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Nick Schmaltz scores twice in Coyotes 3-2 victory over Canadiens

In a hard-fought battle, the Arizona Coyotes (5-4-1) pulled away with a 3-2 victory over the Montreal Canadiens (5-3-2) at Mullett Arena in Tempe on Nov. 2.

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After the Anaheim Ducks came back from behind to beat Arizona 4-3 in overtime last night, the ‘Yotes had a quick turnaround as they returned to “The Mullett” against one of the better teams in the league to start the season.

Montreal were the second-worst team in the Eastern Conference last campaign with a 31-45-6 record.

Surprisingly, they are 4-1-1 in their last six games with their last contest ending 3-2 in a shootout on Oct. 30 against the No. 1 team in the Western Conference, the Vegas Golden Knights.

Coming off of a back-to-back, it was going to be interesting as to how the Coyotes would respond after playing just last night.

First Period

For the first time this regular season, the Coyotes received an opportunity that does not come often.

Initially, a shot by Arizona defenseman Juuso Valimaki hit the post and bounced in the crease.

In desperation, Habs defenseman Justin Barron dived, grabbed the puck and threw it away before it trickled into the net.

Doing so, the referee’s awarded Arizona a penalty shot as a non-goaltender cannot close a hand on the puck.

Skating out, ‘Yotes forward Nick Schmaltz was selected to take the chance.

Slowly, Schmaltz took his time going from the left to the middle and waited out Canadiens goalie Jake Allen before scoring glove side to give Arizona a 1-0 lead at 6:17 in the first.

Not even a minute later, Montreal center Sean Monahan sniped a wrist-shot on the power-play to tie the game 1-1 at 7:13 into the beginning period.

As the period wore on, another controversial play commenced and it went the Coyotes way yet again.

With a burst of speed, Canadiens captain Nick Suzuki blew past multiple ‘Yotes before swerving in front of Arizona goaltender Connor Ingram and sending a soft backhand into the back of the net.

However, Coyotes head coach André Tourigny challenged the goal for offsides.

Under further review, the referee’s determined Suzuki entered into Arizona’s zone before the puck, and therefore, the goal was negated.

At the end of the first frame, the Coyotes were outshot by Montreal, 12-8.

Second Period

Both Allen and Ingram stood tall for each side as they turned away multiple scoring chances.

The Coyotes first line of Schmaltz, Clayton Keller and Barrett Hayton kept threatening and showcased their chemistry, but just couldn’t solve Allen.

Right before the end of the second period, Arizona finally broke through.

As a power-play concluded, Coyotes left winger Matias Maccelli served teammate Lawson Crouse with a pass before “the Sheriff” finished past the blocker of Allen’s with only 0:39 remaining in the middle frame as the score was 2-1 in the ‘Yotes favor.

Furthermore, that would be the third goal Crouse would bury in a 24-hour span after netting two last night in Anaheim.

Third Period

Freakishly, the beginning of the third period got off to scary start.

At center ice, Keller blindly ran into Habs defenseman Mike Matheson and both fell to the ice surface.

Following the play, the referees called a major penalty on Keller, but they went to review and minimized the infraction to a minor roughing call.

Unfortunately for Keller, Montreal right winger Brendan Gallagher tied the game on the man-advantage, 2-2 2:59 into the final frame of regulation.

Searching for a response, Schmaltz would get on the scoresheet again with 13:53 remaining in the third period.

Entering into the Habs zone, Keller saw Cooley on his left bolting to the net and gave the puck to him.

Quickly, Cooley sent a cross-crease pass to Schmaltz who chipped the puck top-shelf on the power-play to help Arizona regain dominance, 3-2.

With time running out, Matheson fired a snapshot from the point and hit the crossbar with 0:19 left.

That was the last opportunity by Montreal as Arizona closed out the game 3-2.

Postgame Notes

In a game of inches, the ‘Yotes outshot the Canadiens 36-30, but it could have gone either way.

With his two goals, Schmaltz leads the Coyotes in points with 10 (4 goals, 6 assists).

On the other hand, Monahan’s sixth goal of the season is the most by any Montreal player.

Tonight, Gallagher recorded two points to be the leading point-getter against Arizona.

In net, Ingram made 28 saves on 30 shots and Allen stopped 33 of 36.

Both teams would get one goal on the power-play with the Coyotes going 1-for-4 and Montreal being 1-for-5.

Back at Mullett Arena, Arizona host the Winnipeg Jets on Nov. 4 at 1 p.m.

Coyotes head right back into action against the Canadiens

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Alec Cipollini is a journalist covering the Arizona Coyotes, Cardinals and Phoenix Rising for Burn City Sports. You can follow him on his X account @AlecCipollini

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