By: Chad Lynch
Photos by AP/Winslow Townson
On Sunday afternoon, the Phoenix Coyotes needed 60:30 to defeat the Boston Bruins 2-1 in overtime. The win marked the first time this season the Coyotes have put together a winning streak of three games and gave Phoenix their first victory in Boston in over nine years.
The Coyotes tried to establish a physical presence early the contest, but the unfortunate result was Phoenix defenseman Zbynek Michalek taking a holding penalty with 1:06 gone by the first, putting the Bruins on the first power play of the game. Boston wouldn't let the early opportunity pass them by as Boston's Marco Sturm, sent the puck to Patrice Bergeron behind the Coyotes net, who waited until he spotted an open Brian Leetch, who took a pass and one-timed a wrister by Coyotes goaltender Curtis Joseph for the 1-0 lead.
With 14:14 left to play in the period, Coyotes forward Oleg Saprykin was caught in a hit along the boards, which sent him to the ice in obvious pain. Phoenix trainer Chris Broadhurst came out to attend to Saprykin who, needed to be helped off the ice by Broadhurst and forward Mike Comrie. Once he reached the bench, Saprykin hobbled to the Coyotes locker room to undergo further examination.
At 8:18 of the period, the Coyotes went on the attack with their first power play of the contest as Boston's Marco Sturm was sent to the box for holding. With 52 seconds left in the man-advantage, the Coyotes appeared to have tied the game when a blast form the point by Jamie Lundmark beat Bruin goaltender Hannu Toivonen, but the on-ice officials were quick to waive off the goal citing goaltender interference by Phoenix's Dave Scatchard, who was pushed into the crease by Boston defenseman Hal Gill. Scatchard did not receive a penalty on the play, but the face-off did move to the neutral zone and allowed the Bruins to kill off the remainder of Sturm's penalty and return to full strength.
With 9:23 to play in the opening period, the Bruins took another trip to the penalty box when Brad Boyes was called for interference. Ladislav Nagy had a golden opportunity to tie the game when he got control of the puck just outside of the Bruins' crease and had Toivonen caught out of position. But Nagy's shot at the open net was tipped at the last second by the mask of Toivonen and deflected away from the traffic at the font of the net. The Coyotes would be unable to get pressure back on the Bruins during the penalty to Boyes as the penalty expired with Boston holding onto a one-goal lead.
The Coyotes wouldn't have to wait long for another crack at the power play as Alexei Zhamnov as called for hooking with 6:28 left in the first. But the Bruins continued to dominate on the penalty kill, holding the Coyotes to a limited number of shots as they kept their 1-0 lead intact heading into the final our minutes of play in the first period.
Jospeh made a great save in the final seconds of the period as Sturm picked up a loose puck along the boards in the Phoenix zone, rushed in a fired a low snap shot that just caught the right leg pad of Joseph to keep it a 1-0 game after 20 minutes of play.
Just 30 seconds into the second period, the Coyotes went back on the power play as Gill was called for interference on Scatchard, deep in the offensive zone. With the final seconds of the penalty to Gill ticking away, Coyote forward Mike Ricci made a final attempt to get the puck to the Bruins net as he fired a shot on goal and quickly followed up the shot, forcing Toivonen to cover the puck and run out the penalty to Gill.
Phoenix defenseman Matt Jones was sent to the box with 15:55 to play in the period when Sturm grabbed Jones' stick and fell to the ice. The official closest to the play could only see Jones standing above a fallen Sturm and assessed a minor penalty on the Coyotes. This time, the Bruins got a taste of the Coyotes elite penalty killing unit as they were kept off balance offensively and unable to generate a serious threat before the expiration of Jones' penalty.
At 11:23 of the second period, the Coyotes nearly tied the game for a third time as a streaking Geoff Sanderson put a one-timer on net, but Toivonen made a great save moving from his left to right to keep the puck out of the net and maintain a one-goal lead for the Bruins.
Coyotes forward Petr Nedved took his first penalty of the game with 7:51 to play in the second as he was called for boarding. The Bruins wouldn't be able to exploit the full two minutes of the Nedved penalty as Boston's Jiri Slegr took an interference penalty with just over six minutes left in the period. The Coyotes tried to find a rhythm offensively once Nedved returned to the ice, but as he had done earlier, Toivonen made a pair of big saves to keep the Coyotes off the scoreboard.
Late in the period, Phoenix again crashed the net in an attempt to try and find a way past Toivonen, but the Bruins netminder was equal to the challenge turning aside all shots to keep the Bruins up by one after two periods of play.
The Coyotes received another power play, just 42 seconds into the final period when Boston's Eric Nickulas was called for high-sticking. After failing to convert on their first five man-advantages of the contest, Phoenix finally found the back of the net on this power play. After wining a face-of deep in the Boston zone, the Coyotes got the puck to Petr Nedved along the left-hand boards. Nedved waited patiently until he found an open Nagy at the left side of the crease. Once he got the puck, Nagy quickly made his way to the front of the Bruins goal and tried to stuff the puck in. After being stopped on the doorstep, Coyote forward Mike Johnson took a swipe at the puck too and his shot found an opening under the left leg of Toivonen to tie the game at 1-1 in the third period.
Shortly after tying the game, the Coyotes again found themselves needing to kill off a penalty as Michalek was called for holding. But the Phoenix penalty-killing unit looked sharp as they kept the Bruins contained to the perimeter of the offensive zone and refused to give-up a go-ahead goal.
As the period neared the half-way mark, the Coyotes found themselves being dominated by the Boston tempo of play, despite the nearly two-to-one (27-15) shot advantage held by Phoenix.
With 8:54 left in the third period, the Bruins went back on a power play after a absurd call on Curtis Joseph. Bruins forward P.J. Axelsson went through the Coyotes crease and caught his skate on the stick of Joseph causing him to fall to the ice. In what should have been seen as just an incidental contact, Joseph was called for tripping. Fortunately, the outrageousness of the cal seemed to provide the Coyotes with extra incentive as they kept the Bruins out of the Phoenix zone and killed off the penalty with ease.
The Bruins caught a break at 15:20 of the final stanza when Alexei Zhamnov flipped the puck into the stands for what should have resulted in a delay-of-game penalty on the Boston forward. But the officials changed their minds and the teams stayed at full strength.
Six seconds after the "non-call" on Zhamnov, the Coyotes Ladislav Nagy, was given a minor penalty for hooking. But the Bruins again had the unenviable task of facing the Phoenix penalty-killing unit, which kept the Boston attack to a controllable level and returned to full strength.
The Coyotes would try to get one more goal in the final seconds of the period, but this Sunday matinee was destined for overtime as the score was knotted at 1-1 after 60-minutes of hockey.
The five-minute overtime period would only last 30 seconds as Coyote forward Ladislav Nagy made a highlight end-to-end rush, capped off by a wicked wrist shot through the legs of Bruin defenseman David Tanabe, who gave the Coyote forward enough room to maneuver and score the goal for a 2-1 Coyotes victory.
MARA TRAVEL TO MONTREAL
On Sunday, Paul Mara made plans to travel to Montreal on Monday to meet up with his teammates.
Mara missed Sunday's game with flu-like symptoms and is currently listed as day-to-day.
The Coyotes will return to action on Tuesday when they face the Montreal Canadiens in the first meeting of the season between the two clubs. The game is scheduled to start at 5:30 p.m. and you can catch all the action on FSN Arizona, KDUS-1060 AM or on phoenixcoyotes.com by clicking on the "Listen Live" link in the Game Day section.
NEXT HOME GAME
Phoenix will return to the Glendale Arena on Thursday, Dec. 15, 2005 when they take on the defending Stanley Cup Champion Tampa Bay Lightning. The game will be broadcast on FSN High Definition as well as FSN Arizona. You can also listen to the game on KDUS-1060 AM, KDKB-93.3 FM or on phoenixcoyotes.com by clicking on the "Listen Live" link in the Game Day section.
Thursday's game will also be a Bud Light "Friends Night Out" game. Get 2 tickets, 2 orders of buffalo chicken strips and 2 16-ounce beers or sodas for only $50.00! Or you can upgrade your tickets to the lower level for only $100.00 per package.
To purchase a Bud Light "Friends Night Out" package for Thursday's game, click here.
To purchase regular tickets for Thursday's game, click here.