GLENDALE, Ariz. — Anthony DeAngelo’s latest offense was nowhere near as egregious as his last one, but the Coyotes rookie defenseman still has some learning to do to keep from putting his team in tough spots.
DeAngelo earned a five-minute major penalty for boarding and a game misconduct just 1:56 into Saturday’s 3-0 loss to the St. Louis Blues when he lost his stick and then ran Blues forward Zach Sanford from behind.
Sanford’s head crashed into the boards and he left the game (he returned in the second period), but the Blues cashed in with three seconds left on that power play on a goal by Alex Pietrangelo and a heavy dose of momentum that led to an early 10-1 shot advantage.
Former Coyote Scottie Upshall added a goal in the second period and David Perron scored a shorthanded goal into an empty net as the Blues won their ninth straight game over the Coyotes, despite a superlative effort from goalie Mike Smith (38 saves).
“Playing the first five minutes of the game shorthanded sets the tone of the game right away,” said coach Dave Tippett, whose team played the rest of the game with five defensemen. “I don’t think there was any malicious intent to it but when a player hits his head on the dasher board… that’s the call you’re going to see every time.”
Both defenseman Luke Schenn and Smith were quick to defend DeAngelo and question the call because Sanford turned toward the boards at the last minute and put himself in a vulnerable position, but the Coyotes will have to wait to see if DeAngelo’s infraction warrants supplemental discipline by the league as they prepare for a five-game road trip, already down a defenseman due to Kevin Connauton’s injury, which could necessitate a recall from Tucson.
DeAngelo was ejected after the second period of the Coyotes’ loss to Calgary on New Year’s Eve when he argued with linesman David Brisebois and attempted to get away from him during a skirmish with Calgary’s Sam Bennett. He was suspended for three games.
DeAngelo was not available to address the media after Saturday’s game. A Coyotes spokesperson said he had already left the building by the time the media arrived for interviews.
“You keep talking to him, keep showing him all those situations and he’ll continue to learn,” Tippett said.
The loss wasted a nice bounce-back effort from Smith after a poor outing in a 5-4 shootout loss to Detroit on Thursday. Smith shook off Pietrangelo’s early goal on which he anticipated a deflection from Jaden Schwartz that never came.
He made a terrific glove save on a deflection by Alex Steen, he made several rebound saves in tight and he stopped Blues leading scorer, Vladimir Tarasenko on a bizarre looking penalty shot. Smith’s positioning was so good that Tarasenko skated all the way to the side of the net before attempting a weak shot from the goal line that never had a chance.
“I outwaited him I guess,” Smith quipped.
After Schenn pointed out that he was responsible for that penalty shot and the one Smith stopped against New Jersey’s Taylor Hall, Smith smiled.
“That’s two pretty good players,” Smith said. “I guess we’re going on the road here. There’s a couple dinner opportunities for him.”