Unbeaten Coyotes edge out winless Penguins

AP Photo
16 Comments

This is about as far away from the script as you can get.

Granted, we’re not even a full week into the season, but the Arizona Coyotes — a team many are predicting to finish in the NHL basement — followed up their commanding win against the Los Angeles Kings with a 2-1 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins Saturday night.

Mike Smith has thus far managed to put his shaky 2014-15 campaign behind him by stopping 67 of 69 shots against those two fierce franchises. While the 33-year-old goaltender might not be enough to keep the Coyotes afloat in the long-term, a strong season from Smith would be a big deal for the franchise as they’re committed to him at a roughly $5.7 million annual cap hit through 2018-19.

Meanwhile, Phil Kessel provided the lone goal for the Penguins tonight. With that, Pittsburgh’s star-studded offense has started the season by collecting just one goal over two contests against Arizona and Dallas.

The Coyotes relied on youth to power their attack as 22-year-old sophomore Tobias Rieder and 23-year-old rookie Jordan Martinook were the only players that managed to get the best of Marc-Andre Fleury. The Penguins’ netminder had an otherwise strong night with 37 saves.

Pittsburgh will try to rebound Tuesday in its home opener against Montreal. Arizona only had two three-game winning streaks in all of 2014-15, but it can get its first of this campaign with a victory against Anaheim on Wednesday.