On Thursday night, the Coyotes dropped a 3-2 decision to the Vancouver Canucks as Phoenix moved to 2-1-0 on their current road trip.
In the opening period, the Coyotes demonstrated the same tenacity and determination that helped lead them to victories over the Calgary Flames and Edmonton Oilers earlier this week. However, the Canucks would be the first team to crack the scoreboard as Ed Jovanovski camped out at the top of the crease and deflected a pass from Markus Naslund along the left hand boards, through the legs of Joseph for the 1-0 lead.
The Coyotes wouldn't tie the game in the opening period, but they did receive a boost when rookie defenseman Keith Ballard dropped the gloves with Anson Carter inside the Phoenix zone. Both players landed a few good punches before the officials could break up the spat and send both men to the penalty box for fighting.
In the second period, Ballard again raised the spirits of his teammate, this time as he scored his second goal of the season to tie the game at 1-1. The goal came when Ballard took a lead pass from Ladislav Nagy at the Canucks blue line, then raced in on Vancouver netminder Dan Cloutier and flipped the puck over his shoulder an into the net for the goal.
Nine minutes later, the Canucks would re-take the lead when a slap shot off the stick of Nolan Baumgartner from the right face-off circle, beat Coyotes goaltender Curtis Joseph for the 2-1 lead.
But Phoenix would fight back and just over a minute later, Geoff Sanderson and Mike Comrie entered the Vancouver zone on a two-on-two. Comrie made a great pass to Sanderson, through both Vancouver defenders leaving Sanderson an open net to drop the puck in and tie the game at 2-2. The goal was Sanderson's first of the season and first since joining the Coyotes.
In the third period, a controversial play would wind up being the difference maker as Jovanovski drove to the Phoenix net, only to have his shot turned aside by Joseph. But Canuck forward Matt Cooke, who was following up the play, flipped the puck into the Coyotes net, just before it was dislodged. The Coyotes argued that the goal was lifted off the ice when the puck crossed the line, therefore the goal should not be allowed, but the off-ice officials in the video replay booth disagreed and the goal was awarded to Vancouver, giving them a 3-2 lead.
Phoenix would try and tie the game late in the third period as they worked on the power play and pulled "Cujo" from the nets for a two man-advantage, but in the end were unable to get another puck by Cloutier as Vancouver held on for a 3-2 win.
CUJO SHINES IN LOSS
Coyotes goaltender Curtis Joseph was simply amazing on Thursday night as he stopped 35 of the 38 shots he faced in the game.
Joseph, who was trying to record the 400th victory of his career, will get another chance to reach the milestone in his next start.
One area of their game where the Coyotes will certainly be disappointed in is taking penalties. On Thursday, Phoenix was called for 10 penalties in the game. Two of which would prove costly as the Canucks scored their first and second goals of the game on the man-advantage.
Coyotes forward JamieLundmark, who was acquired by the team on Tuesday from the New York Rangers, did not play in Thursday's contest. Lundmark could make his debut in a Coyotes sweater on Sunday in Anaheim.
The Coyotes will rap up their current four game road trip on Sunday when the club travels to Anaheim to face the Mighty Ducks. The game is scheduled to start at 1:00 p.m. and can be seen on FSN Arizona or heard on KDUS-1060 AM.