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COYOTES DROP 3-2 CONTEST IN ANAHEIM

by Staff Writer / Arizona Coyotes
By: Chad Lynch

Photo Credit: Jeff Gross/Getty Images

STARTING GOALTENDERS
Phoenix - Curtis Joseph
Anaheim - Ilja Bryzgalov

WEDNESDAY'S LINE UP
Forwards
(LW) Ladislav Nagy - (C) Steven Reinprecht - (RW) Owen Nolan
(LW) Mike Comrie - (C) Peter Mueller - (RW) Shane Doan
(LW) Oleg Saprykin - (C) Patrick Fischer - (RW) Dave Scatchard
(LW) Tyson Nash - (C) Joel Perrault - (RW) Josh Gratton

Defensemen
Derek Morris - Keith Yandle
Dennis Seidenberg - Zbynek Michalek
Matt Jones - Nick Boynton

Goaltenders
Curtis Joseph
Mike Morrison

On Wednesday night, the Phoenix Coyotes dropped a 3-2 contest to Pacific Division rivals, the Anaheim Ducks.

The Coyotes won the opening draw of the game and immediately made their way into the Ducks zone, where Steven Reinprecht blasted a shot that sailed just wide of the Anaheim net. The Ducks then brought the puck back into the Phoenix zone where Anaheim defenseman Chris Pronger unleashed a slap shot from the top of the offensive zone that was turned aside by Coyotes goaltender Curtis Joseph.

Phoenix would be the first club to take a turn on the penalty kill when forward Josh Gratton was sent to the box at 3:09 of the opening period for holding. The Coyotes would hold the Ducks to only two shots and defenseman Nick Boynton would block another as the penalty to Gratton expired and the Coyotes returned to full strength still tied at 0-0.

Anaheim wouldn't have to wait long for a second power play opportunity as Phoenix forward Patrick Fisher was called for interference at 6:02 of the first. Just over a minute into the power play, the Ducks would capitalize as Scott Niedermayer tipped a shot by Andy McDonald past Joseph for the 1-0 lead.

A minute later at 8:12 of the frame, Phoenix found themselves shorthanded for the third time in five minutes with Oleg Saprykin making his first trip to the box for high-sticking. This time, the Coyotes penalty-killing unit was equal to the task as they kept the Ducks from generating a sustained offensive attack and allowed just a single shot on goal before Saprykin was allowed to leave the box and rejoin his teammates.

With just under eight minutes remaining in the period, Anaheim once again found themselves with the extra attacker when defenseman Derek Morris was whistled for cross-checking. The Coyotes would improve to three-for-four on the penalty kill as the quelled the Ducks attack. Then, once back at full strength, the Coyotes made their own onslaught into the Anaheim zone. Saprykin led the charge registering a trio of shots in a span of 18-seconds. However, Bryzgalov was able to stay in position and stop the Phoenix attack before they could pull even on the scoreboard.

The Ducks would make their first trip to the penalty box at 17:47 of the first when Chris Kunitz was called for hooking. Coyotes Joel Perrault and Nick Boynton were both able to place a shot on goal, but despite the extra attacker, Phoenix could not find the back of the net and the penalty, followed shortly by the period, expired with Anaheim holding on to a 1-0 lead.

The beginning of the second period wouldn't be any easier for the Coyotes as a high-stick by Oleg Saprykin 14-seconds into the stanza, put Phoenix back on the penalty kill. The Coyotes penalty-killers would rise to the occasion again and keep the ducks from added to their lead.

At 3:31 of the second, the Ducks run of good lick continued with Coyotes Josh Gratton (slashing) and Matt Jones (high-sticking) being sent to the penalty box and giving the Ducks a two-man advantage. Anaheim would use the power play to their advantage as they stepped up their offensive pressure in the Coyotes zone. The increased pressure would pay off at 5:31 of the period, when the penalties to Gratton and Jones had just expired, with neither player had been able to get back into the play, Anaheim's Chris Perry scored on a wrap-around to give the Ducks a two-goal lead.

Phoenix would get a chance to climb back into the contest at 8:10 of the second when Anaheim defenseman and former Coyote, Sean O'Donnell was sent to the penalty box for hooking, resulting in just the second power play of the game for the visiting Coyotes. Unfortunately, Dave Scatchard would be the only coyote to register a shot-on-goal with the extra attacker, allowing the Ducks to return to full strength still leading 2-0.

Saprykin would venture back to the box at 10:46 when he was assessed a two-minute minor penalty for hooking. Seconds into the penalty to Saprykin, Boynton showed his physical side as he registered a bone crushing hit on an Anaheim forward.

Shortly after the hit by Boynton, Anaheim's Chris Pronger took a penalty of his own for interference, resulting in four-on-four hockey for a minute before a brief Phoenix power play. While skating four-on-four, the Coyotes made a valiant effort to finally get on the scoreboard when Keith Yandle (slap shot), Peter Mueller (tip) and Saprykin (snap shot) flooded the Ducks net. Boynton would blast a slap shot from the top of the circle as well, but Bryzgalov was on the top of his game, turning the Coyotes drives aside and preserving Anaheim's lead.

Goaltender Curtis Joseph would be handed a roughing penalty of his own with five-minutes to play in the period. Rookie Peter Mueller would serve the penalty for Phoenix and the Coyotes penalty-killers did the rest, keeping the pressure off Joseph and returning to full strength without allowing an Anaheim goal.

With less than a minute to play in the second, emotions finally boiled over when Coyotes right wing Owen Nolan and Anaheim's Shane O'Brien dropped the gloves. Both combatants would receive five-minute majors for their efforts.

At 19:23 of the second, Saprykin made his fourth visit to the penalty box, this time for tripping. 20-seconds later, Derek Morris would e sent to the box for hooking and while the Ducks wouldn't convert before the end of the second period, they still had 1:23 of five-on-three hockey waiting for them to start the third period.

Anaheim opened the third period with offensive force in an attempt to move ahead by three goals. Ryan Getzlaf and Chris Pronger, each registered long slap shots on goal, only to be stopped by Joseph.

At 2:18 of the third period, the two clubs returned to four-on-four hockey when Phoenix's Patrick Fischer and Anaheim's Samuel Pahlsson were called for diving and hooking respectively. Neither team would be able to take advantage of the extra ice during four-on-four play and both clubs returned to full strength.

Coyotes forward Mike Comrie took his first penalty of the game when he was called for roughing at 4:13 of the third. The Ducks received a pair of shots from Pronger and Kunitz before Comrie returned to the ice.

Anaheim's Chris Perry gave the Coyotes a huge third period power ply at 8:24 of the period when he was sent to the box for tripping. The Coyotes wouldn't be able to convert on the power play, but just four seconds after the infraction on Perry expired, Phoenix forward Dave Scatchard's wrist shot beat Bryzgalov and cut the deficit to 2-1. Coyotes Joel Perrault and Nick Boynton registered assists on Scatchard's first goal of the pre-season.

Before the Coyotes could build on the momentum from Scatchard's goal, Comrie took his second penalty of the period (hooking), giving the Ducks their 14th power play of the night. Anaheim's Getzlaf and Niedermayer tried to re-gain the two-goal lead for the Ducks, but Joseph stopped their shots and kept the Coyotes within striking distance.

The Ducks would take a 3-1 lead on the Coyotes with just under five-minutes to play when Todd Marchant's slap shot found the back of the net and re-established a a two-goal lead for Anaheim.

Phoenix made the task of mounting a comeback even more difficult when Derek Morris returned to the penalty box at 17:27 of the third, this time facing an unsportsmanlike penalty. But once again, the Coyotes penalty-killers stood on their head and kept the Anaheim attack from gaining momentum and killed off their 14th penalty of the contest.

The Coyotes would pull back to within one on a goal by defenseman Keith Yandle at 19:58 of the third. Perrault and Scatchard recorded the assists on Yandle's goal, but with just two-seconds remaining on the clock, the Coyotes had run out of time to complete their comeback and time expired as the Coyotes fell to Anaheim 3-2.

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