Doan and Boyd Gordon had a pair Klesla got a goal and Gilbert Brule got his first goal as a Coyotes ensured Phoenix picked up the two points. Chuck Kobasew got the solitary marker for Colorado.
@Ducks After the big win against Colorado the visit to Anaheim was the big come down for the Coyotes. Since their last meeting the Ducks are much improved under Boudreau no long solely reliant on the top line the Ducks got scoring from across their roster. With the loss the Coyotes road streak extended to 6 losses, their worst since 2009. Anaheim were 4-2 up going into the third period and shutout the Coyotes, scoring twice themselves to rout Phoenix 6-2. Francois Beauchemin lead the way with 3 points, Langkow and Chipchura getting the two goals for the Coyotes.
v Red Wings The Coyotes kicked off a 6 game homestand with the visit of the Red Wings to the Jobing.com arena. After watching the game, its amazing how many Red Wing's fans their are in Phoenix. Why don't they go more often, and not just turn out for Wings games? Anyway the Wings are a good team and would be difficult to beat. The game saw the Phoenix fourth line stand tall and score the goals. Ray Whitney and a second for Brule cancelled out goals for White and Bertuzzi for Detroit. OT, again, couldn't separate the teams and another shootout was needed. No goals scored in the first two rounds but a lovely effort from Bertuzzi secured the win for Detroit.....again! The homestand kicked off, but sadly with a loss!
v Lightning The Lightning came to town and for Mike Smith a chance to renew old acquaintances, especially with Roloson in goal for Tampa. The Lightning turning to the 42 year old as they are depleted on numbers. It would be a night of banging their heads against walls for the Coyotes, being 4-1 down by the end of the second it was obviously not going to be a good night for the Coyotes. Having said that, 40mins of frustration replaced by 20mins of a little success brought the Coyotes within one goal of sending it to OT. Ray Whitney scoring a PPG with just 4 mins to go gave the Coyotes a chance but the Lightning, and Roloson in particular, stood tall the secure the win.
v Senators The Senators came to town and, so did Kyle Turris, the contract hold-out was booed on every shift and nailed on his first foray onto the ice. The Coyotes needed to re-group after the poor loss to Tampa and respond with a performance. That, they got! Mike Smith putting in a stellar effort to give them the chance, the Coyotes were 2-1 up going into the third through goals from Brule and Doan. An early marker from Vrbata, giving some breathing room in the third was quickly cancelled out by Chris Neil made the third a tense affair. The Coyotes caught some luck when a Senators goal was disallowed and, with the win, the Coyotes snapped a 10 game one goal loss streak that had been building up!
v Ducks Despite early control the Coyotes were unable to remain so for the full 60 minutes. Badly struggling for some consistency the Coyotes sank to another loss on home ice, and a second in a row to the Ducks. Ray Whitney put the Coyotes ahead, but a devastating hattrick from Andrew Cogliano in the second period ripped the game from the Coyotes grasp. With the wind well and truly taken from their sails the Coyotes had no answer in the third. The Ducks got one more marker through the evergreen Teemu Selanne as the Ducks left the desert with a 4-1 win.
The Coyotes ended the month with a 3-5-4 record.