Strong defense was the theme of the night between two sub-.500 NHL teams in Glendale, Arizona.
The Carolina Hurricanes and Arizona Coyotes both scored their first goals before the halfway mark of the first period Thursday, but the opposing goaltenders sealed up their respective nets after that point.
The two teams went scoreless in the second frame and again in the third, so an overtime period ensued.
Coyotes goaltender Mike Smith made some spectacular saves in the additional five minutes while his team only managed one shot on goal during that span.
As you may have deduced, the game went into a shootout.
Center Elias Lindholm got the best of Smith on Carolina’s first opportunity in the shootout, and that was essentially all the Hurricanes needed, as they held on for a 2-1 victory.
Carolina earned two points and improved to 18-26-7, which is still last in the Metropolitan division. Arizona gained one point but fell to 19-26-7, the second-worst mark in the Western Conference. The Coyotes had won two in a row prior to falling short in the shootout, and they have now lost five straight at home — going back to Jan. 10.
Here’s a look at Thursday’s tight game at Gila River Arena, by the numbers:
Arizona has been a top-5 team in the league in penalty kills since Jan. 15, and that success continued Thursday; the Coyotes held Carolina scoreless on four power-play opportunities. Conversely, the home team never had a chance to skate with a man advantage, as Carolina didn’t have any penalty in minutes.
In his 30th appearance of the season, right wing David Moss netted his first goal of the year.
— NHL (@NHL) February 6, 2015
Coming into the game, the 33-year-old Michigan native had two assists along with 50 shots on goal, but had yet to see one of his own get past a goaltender. Moss scored eight goals in 2013-14 for the Coyotes, and if you’re wondering how long it has been since he’s recorded a tally, it happened in the very last game of the season — April 13 against Dallas.
Arizona defenseman Keith Yandle keeps racking up the points. He had assisted six goals over the previous four games, and he recorded another helper Thursday on Moss’ first-period goal. Yandle is on a Coyotes season-high five-game point streak, and he now has the fourth-most points by any defenseman in franchise history. The 28-year-old Boston native leads the team with 37 points this season. Center Kyle Chipchura also recorded an assist, his seventh of the season, on Moss’ score.
The Coyotes noticeably lost the puck several more times than Carolina did. The home team had eight giveaways, while the visitors only had three.
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Kyle Busch was in the house to see the Coyotes take on the Hurricanes. Busch drives a No. 18 Ford vehicle, and he was wearing a Coyotes jersey Thursday with his signature number and his last name on it.
— Kyle Busch (@KyleBusch) February 6, 2015
It was apparently good luck for Moss — who actually wears No. 18 for Arizona — as the defenseman notched his first goal of the season, tying the score up not even seven minutes into the contest.
The shots on goal were fairly even through two periods, but Carolina took charge in the third frame and in overtime, launching 20 shots in that span to the Coyotes’ 11. The Hurricanes finished with a 41-29 advantage in the category.
Arizona had significantly more success on faceoffs Thursday, winning the battle by a 33-19 margin. The Coyotes also dominated the hits category: 42-32.
Smith stopped all but one of Carolina’s 41 shots on goal through regulation and the five-minute overtime period. Smith’s 40 saves were his second-highest mark of the year, and his .976 save percentage in the game was a season best. With the overtime loss, however, the 32-year-old goalie’s record fell to 9-21-5.