The Edmonton Oilers are the Arizona Coyotes’ punching bag. Last season Arizona went 5-0-0 against Edmonton and the Coyotes continued their dominance on Thursday night by handling the visiting Oilers a 4-1 defeat. Arizona has a 19-game point streak against Edmonton, the Coyotes’ franchise record against an opponent.
The Coyotes are on a three-game winning streak and improved to 9-6-1 this season, good enough for second place in the Pacific Division.
“I don’t think too many people are looking where we’re at right now,” Coyotes forward Shane Doan said.
Arizona was paced by their veteran captain and their young dude. Doan scored his fourth goal of the season and rookie star Maxi Domi contributed a goal and an assist. Domi leads the team with eight goals and 15-points.
Doan made his NHL debut on October 10, 1995 and Domi was born on March 2, 1995. At 13:47 in the second period the fans were granted a generation spanning scoring play when Doan scored off a Domi pass. The goal gave the Coyotes a 2-1 lead and control of the game.
Arizona pushed their lead to 3-1 after defenseman Stefan Elliott put back a rebound for his first goal of the season with 2:31 left in the second period. Domi cemented the victory with a goal at 11:28 in the final period.
Arizona goalie Mike Smith allowed a single goal, Taylor Hall in the first period, and stopped 28 of 29-shots in the win. Smith is 7-4-1 this season with a 2.94 GAA.
“We did what we had to do,” Coyotes head coach Dave Tippett said. “We capitalized on some chances. It was just a good, solid team win. Nothing real fancy. Smitty (Coyotes goalie Mike Smith) made a couple of good saves when we needed it but the rest of it was just pretty solid.”
Thursday night was an interesting exercise for both franchises. Neither team is built to win for today, despite the Coyotes early success, and yet the 15,545 patrons at Gila River Arena were happy to spend the evening watching the future of the NHL, minus the injured Connor McDavid. It’s early in the 2015-16 campaign, we’re about 20% of the way into the regular season, and it’s not a bold proclamation to assume that neither team will be jousting for Lord Stanley’s hardware anytime soon. But that’s ok. As a reporter, and ultimately as a hockey fan, I was granted the opportunity to see a hard fought game with a lot of young talent. Down the road, you or I will likely forget the final score of tonight’s game but if a Domi, Duclair, Nugent-Hopkins or Hall rise to the superstar ranks, well, you’ll remember when you saw then in their nascent stage.
Arizona will use Friday to travel east for a four-game road trip. On Saturday they take on the Columbus Blue Jackets. The puck is set to drop at 5 p.m. (AZ) at the Nationwide Arena.