(Photos courtesy of Norm Hall)
On Saturay night, the Phoenix Coyotes defeated the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim in
dramatic fashion as Coyote defenseman Zbynek Michalek scored the winning goal mid-way through the overtime session, giving the Coyotes a boost of momentum as the club heads into the regular season.
In the opening period, it was the Ducks who jumped out to the early 2-0 lead on the back of a pair of power play goals.
"We got off to rough start when we went down by two early," said Phoenix goaltender Curtis Joseph. "The bright sport for us was that we didn't loose our focus and we battled back and found a way to win, which is something we haven't done recently."
The Coyotes began their comeback in the second period when Jeff Taffe lifted a wrist shot past Anaheim netminder Ilya Bryzgalov to cut the Ducks lead to 2-1.
Two minutes later the Coyotes tied the game when captain Shane Doan pounced on a loose puck at the left side of the Ducks' net and slammed it in for the tying mark.
The Ducks would answer the tying goal as Joffrey Lupul scored from the right face-off circle late in the second period to give Anaheim their final lead of the night.
In the third period, the Coyotes fought to generate the tying goal and at 13:05 of the period, forward Mike Ricci answered the call. Ricci quickly made his way to the front of the Ducks' net and tried to tip several shots from the point in, with no success. Finally, a centering pass from the right side by Mike Rupp, made its way to the slot where Ricci deflected the puck past the outstretched leg of Bryzgalov and into the net, tying the game at 3-3.
Phoenix tried to finish the game late in the third period, but a series of saves by Bryzgalov sent the contest into overtime.
In the extra session, the Coyotes wasted no time setting up in the offensive zone as they tried to complete their comeback. Then with 2:30 left in overtime, Zbynek Michalek found a rebound in the slot near the left face-off circle. From there, the young blueliner took advantage of Bryzgalov being stuck out of position on the right side of the net, as he blasted a shot into the open goal giving the Coyotes a 4-3 victory.
"The coaches had told me before my shift, that if I had the chance to jump into the play, to do it," said Michalek. "When I moved into the slot I found some room and Oleg (Saprykin) saw me and from there it was pretty easy to put it in the open net.
The victory completes the Coyotes preseason schedule, now the team will prepare for Wednesday's season opener against the Canucks at G.M. Place in Vancouver.
Over the course of the 2005-06 preseason, the Coyotes have had to deal with a series of minor injuries. A handful of players were held out of Saturday's preseason finale as their availability for Wednesday's contest in Vancouver is still up in the air.
"At this point, I am not sure whether all of the guys are going to be able to play on Wednesday," said Coyotes Head Coach Wayne Gretzky. "They are making progress, but we still have not made a decision."
Brian Boucher - suffered a groin injury on September 16, 2005. With no definitive return date in place, Boucher continues to workout off the ice. He is currently listed as day-to-day.
Tyson Nash - suffered a wrist injury last week. Nash continues to practice with the team and is expected to play on opening night in Vancouver.
Petr Nedved - suffered a groin injury on September 30, 2005. Nedved will be re- eval uated by the Coyotes training staff early next week. He is currently listed as day-to-day.
Ladislav Nagy - suffered a right shoulder injury on September 30, 2005. Nagy will be re- eval uated by the Coyotes training staff early next week. He is currently listed as day-to-day.
Jason Chimera - suffered a rib injury on September 30, 2005. Chimera will be re- eval uated by the Coyotes training staff early next week. He is currently listed as day-to-day.
TIME CHANGE REMINDER
Wednesday's season opener in Vancouver, which was originally scheduled for a 7:00 p.m. start, was changed yesterday to a 7:30 p.m. start time.
Fans can catch all the action of Wednesday's game on FSN Arizona as well as listen to live radio broadcasts on KDUS -1060 AM and KDKB - 93.3 FM.
COYOTES READY FOR REGULAR SEASON