Photo Credit: Norm Hall
COYOTES STARTING LINE-UP
(LW) Fredrik Sjostrom - (C) Yanic Perreault - (RW) Shane Doan
(D) Dennis Seidenberg - (D) Derek Morris
KINGS STARTING LINE-UP
(LW) Derek Armstrong - (C) Mike Cammalleri - (RW) Tom Kostopoulos
(D) Mattias Norstrom - (D) Lubomir Visnovsky
Phoenix - Curtis Joseph
Los Angeles - Dan Cloutier
On Thursday night, the Phoenix Coyotes captured their fourth consecutive win on home ice as they crushed the Los Angeles Kings, 7-4.
During the first minute of play, the Kings were able to get the puck deep in the Coyotes zone where they cycled the puck around the boards before a big hit by Phoenix forward Dave Scatchard resulted in a boarding penalty and a Los Angeles power play.
The Kings would continue to pressure the Coyotes in their own end and at 2:14 of the first, would take the lead when a shot from high in the slot by Lubomir Visnovsky was tipped at the top of the crease by Derek Armstrong and deflected past goaltender Curtis Joseph and into the net.
It turned out that Armstrong's goal was just the start of an offensive barrage for both teams that would last a little over three minutes and see four goals scored.
Phoenix would strike next at 4:06 of the period as a long pass from Patrick Fischer sent Ladislav Nagy on a breakaway, where the Coyotes sniper wristed a shot past netminder Dan Cloutier on the stick side to even the score at 1-1.
Only 11-seconds later, Los Angeles would re-take the lead when a cross-ice flip pass from the Kings' Armstrong, was caught and settled by Brian Willsie before being sent back across the crease to Mike Cammalleri, who needed only to tip the puck into the net for his 10th goal of the season.
But just over a minute later, Phoenix again evened the score when Oleg Saprykin took a pass from Mike Zigomanis, who was set-up behind the Los Angeles net; and roofed a shot over the shoulder of Cloutier to make it a 2-2 contest.
The parade of pucks entering the net would take a brief break, but there was no shortage of action as Coyotes forward Josh Gratton and the Kings' Jeff Cowan dropped the gloves at center ice for the first tussle of the period. The battle was anything but that as Gratton wasted no time in absolutely punishing Cowan with a devastating right hand and quickly crippled Cowan as he hit the ice and covered for protection. Both men would receive five-minutes in the penalty box for their participation.
The Coyotes would take their first lead of the night at 8:55 of the first when Zbynek Michalek's long shot from the left point, deflected off a Kings player in front of the goal and re-directed past Cloutier.
Just 31-seconds later, it appeared that Phoenix had taken a two-goal lead when a shot from the left side slid through the legs of Cloutier and into the goal. However, the Coyotes goal was immediately waived off by the on-ice officials as a result of an early whistle that had been blown before the puck crossed the goal line. Despite catching a break and having the goal waived off, Los Angeles Head Coach Marc Crawford had seen enough out of his starting netminder and pulled Cloutier in favor of rookie Barry Brust.
Phoenix nearly took advantage of Brust, who was playing in his first NHL game, less than a minute later when a shot from the left side by Owen Nolan beat the young goalkeeper before ricocheting off the left goal post and away from the net.
At 13:28 of the period, another battle broke out, this time featuring Georges Laraque and Los Angeles' Raitis Ivanans. The two would exchange a series of big punches before Laraque was able to over-power Ivanans and throw him to the ice.
Los Angeles would go back on the power play at 15:55 of the period when Ed Jovanovski was handed a minor penalty for holding-the-stick. Working with the extra attacker, the Kings brought the puck low in the offensive zone where they fired a shot on net, which Joseph stopped and inadvertently sent the rebound to the left side of the goal where Craig Conroy quickly threw a shot back at the net. Joseph tried to get over to make the save but couldn't keep the puck out of net.
Fortunately, the tie would only last 39-seconds, with Ladislav Nagy sending a perfect pass ot Patrick Fischer in the slot, where he snapped a shot past Brust for a 4-3 lead just before the end of the first period of play.
Phoenix's good fortunes would continue into the second period with Los Angeles forward Sean Avery being sent to the box at the 17-second mark for slashing.
Again, the Coyotes wasted no time bringing the attack back into the zone and at 55-seconds of the period, increased their lead to 5-3 when captain Shane Doan one-timed a feed from Jovanovski at the point, past Brust for his fifth goal of the season. Ladislav Nagy also recorded a secondary assist on Doan's goal for his fourth point of the evening.
At 7:33 of the stanza, the Kings cut the Coyotes lead to 5-4 when Armstrong, who was breaking through the slot, caught a pass from the point and put a wrist shot on goal that found the back of the net, for his second tally of the game.
With just under six minutes to play in the second, Avery tried to even the score with a blast from the point that was headed for the lower left corner of the net, but "Cujo" reached down and made a huge glove save to keep Phoenix on top by one.
As the period wore on, the Kings continued to try and even the score as they fed shot after shot at the Phoenix net, but failed solve Joseph as the Coyotes held on to a 5-4 lead after 40-minutes of play.
The pace of play would pick up significantly in the third period with both clubs making end-to-end rushes in search of offense. However, both Joseph and Brust were holding their ground, turning everything that came their way aside as the first half of the period slipped off the clock.
Phoenix would pick up some breathing room at 11:14 of the third when the line of Saprykin, Zigomanis and Laraque struck again. This time it was Zigomanis who would lift a shot from the near post, over Brust and into the net for a 6-4 lead.
Then at 15:54 of the period, Zigomanis added his second goal of the night when he re-directed a shot from the point by Michalek, into the Los Angeles net for a 7-4 Coyotes lead. Zigomanis' second goal of the period, gave him three points on the night, setting a new career high.
That would be all Phoenix would need as they ran out the clock on the final minutes of play to capture their fourth consecutive win on home ice, defeating the Los Angeles Kings by the final score of 7-4.