Cary, NC – Jeff Skinner scored the first goal and the last goal in a wild game against the Arizona Coyotes that saw one of the flukiest goals ever in the NHL.
The Canes were without three key players – Noah Hanifin with a concussion, Brett Pesce and Victor Rask both with season ending shoulder injuries. The Coyotes started the season off on a 0-12 winless streak but have turned things around with one of the best records in the past eight weeks. They’re nowhere near making the playoffs but considering the young talent they have, they’ll be a strong team in a couple of years.
Skinner, Zykov Give Canes Early Lead, Ward’s Skate Problem
Jeff Skinner opened the scoring early in the first, ending a long scoring drought. Elias Lindholm had the puck down low, passing up to Phil DiGiuseppe who circled a defender sending the puck back to Lindy. Skinny was staying active, eluding his defenders then when Lindy made a dash to the net, instinct kicked in with Skinny also going to the net. Lindy saw Skinner shoveling a pass and with Darcy Kuemper’s pad covering the ice and post Skinny lifted the puck from a foot out over the pads high into the back of the net. A shot he makes looks easy, but from where he was, it was a very impressive goal.
A few minutes later, Sebastian Aho made a dash into the Coyotes end, drawing two defenders. Aho did his signature move of a button hook and patiently waited for call-up Valentin Zykov, coming down Broadway with speed, dishing a perfect pass that Zykov put in from 20 feet out for the second pretty goal of the game. Just under four minutes later, another NHL highlight film of the strangest goal you’ll ever see occurred. Alex Goligoski slammed the puck deep around the boards from the left point.
Cam Ward went behind the goal to stop the puck for a teammate. After his stick stopped the puck, the puck jumped up and got lodged between his blade and skate boot. Ward, and the ref, lost sight of the puck so Ward went back to the goal. Seeing a crowd gathering both in front and back of the net, Ward, with his instinct, spread into a butterfly with his pads firmly on the ice. In doing so, both skates crossed the goal line. A full two seconds later after no one knew where the puck was the refs blew the whistle.
After finding the puck in Ward’s skate, just as everyone was lining up for a faceoff, the refs went to the scorer’s table for a video review which showed Ward’s skate was across the line: goal for AZ. What a bush league call but because the whistle hadn’t been blown when it should have, the goal counted. Arizona added another goal in the last minute of the period to tie the game and really took the air out of the Caniacs.
DiGiuseppe, Teravainen Connect
The Canes went back up early in second on tenacious forechecking by Skinny, Lindy and Di Giuseppe. After stealing the puck, getting a clear shot off was difficult. Lindy and Skinner were playing catch behind the goal with the puck going to the crease. Kuemper couldn’t get control so Skinner kept digging for the puck about six times finally knocking it loose. Lindy grabbed the puck, went low then passed to DiGiuseppe in the high slot who buried a hard slap shot.
The Coyotes came back with two goals, one that Ward would want back. The fourth line wasn’t having a good night as they were on the ice for three of the “real” four goals scored by Arizona. Just under the 15 minute mark, Aho had the puck along the near boards and made a nifty backhand flip between two defenders to Teravainen in the circle.
Teravainen quickly got into a shooting position sending a slap wrister under Kuemper’s arm to tie the game at four apiece. For the second period in a row, the Canes allowed another goal in the last minute of the period, allowing the Coyotes to go up 5-4.
Zykov, Skinner Score Again
Just under the half way point of the third, after a pass from Teravainen, Jaccob Slavin sent a hard slap shot at the net. Kuemper made the save buy Zykov used his big frame and kept poking at the loose puck in the crease. Just as Zykov was cross checked in the back he managed to get the puck on the blade of his stick and swiped it in to tie the game.
If his game is to camp out in front of the goal, he’ll have a great career in Raleigh. The rest of the period was north and south hockey as both teams wanted to end the game with a win in regulation. Both goalies were sharp for the duration as each offense was able to get just one shot off before play went down the ice in the other direction. With a couple of ticks under two minutes left in the game, after a pass from Slavin, DiGiuseppe went down the far right side making a cross ice pass to Skinny. Skinny took the quick shot, Slavin was in the crease causing havoc and Skinny picked up his own rebound backhanding it in to close the scoring.
The Coyotes weren’t done coming back with a great shot shortly after the faceoff that looked like it had eyes for the low far corner but Wardo made a great save. Very entertaining game and hopefully these lines will stay together for a few more games. If Hanifin gets better, having him back on defense will be another plus.
Next home game is Monday, March 26, 2018 against Ottawa and one of the best players to watch Erik Karlsson. Be there!