ARIZONA COYOTES

Coyotes can’t pull off 3-goal comeback, lose to Blackhawks in OT

Apr 20, 2022, 10:31 PM | Updated: Apr 22, 2022, 6:45 pm
Arizona Coyotes goaltender Karel Vejmelka, left, slides over to make a save on a shot by Chicago Bl...

Arizona Coyotes goaltender Karel Vejmelka, left, slides over to make a save on a shot by Chicago Blackhawks left wing Boris Katchouk (14) during the first period of an NHL hockey game Wednesday, April 20, 2022, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

GLENDALE — It took more than 60 minutes, but the Arizona Coyotes couldn’t muster a three-goal comeback to get two points over the visiting Chicago Blackhawks, losing 4-3 in overtime.

The Coyotes scored two goals in the third period to steal a point after the Blackhawks had the game in-hand the majority of the way.

Arizona (29-49-6) lost the opening draw and quickly saw Chicago (27-40-11) generate chances in its offensive zone.

The game couldn’t have gone off to a worse start for the Coyotes, with the Blackhawks drawing first blood just 42 seconds into the game with a goal from defenseman Jake McCabe.

It could’ve been an even earlier start for Chicago after nearly scoring on its first shot of the game, but Coyotes goalie Karel Vejmelka was able to rob Blackhawks forward Alex DeBrincat, who was around the net all night.

The Blackhawks kept the foot on the gas after the opening goal, with their pressure forcing two Coyotes’ penalties.

Arizona would kill both, but Chicago would make things 2-0 at the 15:32 mark thanks to Dominik Kubalik’s 14th goal of the season.

Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews has had great success playing at Gila River Arena and it continued Wednesday night, tallying assists on both of Chicago’s opening goals.

In his 22 career games at the Coyotes’ home rink, Toews has registered 21 points (8 goals, 13 assists) after his two-point evening.

Killing another Blackhawks’ powerplay to start the second period, the Coyotes would cut the deficit in half at 12:43 with Barrett Hayton’s ninth goal of the season.

Alternate captain Andrew Ladd — playing in his 1,000th career game in the NHL — picked up the secondary assist on Hayton’s goal.

The No. 4 overall pick in 2004 by the Carolina Hurricanes, Ladd won a Stanley Cup with Chicago in 2010. He joined teammate Loui Eriksson in reaching the 1,000 career games plateau this season.

“I think when you have a goal that seems like a pretty big summit at the time, at a pretty low point having two major surgeries … just proud of how I handled myself throughout that process,” Ladd said postgame. “To hit that number against those guys (Chicago) that I’ve had a lot of great memories with and grew up with for a few years, it’s pretty special.”

The Coyotes would stay on the attack, but couldn’t put together a tying goal. The Blackhawks would answer four minutes later, making it 3-1 behind the first career goal from defenseman Alex Vlasic.

With nothing going in the first 10 minutes of the final frame, the Coyotes trimmed the Blackhawks lead to one with a Nathan Smith goal.

Smith, who Arizona acquired from the Winnipeg Jets at the trade deadline, was playing just his fifth career game in the league. He tallied his first career assist in Monday night’s loss to the Carolina Hurricanes.

Less than five minutes later the Coyotes tied things up during 4-on-4 play, when veteran defenseman Anton Stralman snapped a wrist shot past Blackhawks goalie Kevin Lankinen’s blocker.

“Start was no good,” head coach Andre Tourigny said. “The leadership we had in the room between the first and second (periods) and the character of our older players and they way they dig in … it was good for our young guys to be apart of it as well.”

Chicago would nearly regain the lead moments later, but Vejmelka stole yet another goal from DeBrincat.

A late tripping penalty by Arizona’s Travis Boyd set the Blackhawks up with the chance to take the late lead. However, the Coyotes’ penalty kill may have been their star of the game, killing all five of Chicago’s man-advantages.

Their latest penalty kill was able to secure the Coyotes a point at the least, taking the game to overtime tied three goals apiece.

After a flurry of Blackhawks’ scoring chances, the Coyotes were looking to escape overtime and get to a shootout.

DeBrincat had other ideas, finally getting one past Vejmelka to score his 40th goal of the season.

The loss extends the Coyotes’ losing-streak to eight games, with their last win coming against the Blackhawks on April 3.

UP NEXT

With just three games remaining for the Coyotes at Gila River Arena, they’ll next host the Washington Capitals Friday at 7:30 p.m.

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