NHL: Smith Injuried In Coyotes OT-loss Against Rangers
The Phoenix Coyotes did like they’ve done many time before this season. Take a 2-0 lead and end up losing. Not only did they lose 3-4 in OT against the New York Rangers, but goalie Mike Smith had to leave the game in the third period with an injury. If Smith is gone for a longer period of time, the road to the playoffs just got even more difficult for the Coyotes.
Coyotes came out flying in Madison Square Garden against the Rangers. Phoenix showed great speed in the neutral and offensive zone. After Rick Nash went to the box for tripping on Keith Yandle, Oliver Ekman-Larsson gave the Coyotes a 1-0 lead on the power play after 04:40. Ekman-Larsson broke in on the right side and beat Henrik Lundqvist in the Rangers net with a sharp wrister. Coyotes kept up the pressure and were first, second and third on most pucks. Jeff Halpern made it 2-0 Coyotes after 08:22 when he one-timed a pass from Kyle Chipchura. Chipchura did a great job behind the net to keep the Rangers defenceman off his back and with a nifty backhand pass he found Halpern.
In the second period the Rangers dominated the ice from coast to coast. Brad Richards cut the Coyotes lead in half after 06:10 with a skilled tip-in on Carl Hagelin’s shot. The blue shirts contained to control the game and put a lot of pressure on Mike Smith in the Coyotes net who had to come up big several times during the period. Derek Brassard tied the game with a snapshot after 10:53. Then in the midst of the Rangers pressure, the Coyotes got a lucky break when Chipchura tried to center the puck and Chris Kreider managed to put the puck into his own net late in the period.
In the third period the Coyotes came out with a clear game plan of just securing the lead and park the bus in front of Mike Smith. Phoenix made it difficult for the Rangers to get into the Coyotes’ zone and shot were kept to the outside. Smith had to leave the game with about eight minutes to go after Brassard fell on him. It looked like a right leg injury to Smith, and we will have to wait and see the extent of the injury. Thomas Greiss replaced Smith in net and did a good job, but the Rangers ended up tying the game at 16:32 with Dan Girardi deflecting a shot in behind Greiss. Rangers kept pushing for a winning goal, but Coyotes held on and took the game to overtime.
In OT it was Ryan McDonagh who was the hero for the Rangers. He banked in a juicy rebound after 01:56 and Rangers bring home the two points.
Next game for the Coyotes is tomorrow against the Pittsburgh Penguins, game starts at 4 p.m. MT.