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Phoenix - Curtis Joseph
Dallas - Marty Turco
On Wednesday night, the Phoenix Coyotes dropped a 3-0 decision at the hands of their Pacific Division rivals, the Dallas Stars.
The Coyotes found themselves between a rock and a hard place early in the game as Yanic Perreault was handed a questionable tripping call just 30-seconds into the period. The Stars power play would turn into a five-on-three advantage 14-seconds later when Mike Ricci was forced into taking a hooking penalty to prevent a breakaway on goaltender Curtis Joseph.
Dallas went on the attack as they moved the puck around the zone and took a series of shots, which Joseph was able to turn aside. Then at 2:03 of the first, the Stars took the first lead of the game when Sergei Zubov unleashed a slap shot from the point that snuck between the goal post and Joseph's right leg to make it a 1-0 contest.
Zubov's fourth goal of the season came with 42-seconds left on the penalty to Ricci, leaving the Coyotes penalty killers with the task of trying to keep the Stars from adding to their lead. Phoenix would do just that as they made a pair of good clearing plays and returned to full strength.
As the period continued, the pace of play picked up considerably as the Coyotes and Stars traded offensive rushes. However, even with the increased pressure, neither club would have success in finding the back of the net as Dallas clung to their one-goal lead.
With less than two minutes to play in the first, Ladislav Nagy nearly tied the game when Nagy rushed into the Stars zone and ripped a shot from the right side, but netminder Marty Turco was able to make the stop and fall to the ice, covering the puck until the officials blew the whistle.
At 18:58 of the opening period, the Coyotes returned to the penalty box when Phoenix received a bench minor for too-many men on the ice. Oleg Saprykin served the penalty for the Coyotes.
Dallas would have no chance in adding to the lead over the final minute of the period as the Coyotes penalty killing unit stalled the offense of the Stars until the buzzer sounded.
After killing off the remainder of the bench minor for too-many men tot start the second period, the Coyotes found themselves on the power play for the first time when Dallas' Stephane Robidas was called for hooking at 1:37 of the period.
Unfortunately, Phoenix wouldn't be able to take full advantage of the extra attacker as defenseman Ed Jovanovski was sent to the box for tripping at 2:54 of the first, pitting the teams at four-on-four hockey. Following the expiration of the penalty to Robidas, the Coyotes penalty killers completed their assignment by keeping the Stars offense form adding to their lead, allowing Phoenix to return to full strength.
At 10:05 of the second, the Coyotes escaped what could have been a devastating play, without incident when defenseman Zbynek Michalek tripped, as he chased down a puck for an icing call, b y the stick of Dallas' Mathias Tjarnqvist. Michalek would crash into the board awkwardly, but luckily would escape injury.
As a result of his actions with his stick, Tjarnqvist would incur a two-minute penalty for tripping, giving the Coyotes their second power play of the night. Phoenix would get the puck into the Stars zone and register a series of shots on goal, but Turco was able to hold his position and keep the puck out of the Dallas net as the Coyotes man-advantage came to an end.
Near the three-minute mark, the Coyotes turned their offensive pressure up a notch as they backed the Stars' defensemen into their own zone and nearly evened the score when a shot from the right side went through the legs of Turco, but deflected off his own skate and out of the crease.
The Stars would make it a 2-0 game at 17:57 of the stanza when Jere Lehtinen captured a loose puck behind the Phoenix net and sent a pass into the slot where Dallas' Mike Ribeiro sent a wrist shot at the net that made it's way past Joseph on the strong side for his sixth goal of the season.
The final two minutes of the second would run off the clock with neither team registering a serious scoring chance, as the Coyotes headed to the locker room after 40-minutes of play trailing the Stars by two.
The Coyotes began the third penalty back on the penalty kill due to a late interference penalty taken by defenseman Derek Morris. The Stars nearly capitalized when Jere Lehtinen tried to take advantage of a Phoenix line change and headed into the Coyotes zone when he took a pass from behind the net and snapped a low, hard shot at the Coyotes net. However, "Cujo" made a great save to get his right leg pad on the shot and keep it out of the net.
At 2:52 of the period, the Coyotes regained the extra attacker when the Stars Trevor Daley was handed a minor penalty for holding-the-stick. Unfortunately, the Stars penalty killers would be able to keep Phoenix from getting a hold of rebounds near the front of the goal crease and the score remained 2-0.
The Coyotes had perhaps their best scoring opportunity of the game at 6:10 of the third when Shane Doan picked up a loose puck at the top of the crease and tried to lift it into the Stars' net, only to be robbed by a highlight glove save from Marty Turco.
Late in the third, Phoenix found themselves back in penalty trouble as Zbynek Michalek (holding-the-stick) and Derek Morris (roughing) were sent to the box within 31 seconds of each other, providing the Stars with their second five-on-three of the night.
Dallas would make the most of the five-on-three when defenseman Philippe Boucher blasted a one-timer from the top of the slot past Joseph at 17:30 of the third, giving the Stars a 3-0 lead.
The Coyotes continued to battle the Stars until the final horn, but would be unable to make a mark on the scoreboard as Phoenix fell to Dallas by the final score of 3-0.