Kyle Hildebrand – http://proplayerinsiders.com/
After the trade in the offseason, ex-Coyotes goalie, Mike Smith, made his first return to Arizona since his departure to the Calgary Flames. Most fans were not very happy with the way Smith departed as he stated on Sports Net Radio that he was “looking forward to passing to guys who could actually score.” This left a sour taste in Coyotes fan’s mouths and most social media accounts started to name this game: Operation Light Up Smitty, and the Coyotes got the upper hand in this game. Here’s the recap:
With the Calgary Flames desperately trying to make it into the postseason, the Coyotes knew they would have to be sharp tonight. The first period was a goalie battle, but Antti Raanta stopped some pretty good chances from the Flames, but he was on point to start the game, stopping point blank shots and redirects to keep this game scoreless.
With the 2nd period now underway, the Coyotes’ top line of Clayton Keller, Derek Stepan, and Richard Panik struck once again as Stepan skated into the offensive zone, dropping the puck to Keller who would then shoot a cross-ice pass where Richard Panik would one-time it in the net for a 1-0 Coyotes lead. 4 minutes later, the Flames would head the other way, where defenseman Dougie Hamilton scored one short side to tie the game at 1. With just over 4 minutes left to play, the Flames would take advantage of a scramble in the net, where Sean Monahan would score on a vacant net to give the Flames a 2-1 lead. With just 2 and a half minutes left in the 2nd, the Flames looked to breakout of their own zone for an attack once again, but the speedy legs of Max Domi caused a turn over, break away chance where Domi would beat Smith stick-side to tie the game at 2. That would conclude the 2nd period.
Once again, Antti Raanta was sharp as an axe as he stopped numerous chances of wrap-arounds and one-timers. The Coyotes would breakout minutes later as Max Domi shimmied the puck over to defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson who would shoot one top shelf, beating Smith to score his 100th NHL career goal. The broadcasters and fans went ecstatic to see their star player hit such an incredible milestone. With a 1:44 left to play of the game, the Flames would have to pull Smith to have an extra attacker, but Oliver Ekman-Larsson would fling one up into the air out of the Coyotes zone and all the way down to the other zone and into the empty net to seal the game and to acquire goal number 101 of his career. Jason Demers jokingly sealed Ekman-Larsson’s celebration with a kiss to his cheek! The Coyotes then put gravy on the cake as Christian Dvorak centered one to Max Domi to score another empty-net goal to make it 5-2 Coyotes which would be the final score.
Max Domi had himself a 3-point night, notching 2 goals and an assist. Antti Raanta stopped 42 of 44 shots from Calgary. It truly was an incredible night as Ekman-Larsson joins a group where he is part of 6 other NHL defenseman from Sweden to score 100 goals. Either way, fans were happy to see Ekman-Larsson score number 100 and to see a win against former goalie Mike Smith.