After dropping game one 3-0 to the Colorado Avalanche, the Arizona Coyotes needed to come out with fire in their eyes to make sure they could avoid a 2-0 hole in their series. Oliver Ekman-Larsson said after game one that his team needed to “respect” the Avalanche less. It starts with a good push in the first period and it was really important for the Coyotes to get off to a great start. How did Game 2 unfold? Let’s jump in.
The Coyotes came out swinging in game two and were controlling the pace of the game for the first few minutes. They were getting some quality shots in and wining the initial puck battles but they couldn’t get anything past Phillipp Grubauer. The Coyotes looked like a different team early but all that changed when Nathan MacKinnon capitalized on a Coyotes turnover in the neutral zone and lasered the puck past Darcy Kuemper for a 1-0 Avalanche lead. In a flash, the Coyotes amazing start was nullified and they were down.
Closing in on mid-first, the Coyotes were still playing hard and didn’t let the goal phase them as much as it could have. They played hard, with speed and did all they could to get one past Grubauer. Taylor Hall looked like a different player and was engaged and making plays as much as he could on the ice. The Coyotes continued to press the Avalanche as the period went on, having a bunch of close calls and nearly scoring. A missed penalty on MacKinnon after he sticked Conor Garland in the face seemed to energize the Coyotes even more and it resulted in a nice hard-working goal from Clayton Keller, after a sick pass from Taylor Hall, to tie the game at one. The Coyotes looked like a team that wouldn’t be denied and they made the Avalanche pay. The Coyotes only had 14 shots on goal in game one and nearly eclipsed that total in just one period with nine shots on goal.
The second period began with both teams flying, the series clearly had taken a nice competitive turn compared to the dominance of the Avalanche in game one. Then just a little over three minutes in, Michael Grabner would have an amazing deflection chance that just barely ticked off the crossbar and stayed out of the net. The Avalanche would take the puck the other way and after a some nice passing, Cale Makar would rip a shot on net that Tyson Jost beautifully deflected past Darcy Kuemper to give the Avs a 2-1 lead. Jost, a late add to the lineup after Joonas Donskoi was held out, made his presence felt. The Avs looked to be controlling play once again but a break down in front of their net would come to haunt them. Just a few short minutes after Jost tied the game, Michael Grabner would score his third goal of the postseason after snapping a short side shot past Grubauer to tie the game at two. The two goalie would then trade chances but the goalies were up to the take after those two goals.
The second period would continue with the teams trading chance back and forth and the Coyotes were even outshooting the Avalanche at one point which might have been hard to imagine after their game in performance. The shots would stand at 24-19 at the end of the second before we got to a wild third. The teams would trade chances all throughout the third period until the Avalanche got a bit of luck when a puck deflected off a Coyotes player and right to Andre Burakovsky. Burakovsky then slammed the puck into a wide open net to give the Avalanche a late 3-2 lead in the third.
Despite the Coyotes playing a much quicker, more physical and better overall game, the Avalanche managed to squeak out the win with a late 3rd period goal and take a 2-0 series lead over the Coyotes. Game three is Saturday at 3pm in the Edmonton bubble.
Three stars of the Game:
1) Nathan Mackinnon
2) Tyson Jost
3) Michael Grabner
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