GLENDALE, Ariz. — Thank goodness that’s out of the way.
The Arizona Coyotes got their first home win in regulation of the 2014-15 season Wednesday night after topping the Edmonton Oilers by a final score of 7-4.
Things got off to a rough start, with the Coyotes again giving up an early goal after a mental mistake. However, they bounced back to tie the game and pulled ahead for good in the second period, despite a few scares in the third period.
Oprah would have been a great presenter at the game, because everyone was getting their first goals and points of the season. Four Coyotes — Kyle Chipchura, Connor Murphy, Rob Klinkhammer at Martin Erat — all notched their first goal.
Though the Coyotes jumped out to a lead in the second, it was threatened in the third by some sloppy defending. They pulled it out, but Dave Tippett wasn’t thrilled his club gave up four goals.
“The committee needs a long, hard practice,” he said after the game.
Wednesday night could be the momentum the Coyotes need. After a dismal opener, they have beat both the L.A. Kings (in overtime) and the Oilers. They next take on a tough St. Louis Blues squad in the finale of a franchise-first four-game homestand to open the season.
Forward Mikkel Boedker keeps ending up in the right spots. The Coyotes are relying on him to have a big year, and three games in, he’s looked the part. He scored his third, fourth and fifth goals of the season Wednesday. The first period tally made it three straight games with a goal for the Dane, tying a career high. Wednesday was also his first multi-point game of the season, courtesy of two third-period goals and an assist on Murphy’s goal.
Who likes scoring two goals in 1:07? The Coyotes. Both Murphy and Klinkhammer (best name in the NHL) found the net in the second to put Arizona up 4-2.
The board battles in a hockey game are pretty important (read: essential) and the Coyotes rarely lost out Wednesday. They used their size to out-muscle the smaller Oilers. It’s the little things that win hockey games.
There’s something about these Canadian teams and early leads. With just a bit of pressure on, Edmonton’s Taylor Hall snagged the puck right in front of Mike Smith and put the Oilers up 1-0 just 1:25 into the game.
Now that you mention it, Edmonton’s second goal was another one Smith will likely want back from this season. The Oilers played the puck off the boards behind him and he just didn’t slide across properly, opening the door for Mark Fayne’s first goal of the season and a 2-2 tie going into the first intermission.
The Coyotes are still struggling to keep the puck out of their own net. The Oilers put four past Smith on Wednesday, meaning the team has given up 12 goals in their past three games, all at home.
STAT OF THE GAME
Who else but Shane Doan? Captain Coyote now has 58 points in 65 career games against the Oilers thanks to an assist on Murphy’s goal in the second.
HE SAID IT
“It’s going to even out eventually, but when you’re hot, things tend to go in, and right now that’s the way it’s going.” – Boedker on his hat trick and record start to the season.
– At the close of play Wednesday, Boedker was among the top scorers in the league. His five goals was the most in the Western Conference and second overall in the NHL. He’s also the first Coyote to score five goals in the first three games.
– Losing against Arizona is not new to Edmonton. With Wednesday’s win, the Coyotes have taken at least one point from an Edmonton matchup in the past 14 games. Arizona has only done that against two other teams in Coyotes/Jets franchise history: the Calgary Flames and Toronto Maple Leafs.
– Wednesday was bittersweet for Coyotes forward Sam Gagner. Edmonton traded him to Tampa Bay, who then sent him to Arizona over the summer. It was his first time playing against his former team this season.
– A healthy scratch in the first two games of the season, Arizona’s Kyle Chipchura scored in his first game of the year to put the Coyotes up 2-1 in the first period.
– Any team that scores four goals in a game should expect to win, but one coached by Dave Tippett should lock it up every time. After Wednesday’s W, the Coyotes are now 92-3-6 when scoring four-plus goals in a game under Tip.
The Coyotes will look to make it three straight wins when they take on the St. Louis Blues on Saturday at Gila River Arena in Glendale. The contest is scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. and can be heard on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM.