After the first period of last night's game, the Phoenix Coyotes didn't stand a chance against the division-leading Vancouver Cancucks.
The Coyotes lost the game 4-1, but that was a generous outcome for the Yotes given how awfully they played.
Ilya Bryzgalov, the Coyotes 40-game winning goaltender (who is usually a brick wall) played clumsy, stupid hockey last night, but his teammates didn't do much to help him.
"You'd like to see the guys rally around and pick him up," Coach Dave Tippett tells the Associated Press. "He's picked us up a lot, but we didn't find the emotion in the dressing room to do that."
Bryzgalov gave up three goals in the first period, two of which -- on any other night -- never would have happened.
Vancouver got the scoring started 37 seconds into the game, when Alexandre Burrows put a lightning bolt of a slap-shot past Bryzgalov, who was waving his glove at his defenders indicating he was being screened from the shot. The funny thing, however, is that there seemed to be nobody in his way -- he just flat-out missed.
Mason Raymond scored again for the Canucks inside four minutes later, from the same spot as Burrows' goal, under roughly the same circumstances.
A few minutes later, the shit hit the fan, and fans got what they paid for: A decent fight.
A cheap hit on Coyotes defenseman Derek Morris left Morris bleeding and the gloves of almost every player strewn about the the ice as a brief melee ensued.
The Coyotes came out on top, and Canucks forward Ryan Kessler, who laid the cheap hit on Morris, was tossed out of the game.
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The Coyotes -- now with a five-on-three power play -- scored once with the advantage, but after the goal, did nothing but fumble around with the puck, leading to another Vancouver goal.
Bryzgalov mishandled the puck behind his own net. Meanwhile, Vancouver forward Henrik Sedin took advantage of the mistak, putting the biscuit into the wide open basket.
The Howlers already have clinched a playoff spot with a win over the Colorado Avalanche on Saturday but are still grappling with other Western Conference teams for seeding. In other words: These games still matter.
The Howlers will remain in Canada to take on the Calgary Flames tonight. The puck drops at 6:30 p.m., and the game can be seen on Fox Sports Arizona. For more info on the Coyotes, check out the team's Web site here.