By Sergey Kocharov
Photos by Norm Hall
Shane Doan scored two goals while Ladislav Nagy and Keith Ballard each recorded four assists as the Phoenix Coyotes beat the Florida Panthers 6-3 on Thursday night.
Zbynek Michalek, Dave Scatchard, Paul Mara and Geoff Sanderson all scored for the Coyotes, who had five power play goals on eight opportunities and bounced back after Monday's disappointing loss to the Washington Capitals.
"It's good to just get the win and it was nice for our power play to contribute and get a lot of goals," said Doan. "It gave us a chance to play with the lead. If you want to win in the league now, you have to have a good power play and when that's going it makes it a lot easier."
The road struggles, meanwhile, continued for the Panthers, who dropped to 5-17-4 on the season away from the BankAtlantic Center. After two periods, Florida trailed 5-2 and surrendered four power play goals while being out-shot 28-21.
"We took too many penalties and when we did take them, we couldn't keep the puck out of the net," said Florida Head Coach Jacques Martin. "When you give up five power play goals, you are not going to win the game."
The Coyotes got off to a quick start scoring three goals in the first period and two in the second to chase Panthers netminder Roberto Luongo.
"It was good for us to come out hard right away and have a good first period," said Ballard. "We got a little bit of confidence and we continued it through the rest of the game. "
Michalek started the scoring for the Coyotes at the 6:00 mark of the first period when his shot from the point found its way in past Luongo. The lead was short lived as Florida capitalized on their first power play opportunity of the period just 1:31 later. With traffic in front of the net, Martin Gelinas knocked in the rebound past Curtis Joseph to record his ninth goal of the season.
Doan followed with two consecutive power play goals to give the Coyotes their first two-goal lead of the game. His first goal came with 3:49 left in the period when he solved Luongo after two rebound attempts. Doan capped the first period scoring just 2:48 later beating Luongo with a wrist shot from the slot.
"When we score, we score dirty goals," said Phoenix Head Coach Wayne Gretzky. "By that I mean tip-ins, deflections, battling in front of the net. You just have to look at the statistics for our players. That's our make up right now and we have to live with what we have."
Jozef Stumpel made it 3-2 at 5:41 of the second period, but Dave Scatchard countered for Phoenix midway through the period by redirecting Mike Comrie's shot on the power play.
Paul Mara made it 5-2 with 1:05 left in the second period when he tipped a shot from the right side of the net.
"You have to give them credit," said former Coyote Chris Gratton. "They worked it around real well. But, at the same time we took some undisciplined penalties that ended up costing us."
The Coyotes final goal of the night came off the stick of Geoff Sanderson when he easily tipped hard pass from Ballard at the blue line past Jamie McLennan to make it a 6-3 contest.
Center Dave Scatchard returned to the Coyotes lineup after missing the last five games with a groin injury. Petr Nedved and Steve Gainey were healthy scratches for Phoenix.
THOMAS STEEN NIGHT
On Saturday, the Phoenix Coyotes will add Thomas Steen to the Ring of Honor at Glendale Arena. The ceremony will take place immediately prior to the start of the game.
MR POTATO HEAD
The first 10,000 fans in attendance at Saturday's game against the Edmonton Oilers will receive a free Mr. Phoenix Coyotes Mr. Potato Head.
The Coyotes will conclude their three-game homestand on Saturday night against the Edmonton Oilers. The game is schedule to start at 7:00 p.m., will be broadcast on WB6 and can be heard on KDUS-1060AM, KDKB-93.3FM or phoenixcoyotes.com by clicking on the "Listen Live" link in the Game Day section.