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COYOTES DROP 4-2 DECISION TO VANCOUVER

by Staff Writer / Arizona Coyotes
By: Chad Lynch

Photo Credit: Norm Hall

COYOTES STARTING LINE-UP
(LW) Fredrik Sjostrom - (C) Mike Zigomanis - (RW) Mathias Tjarnqvist
(D) Keith Ballard - (D) Zbynek Michalek

CANUCKS STARTING LINE-UP
(LW) Daniel Sedin - (C) Henrik Sedin - (RW) Taylor Pyatt
(D) Brent Sopel - (D) Lukas Krajicek

STARTING GOALTENDERS
Phoenix - Curtis Joseph
Vancouver - Dany Sabourin

On Thursday night, the Phoenix Coyotes dropped a 4-2 decision to the Northwest Division leading Vancouver Canucks.

Through the first six minutes of the game, play only stopped twice as both teams raced up and down the ice trying to develop an early offensive presence. However, each club would approach the seven-minute mark with just two shots on goal and nothing to show for it as Phoenix goaltender Curtis Joseph and Vancouver netminder Dany Sabourin kept the game deadlocked at 0-0.

At 7:50 of the first, the Canucks offense struck first when forward Jeff Cowan raced in from the left side and made a play to kick the puck up to his own stick where he then backhanded a shot past Joseph for his sixth goal of the season.

Less than a minute later, Vancouver almost added to their lead when a bouncing puck headed toward a opening at the side of the Phoenix net. Luckily, forward Mathias Tjarnqvist was able to sweep the puck away before it could reach the net, allowing him to move the puck back up ice.

Canucks forward Brendan Morrison extended Vancouver's lead to 2-0 at 9:26 of the period when defenseman Brent Sopel unleashed a rocket shot from the point that Morrison was able to tip at the left side of the net and send into the Coyotes' goal. Defenseman Mathias Ohlund registered the secondary assist on Morrison's 18th tally of the year.

Three minutes later, at 12:33 of the first, Vancouver struck again when Markus Naslund took a feed from Bryan Smolinski in the corner, skated in on the Joseph and flipped a shot into the net to put the Canucks on top 3-0.

Less than a minute later, Joseph was forced to throw his goal stick at a loose puck to keep it from entering the net and as a result, Vancouver was awarded a penalty shot. Forward Daniel Sedin took the shot for the Canucks and was stooped by the right leg of "Cujo" when he tried to slide the puck in on the strong side..

With just four seconds left in the opening period, the Coyotes received the first power play of the night when Daniel Sedin was sent to the box for hooking. The final seconds of the first would quickly evaporate and Phoenix would begin the second period with nearly a full man-advantage.

Through the first eight minutes of the second period, the Coyotes out-shot the Canucks 4-2 but were still unable to solve Sabourn as the Vancouver netminder preserved his club's three-goal lead.

At 8:55 of the second, the Canucks made it a 4-0 game when Sami Salo blasted a slap shot from the point, through traffic and into the Phoenix net.

The Coyotes would fight back and make their first mark on the scoreboard at 11:38 of the second when Derek Morris' pass to the top of the slot was taken by captain Shane Doan; and deflected past Sabourin to make it a 4-1 game. Steven Reinprecht recorded his 16th assist of the season Doan's team-leading 24th goal.

Less than a minute later, the Coyotes went back on the power play as Vancouver's Mathias Ohlund failed to control his stick, resulting in a high stick to the face of Doan. However, the Canucks penalty killing unit was able to keep the Phoenix power play from moving to within two during the ensuing power play.

Coyotes' defenseman Nick Boynton was called for holding late in second period and while Phoenix would be able to keep Vancouver's offense from adding to their lead during the remainder of the second period, the Canucks would have nearly 30-seconds of power play time waiting for them at the start of the third.

Early in the third period, the Canucks flooded the Coyotes net with traffic and shots on goal, but Joseph stood his ground and kept Vancouver from adding to their lead.

At 4:52 of the third, the Coyotes cut the Canucks lead to 4-2 when Jeff Taffe took a pass from Zbynek Michalek and jammed it past Sabourin for his second goal of the season.

With just under 16-minutes to play in the period, Vancouver's Willie Mitchell was assessed a minor penalty for tripping, giving the Coyotes their fourth power play of the evening.

With nine minute to play in regulation, Joseph made a great save with his right leg as he slid across the crease to stop a tip by Morrison at the right side of the goal.

At 12:14 of the third, the two clubs would exchange matching minors with Vancouver's Willie Mitchell taking a roughing call while Daniel Carcillo was whistled for tripping. The end result was two minutes of four-on-four action.

Late in the game, the Coyotes pulled Joseph in favor of an extra attacker, but Phoenix was unable to close the gap and ended up dropping a 4-2 contest to the Vancouver Canucks.

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