(Photo Credit: Donald Miralle)
On Sunday, the Phoenix Coyotes concluded their four-game road trip with a 5-3 loss to the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim.
The first period of play would see the Ducks take a three goal lead, which was started by Anaheim forward Petr Sykora. At 9:56 of the period, Sykora moved across the slot from right to left, as Coyotes goaltender Curtis Joseph followed him, Sykora sent a shot back to the right. "Cujo" could only get a piece of the puck with his right legs pad as the Ducks to the 1-0 lead.
Anaheim's Teemu Selanne would make it a 2-0 game with 2:31 left in the period when he camped out at the right side of the Phoenix net and slammed a pass through the legs of Joseph for his fifth goal of the season.
Phoenix would take a costly penalty with seven seconds left in the period as Keith Ballard was called for interference. The Ducks would win the ensuing face-off and send a shot to the Coyotes goal. However just before the shot was to reach Joseph, Ducks forward Andy McDonald tipped the puck into the Phoenix net for the 3-2 lead with just 2 second left in the period.
The Coyotes climbed back into the game in the second period as former Anaheim forward Mike Leclerc let a shot go from the slot that fooled Ducks netminder Ilya Bryzgalov and found the back of the net making it a 3-1 game.
Then late in the second period, Leclerc would strike again as his shot from the right-hand boards somehow found room between Bryzgalov and the right goal post to get the Coyotes to within one goal after two periods of play.
With 15:19 to play in the third period, the Ducks went back up by two goals when Jonathan Hedstrom spotted a loose puck behind Phoenix's David LeNeveu, who replaced Joseph to start the second period, and flipped the puck into the Coyotes net for the 4-2 lead.
Coyote forward Geoff Sanderson would cut the lead back down to one when he took a pass from Paul Mara and fire a shot on goal that beat Bryzgalov through the five-hole to make it a 4-3 game.
Phoenix tried to mount one last offensive attack to score the game-tying goal by the Anaheim defense rose to the occasion and kept the Coyotes from getting to the Ducks net. With less than a minute to play in the game, LeNeveu made a rush over to the Coyotes bench, only to realize as he approached that the Ducks had stolen possession of the puck. As LeNeveu tried to recover and get back to the Phoenix goal, Anaheim's Rob Niedermayer fired a shot that reached the Coyotes net before LeNeveu did and gave the Ducks a 5-2 lead.
The final seconds of the game would tick off as the Coyotes finished their road trip with a .500 record and return home to prepare for Tuesday's game against St. Louis.
On Sunday, Mike Leclerc and Geoff Sanderson each scored two points against the Ducks. Leclerc scored two goals in the second period, while Sanderson added a third period goal to go along with his assist on Leclerc's second goal of the game.
The Coyotes penalty killing unit had both moments to remember and moments to forget in Sunday's contest. During one stretch in the second period, Phoenix killed off three consecutive penalties, including 20 seconds of five-on-three hockey, without a break. But Anaheim would convert on two of their remaining power plays.
Anaheim also scored a shorthanded goal in the third period as forward Ryan Getzlaf served a two-minute minor for delay of game.
Coyote forward Jamie Lundmark, who was acquired by Phoenix last Tuesday made his first appearance in the Phoenix sweater on Sunday. Lundmark skated the majority of the game on a line with Fredrik Sjostrom and Geoff Sanderson. Lundmark compiled 11:04 of ice time in his Coyotes debut.
The Coyotes will return to the ice on Tuesday as they host the St. Louis Blues at Glendale Arena. The game will be broadcast on in High-Definition on FSN HD, as well as being shown on FSN Arizona. Fans can also catch all the action on KDUS-1060 AM and KDKB 93.3 FM.