(Photo credit: AP/Mark J. Terrill)
On Sunday, the Phoenix Coyotes dropped a 3-2 decision to Pacific Division rivals the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim.
The Coyotes got off on the right foot Sunday when Geoff Sanderson tripped a pass from Mike Comrie past Anaheim goaltender Jean-Sebastien Giguere at the 8:58 mark of the opening period for the 1-0 Phoenix lead.
The Ducks would struggle to find rhythm offensively in the opening 20 minutes of play and as a result found themselves trailing 1-0 heading into the second period.
However, what offense the Ducks couldn't find in the first period suddenly became readily available in the second as Anaheim veteran sniper Teemu Selanne's slat shot from the slot, found a hole through a screen and made its way past Coyotes netminder David LeNeveu to tie the contest at 1-1. While the Ducks continued to pour on the offensive attack, LeNeveu held his ground and made a series of highlight saves, including a terrific glove stop on Jonathan Hedstrom mid-way through the period.
Just when it looked like the two clubs would head into the locker rooms tied after two periods of play, Anaheim's Andy McDonald scored his fourth goal of the season off a give-and-go with Selanne with 45 seconds left in the period to give the Ducks a 2-1 lead heading into the third period.
In the third period, the Coyotes made up for Anaheim's late goal in the second period by scoring one of their own in the first minute of the third. This time it was former Duck Mike Leclerc, who scored twice against his former club just seven days ago, who would tie the game at 2-2 for Phoenix. Leclerc made a smart move by circling around the back of the Anaheim goal while his line mates crashed the net. Giguere was making a series of saves from in close but couldn't control the rebounds and when one trickled over to the left side of the net, Leclerc was already there waiting and he tucked it in for his fifth team-leading fifth goal of the season.
But the tie wouldn't last long as Mcdonals struck again, this time at 3:01 of the third when his wrist shot beat LeNeveu high to the glove side to give Anaheim a 3-2 lead.
Phoenix would try valiantly to tie the game again, but this time the Ducks defense stiffened and was able to withstand the Coyotes attack as Anaheim held on for a 3-2 victory.
NEVER FORGET YOUR FIRST
Coyotes defenseman Keith Ballard recorded his first career NHL assist on Sunday night when he helped set up the goal by Geoff Sanderson in the first period.
Ballard now has registered three points (2 goals, 1 assists) and a team-leading 29 penalty minutes in 14 games this season.
MAGIC NUMBER: 10
The Coyotes have scored at least one goal in each of the last three periods where they produced more than 10 shots on goal. When Phoenix has generated less than 10 shots on goal, they have only scored in two of the last five periods.
On Sunday night, only four Coyotes players logged more than 20 minutes of ice time, all four of which were defensemen.
Keith Ballard (21:41), Paul Mara (25:47), David Tanabe (23:07) and Derek Morris (22:04) all skated in 20-plus minutes against Anaheim.
BOUCHER TRAVELS TO SAN ANTONIO
On Saturday, Coyotes goaltender Brian Boucher traveled to San Antonio to join the Coyotes AHL affiliate, the Rampage for a conditioning assignment.
Boucher was originally injured in the first pre-season game against the Minnesota Wild when he made a save in the shootout round.
Earlier this week, Boucher went to San Antonio to begin his conditioning assignment but suffered a knee strain in Wednesday's practice. Boucher then returned to Phoenix where he underwent an MRI, which revealed there was no damage to the knee.
Boucher will likely make a couple starts in San Antonio before he is ready to re-join the Coyotes.
BACK HOME ON NOV. 3RD
Phoenix will return home to Glendale Arena on November 3rd when they play host to the Los Angeles Kings. The game will be the second broadcast of the season on FSNHD and can also be heard on KDUS-1060 AM or KDKB-93.3 FM. To purchase tickets for next Thursday's game, click here.