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Final Look: Coyotes Come Close in Kessel's Return to Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh pays tribute to Phil Kessel in his return, Arizona stymied by Tristan Jarry

by Alex Kinkopf @AEKinkopf / Game Recap

COYOTES COME CLOSE IN KESSEL'S RETURN TO PITTSBURGH

A very special night it was for Phil Kessel , who returned to Pittsburgh for the first time on Friday night since being acquired by the Coyotes in an offseason trade on June 29.

Arizona came up short in a contest that showcased brilliant goaltending, falling 2-0 to the Penguins, suffering a shutout loss for only the second time all year and the first time since October 5.

A strong mix of puck possession, offensive zone time, and power play opportunities couldn't translate onto the scoreboard for the Coyotes, who were thwarted by Pittsburgh's Tristan Jarry.

Antti Raanta put forth almost as equally as remarkable of a performance, turning away a number of prime Penguins scoring opportunities to go toe-to-toe with Jarry in what was a scoreless goaltenders' dual through the first 47:13 of play.

The Penguins took a 1-0 lead with 12:47 remaining in regulation when Evgeni Malkin snuck a puck that caromed off the back boards through Raanta's five-hole.

"I think we played well enough to win the game," Raanta said. "Obviously it came down to one face-off play and kind of an unlucky bounce from the boards. It's tough to let that kind of goal in, I felt really good out there, but that's hockey."

Pittsburgh added an empty net goal with :01.4 to play.

The Coyotes are now 2-1-0 on their current four-game road trip, which comes to a close on Sunday in Chicago.

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TRACKING IT

GAME #31: ARIZONA (0) at PITTSBURGH (2)

  • SOG: ARI - 33, PIT - 26
  • PP: ARI - 0/5, PIT - 0/2

ARIZONA SCORING:

  • No Scoring

PITTSBURGH SCORING:

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THEY SAID IT

"The Pittsburgh fans were great, phenomenal for doing that, Phil got a little teary-eyed. He had some chances, too, right after [the tribute video], a couple of chances there. It would've been nice to score, but it was great by the fans and the organization."

Rick Tocchet, on the Penguins' tribute and ovation for Phil Kessel

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DON'T OVERLOOK IT

THE SITUATION: Tie game, 0-0, with 17:54 remaining in the second period.

The Coyotes were put to the test early in the second period after being assessed back-to-back minor infractions in a span of 11 seconds, forcing the team to kill a 5-on-3 for 1:49.

In the heart of that Coyotes' penalty kill came a spectacular right pad save from Antti Raanta, who shut down a Bryan Rust rebound attempt from the thick of the slot, keeping the Penguins off the board.

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GOTTA SEE IT

THE SITUATION: Tie game, 0-0, with 11:18 remaining in the first period.

You knew it was coming. First TV timeout.

Once play finally settled down, the Pittsburgh Penguins played a tribute video in honor of Phil Kessel's return to PPG Paints Arena, one that included career highlights, Stanley Cup memories, and clips of his time in and around the Pittsburgh community.

"I had some good years here and some great memories, obviously the fans gave me a warm welcome," Kessel said. "I love this city, I love them, they treated me great here. It was nice."

Video: ARI@PIT: Kessel honored in return to Pittsburgh

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PHOTO FINISH

Coyotes players bang their sticks against the boards while the coaching staff and fans applaud in the background as Phil Kessel waves to acknowledge the crowd after the Pittsburgh Penguins honored him during a stoppage in play early in the first period Friday night at PPG Paints Arena. (Photo Credit: Jeanine Leech - Getty Images)

Lead Photo Credit: Jeanine Leech - Getty Images // GIF Highlight Footage: Fox Sports Arizona

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