Ed Jovanovski and Petr Prucha scored power-play goals and Ilya Bryzgalov stopped 24 shots for his ninth career shutout as the Coyotes stunned the defending Stanley Cup champions with a 3-0 win at Mellon Arena on Wednesday night.
The Coyotes improved to 2-0-0 with wins at Los Angeles and Pittsburgh following a summer spent wondering whether the team would be sold and perhaps moved -- and Dave Tippett took over as coach midway through training camp after Wayne Gretzky stepped down.
But as they did in their season-opening 6-3 win against the Kings, the Coyotes came out strong, dominated play for most of the night and got a strong effort in goal from Bryzgalov, who was aided by teammates who gave the Penguins little time and space all night long.
''I thought our speed and competitiveness drew some of the penalties,'' Tippett said. ''We really fed off the energy of playing against the Stanley Cup champions.''The Penguins, who beat the Rangers at home on Friday and the Islanders on the road in a shootout the next night, looked listless for most of the night. They let the young Coyotes carry the play to them and paid the price by filling the penalty box -- Phoenix had nine power plays to five for the Penguins, and Pittsburgh gave up two goals with the man advantage for the second game in a row.
''We weren't able to get a whole lot going. There's no real excuse for it, we weren't good at all, but we've got to move on,'' captain Sidney Crosby said.Radim Vrbata scored into the empty net with 53.7 seconds remaining to finish off the Coyotes' first shutout over the Penguins since Jan. 28, 1992, when the then-Winnipeg Jets won 4-0 at Pittsburgh.
''Facing the defending Stanley Cup champions, it was a big challenge for us and I think we played well,'' Bryzgalov said. ''It's a good turning point for us. The team has confidence right now.''
The Coyotes finish their trip Thursday at Buffalo before heading West for their home opener on Saturday, while the Penguins play at Philadelphia in the opener of a five-game trip.
They'll have to be a lot better than they were against the hard-working Coyotes.
''I don't think our guys went into the game with a lackadaisical effort,'' said Penguins coach Dan Bylsma, who lost in regulation for only the second time in thee regular season since taking over last February. ''I don't think they weren't focused on playing. When you don't execute, you're not paying attention to details, and your brain's not focused on what's coming at you and making the right play.''From the opening faceoff, it was apparent that the Coyotes had a lot more jump than the Penguins. Phoenix carried the play, and though the Coyotes couldn't capitalize on an early power play, they took advantage of the second half of a four-minute high-sticking call against Evgeni Malkin to open the scoring at 9:07.
Jovanovski was wide of the faceoff dot in the right circle when he took a pass from Shane Doan and zipped a wrist shot that beat backup goaltender Brent Johnson, who had Coyotes' forward Petr Prucha in his lap creating a screen.
The Coyotes continued to buzz, and Johnson kept the score at 1-0 a minute later when he robbed Doan with his catching glove after Doan picked up a rebound and appeared to have a wide-open net.
''We had a lot of penalties in first period, and some guys weren't able to get out there and get into it,''
The Penguins couldn't convert their first power-play chance late in the opening period, and after Crosby drew a second-period interference call at 5:22, he showed his frustration when he negated the power play at 6:50 by needlessly slashing Martin Hanzal.
The Coyotes didn't score on that chance, but they made it 2-0 after Brooks Orpik hooked Mikkel Boedker at the 10-minute mark. Prucha, no stranger to the Pens from his days with the New York Rangers, had been knocked down outside the crease but controlled the rebound of Vrbata's shot while on the seat of his pants and shoveled it past Johnson at 10:47.
''I was just waiting for a rebound or a tap-in in front of the net and I fell down,'' Prucha said. ''Vrby tried to score from the goal line and I just took the rebound while I was sitting on the ice.''As they did after scoring their first goal, the Coyotes kept up the pressure -- they barely missed taking a three-goal lead when Doan's 45-foot straightaway blast tipped Pens defenseman Jay McKee and beat Johnson but clanked off the post.
The Penguins thought they had scored when Alex Goligoski's wrister through traffic beat Bryzgalov at 14:31, but the goal was waved off because Matt Cooke was called for interfering with Jovanovski in front of the Coyotes' net.
Malkin missed the Penguins' best chance with just over a minute to go when defenseman Jim Vandermeer got a piece of his stick, forcing him to shoot wide of a half-empty net on a slick passing play from Goligoski to Tyler Kennedy. Malkin then gave the Penguins a power play with 16.9 seconds left in the period when he took a shot to the head from Jovanovski, who drew a roughing call.
Though the shots on goal were 18-18 after two periods, a better indication of which team carried the play through 40 minutes was the fact that Pittsburgh had blocked 15 shots, the Coyotes only 3.
Bryzgalov may have made his best save with 7:10 left when he took Jordan Staal's blast from the slot in the chest after Kennedy won the puck behind the net and passed it in front. But as happened all night, the Coyotes were first to the rebound and kept the Penguins from getting a second chance.
-- John Kreiser, NHL.com
Material from wire services and team online and broadcast media was used in this report