Charlie Coyle (Bruce Kluckhohn/NHLI via Getty Images)
Minnesota Wild center Charlie Coyle came into Game 4 with a 21-game goalless drought, but he snapped it in spectacular fashion Wednesday night. Coyle used some clever hand-eye coordination and a slick backhand move for his first goal of the post-season.
Minnesota Wild center Charlie Coyle had the best season of his young career in 2015-16, but it could have been even better had he not stalled at 21 goals with 18 games remaining in the campaign.
Even with the hiccup, though, Coyle still managed 21 goals and 42 points — both career highs — but his goal-scoring woes continued into the post-season. The 24-year-old’s goalless drought heading into Game 4 of the first-round series against the Dallas Stars had reached 21 games, and he was looking for anything to spark his scoring touch. He may have found just the thing Wednesday night as he scored an outstanding goal on a partial break in the second period of Game 4.
After breaking up a play at the Minnesota blueline, Coyle streaked up ice with Jason Zucker on his right. Zucker, with one hand, pushed the puck ahead to Coyle, who fought off Alex Goligoski’s attempts to slow him down before throwing down a slick backhand deke to score his first goal of the post-season:
Coyle’s marker was his fifth career playoff goal and marked the first time since March 1 that Coyle found his name in the goal column. Not only was Coyle’s goal a brilliant display of the power forward playing style that made the pivot effective this season, but the youngster showed off a bit of hand-eye coordination that can’t go overlooked.
The pass from Zucker had the puck on edge and Goligoski created just enough pressure that Coyle needed to evade a stick check. How did Coyle go about that? He flipped the puck out of harm’s way and tapped it towards his forehand before pulling the backhand move to slip the puck past Antti Niemi.
Coyle’s goal gave the Wild a temporary lead, but it wasn’t enough in Game 4 as Dallas downed Minnesota 3-2 to take a 3-1 series lead.