Capitals beat Coyotes in blink-of-an-eye overtime: By the Numbers
The Arizona Coyotes lost a nail-biter Tuesday night 1-2 in overtime to the visiting Washington Capitals to complete the season series. It was the second time in 17 days the teams have faced off — the first was an Arizona win.
It wasn’t a thriller at first. The first two periods actually seemed a bit sluggish offensively on both sides — though the Coyotes saw that to be an advantage as they wanted to slow the Capitals down. Another solid defensive performance was brought forth by Arizona, however, and gritty, hard-hitting play almost decided the game.
The third period saw the game’s pace pick up drastically, with moments ranging from the frenzied to the gory — defenseman Michael Stone took a hard shot to the face at 15:46 that sent him straight to the locker room with a leak sprung in his chin.
And unfortunately for the Coyotes, Washington’s Eric Fehr was able to make contact with a deflected shot from teammate Brooks Orpik and slid the puck past Smith for the win.
What did the Coyotes (now 8-9-2) loss look like by the numbers?
Both team peppered the goal an equal number of times throughout the game.
Or, hardly peppered, as the statistics show.
The Capitals only managed two shots on goal in the second period as opposed to Arizona’s 10, and neither team had more than 10 shots apiece in the third, but ultimately only one shot mattered — that heartbreaking ricochet in overtime.
The Coyotes trailed the Capitals by one until 2:00 into the second period. It was then that Sam Gagner flicked a no-look behind-the-back feed to Oliver Ekman-Larsson for the wrister and the goal to tie things up and ultimately send the game to overtime.
An average NHL slapshot can hit 90 miles per hour, and Stone realized that in a very painful way when one of his four total blocked shots came at a price — the structure of his chin.
He was nailed in the face by a high shot from the Capitals that completely spun him around and planted him facedown on the ice.
He had to skate to the locker room immediately, but, in true hockey-player form, returned to the ice for overtime.
Zbynek Michalek had perhaps the most impressive play of the game when a shot just barely slipped behind Smith.
Michalek dove across the net and stretched his stick toward the puck, scraping it out of the goal in the nick of time.
Smith saved 22 of 24 shots on goal in a strong performance. He got the start over Devan Dubnyk, who gave up just one goal in the past two games — both of which were wins.
Forward Gagner played his 500th NHL game on Tuesday night, and flourished it with that nasty assist.
“It seems like five games (not 500) Gagner said earlier this week. “It seems like yesterday I started playing.”
Gagner, 25, is a former first-round pick who has been in the NHL since 2007 and is the second player from that year’s draft class to reach 500 (Patrick Kane).
The Coyotes’ two-game win streak has snapped, and they’ll try to pick it back up again on the road in Dallas Thursday.