The win streak is broken in painful, slow, torturous fashion.
The first five minutes were pretty stock standard Ducks play as of late; good zone exits and entries, casual cycle but no real scoring chances. Then a Coyotes rush into the Ducks zone resulted in Miller being caught out of position when Fowler failed to get out of the crease. The Coyotes Jason Demers then retrieved the puck from the point and flung it on net where it sailed softly high over Millers right shoulder.
1 - 0 Coyotes 5 minutes in.
Anaheim didn't let it get to them and continued to hold possession but were mostly kept to the perimeter. It was highly noticeable that all three defence pairings seemed to have been told to activate as deep and as much as they wanted. With both Pettersson and Beauchemin pinching below the opposing goal line on seperate shifts.
Wagner took a roughing penalty on a post net scrum around the Ducks crease which the Ducks successfully killed.
The Ducks best scoring chance of the opening period came with less than 30 seconds left when Nick Ritchie out hustled and muscled the puck away from the Coyotes on the right side, getting a one-handed swipe pass to Kase who almost converted in the slot but it was just out of his reach.
Four minutes into the middle frame both squads had a chance as loose pucks lay tantalising out of reach in the crease. Arizona would get another when Marcus Petterson was caught up ice and the Coyotes mounted an outnumbered attack. Thankfully Anaheim recovered but it is worrying that as the Swedish rookies confidence grows, his tendency to get caught out of the play does become a consistent nuisance.
Play was middling until Ryan Kesler decided to take the most obvious hooking penalty in the history of hooking penalties. Anaheim killed that one without much drama but just as it was about to expire they took another as Arizona entered the zone and Francois Beauchemin leaned too hard on the penetrating Coyote forward.
Operation “bore Raanta to death” seem to be going swimmingly as Anaheim almost unnoticeably bled possession and allowed the Coyotes to make them look physically unable to get out of their own zone. The period ended with the Coyotes still leading 1-0.
Halfway through the third period and the score remained the same. What happened in the first 10 minutes of the final frame? I couldn't say, I was asleep. Turns out continual pointless cycles or denied zone entries can have a somewhat hypnotic effect.
Over the next five minutes the Ducks did manage to up their scoring chances but none such that remotely troubled Raanta. Then the Coyotes tilted momentum slightly, pinning the Ducks first line in the zone and getting some chances on Miller.
With Miller pulled in the final 2 minutes the Coyotes won possession and the Ducks went into full scramble mode but it was to no avail as Max Domi fired it into the empty net off a broken play.
Sweet release, this terrible, atrocious brand of “hockey” was finally over.
The Ducks next potentially show up for a hockey game tomorrow against the Oilers. No promises though.