The Angry Budgie Live

Thursday, 19 April 2012

Desert Dogs-a-Howlin - March

 The penultimate month of the season saw the Coyotes fighting for a playoff spot in the Pacific Divison, the division title was also within reach.

v Flames (L)

The mantra of the Coyotes this season has been 'Hockey the Hard Way' throught the previous games the Coyotes have playedit dangerously at times and the run had to come to an end at some point! Along the way the Coyotes have been able to haul themselves out of some tough spots, their first period form has been poor. Against the Flames this ability came to an end, 3-0 down after the first period the Coyotes rallied in the second through Torres and Rozisval but an Iginla empty nett goal in the last minute condemned the Yotes to their first regulation loss in 12 games.

v Blue Jackets (L)

After the disappointing loss to Calgary the Coyotes had a chance for redemption against the lowly Blue Jackets. Coming into the game the Blue Jackets were buoyed by the news that star player Rick Nash would not be leaving, it would be Nash who would haunt the Yotes this game. Continuing the theme of their poor starts, the Coyotes found themselves 2-0 down early in the second before Whitney and Korpikoski goals hauled them level. The Coyotes poor third period would see them concede 3 goals and the game, condemning them to a loss and an 0 and 2 record against the Blue Jackets.

@ Penguins (L)

The Coyotes March madness continued against the high flying Pens. Again, another poor first period saw the Coyotes 2-0 down heading into the second period. The Coyotes huffed and puffed but found Marc-Andre Fleury in scintillating form. Zybnek Michalek and Chris Kunitz put the pens ahead before Ray Whitney got his 21st goal of the season early in the third period. This set up an tense final period but the Coyotes were unable to find the game levelling goal.

@ Blue Jackets (L)

If the Coyotes wanted to ensure their participation in the post season they need to shake out of this slump. February was awesome, March, very much less so! The Coyotes travelled to Columbus to take on the Blue Jackets for the second time in a few days. The symptom of this poor form has been the Yotes poor starts in games. Tonight would be no different, in just 4 minutes the Blue Jackets were two goals to the good. Vermett did get one back for the Coyotes before the end of the first period. Derek MacKenzie put the Blue Jackets two clear before Yandle reduced the arrears again. This left the Coyotes with one period to get leveller, sadly this did not come and the Phoenix poor run was extended again.

v Wild (L-SO)

The Coyotes just cant catch a break so far in March, they started this game against the Wild in, predictably, slow fashion. By the end of the first period the Wild were 2 goals up through Brodziak and Kampfer. No goals came in the second period but the Coyotes dug deep and pulled the game back in the third through Torres and Korpikoski forcing overtime. At least the Coyotes would get some points from the game and get the scoreboard ticking again. Dany Heatley secured the extra point for the Wild and the Coyotes finally got moving in March.

v Sharks (W)

The Coyotes needed to bounce back and get going in March, the Sharks would provide tough opposition. The Coyotes bounced back in some style, Mike Smith got his fifth shutout of the season and goals from Mikkel Boedker, Michael Stone and Raffi Torres ensure the Phoenix got a morale boosting 3-0 win. The win meaning so much more as it came against division opposition. Coming on from the SO loss against the Wild this win gave the Phoenix some much needed momentum.

v Predators (L-SO)

The Coyotes-Predators games so far have been epic encounters, the latest instalment at the Jobing arena was far far different. Both teams traded goals and ended the 60 minutes of regulation tied at 4 a piece. For the second time in the month of March the Coyotes went to a shoot-out, this time against the league leading Pekka Rinne. Rinne stopped Whitney, Vrbata and Boedker to give the Predators the extra point. Disappointing to loos the game the Coyotes did, at least, get something from it to keep their Pacific Division challenge alive.

@ Canucks (W)

When your struggling for form and scratching for wins the Rogers Arena in Vancouver is a difficult place to go! The Coyotes, in their own way, obviously didn't see it that way! With Vrbata lost to illness and then, allowing the Canucks a two goal head start the fight back and eventual win for the Coyotes was all the more impressive. In the end Antoine Vermettes PowerPlay goal in the third period would be the winner. The Coyotes began their short Canadian road trip in style.

@ Flames (L)
Next up for the Yotes was the Calgary Flames. Sadly the high from the win against the Canucks would not carry over into this game. In fact the Flames pounded the Coyotes in this game and ran out 4-1 winners. Jerome Iginla gave the Flames the lead before Ekman-Larsson pulled one back for Phoenix. Matt Stajan and an Alex Tanguay short handed effort killed off the Coyotes and gave the Flames the win. With the Flames being in the western conference the loss could well hurt the Coyotes come playoff time.

@ Oilers (W-SO)

This game would be Dave Tippett's 400th game in charge and the Coyotes would ensure it would be a happy marker. Throughout early March the Coyotes have made a habit of falling behind in the first period, this game they fell behind in the second period to goals from Eberle and Hemsky in just about 30 seconds. Thankfully, the ingrained fighting spirit of the Coyotes saw them come back into the game in the final session. Whitney and Torres, again, stepping up to force overtime. Nothing came from the extra session but the Coyotes won the game in the shootout.

@ Stars (L-SO)

The coyotes trip to the state of Texas saw the Coyotes take on another division rival in the Stars. After getting a win against the Sharks earlier in the month this would give the Coyotes a chance to make a real push for top spot. The prize for the Coyotes was to retain top spot in the division and it would take that fighting spirit again for the Coyotes. Trailing the Stars 3-1 after two periods Ekman-Larsson and Whitney brought the Coyotes level. Kari Lehtonen stopped all five shots the Coyotes had in the overtime period and, and for the fourth time in a month the Coyotes were headed for a shootout. Sadly, despite winning in a shootout against the Oilers, the Stars prevailed this time!

v Avalanche (W)

In a sign of how tight the race in the west is, at the start of the game the Coyotes were on the outside of the playoff race looking in. But come the end of the game the Coyotes went from ninth to third with a 3-2 victory over the Colorado Avalanche. For most of March the Coyotes habit has been to make a slow start and recover, this time it was the Coyotes who made the better start. Towards the end of the second period the Coyotes were 3 goals to the good through markers from Langkow, Chipchura and Torres. The men from Phoenix had to fight off an Av's comeback during the thrid period but were able to seal the win.

@ Sharks (L-SO)

Another important division match up saw all the goals scored in the first 25 minutes of the game. Phoenix and San Jose traded goals until they were tied on 3 a piece. In a show of how tight the division has been, regulation couldn't separate them and neither could overtime. The game would require another shootout to decide the extra point. For Phoenix Boedker and Whitney tried but had their efforts saved and Handzus and Clowe scored for the Sharks giving the men from San Jose the extra point.

v Blues (L)

The Blues may have been stuttering in recent games but they are hot in the NHL this season, this game versus the Blues would also see Shane Doan sit out his final game of his suspension. To add to the struggle Vrbata and three other first team players were missing through injury, so the stars were not quite in alignment for the Coyotes. In the end Elliot in goal for St Louis was outstanding and the Blues were just too hot for Phoenix as they secured a win and moved above the Rangers in the Presidents Cup race.

v Sharks (W)

It's games against the Sharks that the Coyotes needs to win, especially as the pacific division is so tight every point is vital. The Coyotes March has been a little up and down so far but they have managed to grab points from a few losses this month. Going into this game Vrbata had been struggling with illness and been in a scoring slump. With Mike Smith having a storming game against the Sharks, banishing that debut loss to San Jose. Vrbata bounced right back with two goals in a 2-0 win for Phoenix. Both assisted by Ray Whitney to put him on 999 career points in the NHL. The Coyotes are now and amazing 29-1-0 in games after leading going into the final session.

v Ducks
(W)Ray Whitney is proving to be one of the most important acquisitions in the Coyotes history! Released, bought out and waived during his 19 year career he is still going strong at the age of 39. The game against the Ducks saw him cross another milestone in his career, his 1,000th NHL point. A dominant Coyotes took the lead in the first period and sealed the deal in the second! The Coyotes special teams doing the damage with three goals in the second. Ray Whitney got the 1,000th point with an assist and then his 1,001st with a goal. Whitneys marker and Mike Smith's shutout got the Coyotes another valuable win.

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