Upset of the Season

As an optimist and writer covering the Arizona Coyotes, there’s no way for me to politely say it but the Yotes were in no place to win Friday’s game against Boston Bruins. Boston is currently competing for the bragging rights of being the top team in the NHL. The Coyotes are competing for a top draft pick at next year’s draft.  Somehow, the hockey gods were looking over the Coyotes and the team managed to pull off, what I believe, to be the biggest upset in the 2022/23 season, thus far.

Here’s why the Bruins were destined to win:

  • The Coyotes had more giveaways than the Bruins. Although, it was only a few more
  • The Bruins dominated the faceoffs.  The Bruins won 62% of the game’s faceoffs.
  • The Bruins’ powerplay was lighting it up. Boston had six powerplay opportunities and managed to score twice when they had a man advantage.
  • The Coyotes’ powerplay was not lighting it up. Arizona only had four powerplay opportunities and failed to capitalize on the opportunity.
  • Most importantly, the Bruins outshot the Coyotes 46-16. If Boston managed to have two more shots on net, they would’ve outshot Arizona 3:1.

Unfortunately for Boston, the Bruins ran into a beast called Karel Vejmelka. Similar to his other wins this season, Veggie sole the game and carried the team to victory while posting a superb .935 save percentage. Here are other factors that contributed to Arizona’s upset win:

  • Lawson Crouse. Crouse had two goals and an assist, including the game-winner. After Vejmelka, Crouse was the most valuable player. Big kudos to Mattias Maccelli too as he assisted on both of Crouse’s goals.
  • Timing. The timing of when the Coyotes scored was superb. Arizona only spent three minutes of the game trailing. This allowed the Yotes’ to remain competitive, play meaningful hockey, and not lose motivation. The timing of Crouse’s game-winning goal was also valuable as there was less than 20 seconds remaining in the third period, providing Boston with very little time to tie up the game again.
  • Arizona had more hits. Sure, hits aren’t a huge determinant and indicator of good hockey, but it helps set the tone of a game.
  • Arizona had more blocked shots. If it weren’t for blocked shots, either team could have had more goals.
  • First home game back. After a long, grueling 14-game road trip, the familiarity of Mullet Arena and being at home must have been a great change for the Yotes. Sometimes, it’s the little things, like the comfort of your own home, that go a long way.
  • Redemption game. The end of Arizona’s 14-game road trip was less than ideal as the squad had an abysmal 8-2 L in the final game against the Edmonton Oilers. With such a big loss, the Coyotes had to redeem themselves in this game.
  • Luck. Depending on how you perceive the situation, the near icing at the end of the game which led to Crouse’s game-winning goal was either fortunate luck for the Coyotes or a bad hockey play by the Bruins. Personally, I believe it was the latter half as players should never make assumptions and compete until the whistle or horn is blown.

Despite being outshot significantly, having fewer powerplay opportunities, and less success with a man advantage, Arizona defeated the red hot Bruins. Hopefully, the Yotes can bring this momentum into tonight’s game against the Philadelphia Flyers.

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