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COYOTES DROP 4-3 DECISION TO LOS ANGELES

by Staff Writer / Arizona Coyotes
By: Chad Lynch

Photo Credit: Getty Images

STARTING GOALTENDERS
Phoenix - Mikael Tellqvist
Los Angeles - Barry Brust

On Tuesday night, a five-goal third period would send the Phoenix Coyotes and Los Angeles Kings into overtime and eventually a shootout, where the Coyotes would fall to their Pacific Division rivals by the score of 4-3.

The Coyotes would register the first shot-on-goal when defenseman Keith Ballard made a rush from behind the Phoenix net to the top of the slot in the Kings zone where he fired a wrist shot into netminder Barry Brust.

Following Ballard's drive on net, Loas Angeles made their first rush into the offensive zone and tested goaltender Mikael Tellqvist when Kings forward Scott Thornton tried to stuff the puck between the left goal post and Tellqvist's leg. However, Thornton would find nothing but disappointment at the side of the goal as Tellqvist kept the puck from crossing the goal line.

At the five-minute mark of the period, the Kings offense would briefly take control as they trapped the puck in the Coyotes zone and sent a pair of shots on goal. While Tellqvist would make the necessary saves, the Coyotes had a difficulty time get ting the puck out of their own end. Finally, the puck would slide into the neutral zone where Phoenix forward Josh Gratton chased it down and snapped a shot on goal, forcing Brust to cover the puck and draw a stoppage in play.

With just over five and a half-minutes left in the first, Los Angeles had their best scoring chance of the period when rookie sensation Anze Kopitar took the puck from the right hand boards of the Coyotes zone and cut hard to the net where he pulled the puck across the crease and tried to slide it behind Tellqvist. But the Phoenix netminder played the move to perfection as he kept his left leg in position, allowing him to kick the puck into the corner and keep the Kings off the scoreboard.

At the other end of the ice, Brust was doing his best to keep pace with the saves of Tellqvist, including making a big glove save on a shot by Mike Zigomanis with two-minutes to play in the first.

The final seconds of the frame would fall off the clock with neither club being able to grab the first lead of the game; as Tellqvist (14) and Brust (12), combined for 26 saves, keeping the game tied at 0-0 through 20-minutes of play.

Early in the second period, Ballard tried to create some offense for the Coyotes again when he fired a wrist shot from the slot that missed the net, but ricocheted off the board and back to the side of the goal; where Ballard chased it down and put the puck on goal, only to be stopped again by Brust.

With six and a half-minutes gone in the second period, Coyotes defenseman Zbynek Michalek absorbed a big hit from Kopitar that send the Phoenix blueliner to the ice. Looking to extract a measure of revenge for the hit on Michalek, Gratton locked up with Los Angeles heavyweight Raitis Ivanans. The two would trade big right hands before being separated and sent to the box.

Gratton's bout provided the Coyotes with some momentum and that would manifest itself into the first goal of the contest shortly thereafter. Owen Nolan would start the rush for Phoenix as he carried the puck through the neutral zone and into the Kings end before dropping a pass off to Travis Roche. Roche would quickly send the puck across the ice to Yanic Perreault who waited for Brust to go down before snapping the puck just under the crossbar and into the net at 7:54 of the second for a 1-0 lead.

The Kings tried to shake off the goal by Perreault by following with their own offensive onslaught which resulted in a series of shots on net, but Tellqvist stood his ground and preserved the one-goal lead.

During a scrum at the left side of the Coyotes net, Los Angeles forward Sean Avery gave a shot to Ballard who was down on the ice. Ballard responded by pushing off of Avery to separate the two, but the officials were determined not to let the game get out of control and responded by sending Ballard to the penalty box for unsportsmanlike conduct.

Operating with the first power play of the game, the Kings set up in the Phoenix zone and tried to rattle Tellqvist by following up shots on goal with a multitude of bodies in search of rebounds. But once again Tellqvist showed amazing poise and control as he calmly stopped the puck and waited for a whistle. After repeating the drill several times, the penalty to Ballard final expired allowing the Coyotes to return to full strength, still holding a 1-0 advantage.

With just under a minute to play in the second, the Kings nearly tied the game when Sean Avery deflected a puck inside the crease, but Tellqvist somehow managed to slide across the ice and lay his right leg pad down to stop the shot as Avery slid into the net. Fortunately, the puck had already been cleared up the ice, removing the threat of a Kings goal.

The Coyotes would kill off the final moments of the period, preserving the Phoenix lead after two periods of play.

In the opening minute of the final period, the Kings and Coyotes traded offensive rushes with Los Angeles trying to tie the game and the Phoenix looking to grab a two-goal lead. The Kings would eventually succeed in tying the score at 1-1 when Derek Armstrong grabbed a rebound in the slot and flipped the puck through a maze of bodies and into the Coyotes net at 4:33 of the third.

The Coyotes penalty killing unit would see their second assignment of the game at 9:17 of the third when Phoenix defenseman Dennis Seidenberg was called for holding. Unfortunately, the Kings would only need 42-seconds of the man-advantage to take their first lead of the night as Alexander Frolov made a pass from the right corner to an open Rob Blake who had pinched in and tapped the puck past Tellqvist and into the net to make it a 2-1 game.

Phoenix would receive their first power play of the evening at 11:50 of the period with Los Angeles' Derek Armstrong heading to the box for holding. Although the Coyotes power play may not have had much work on the night, you couldn't tell by their actions as it took just 38-seconds for Phoenix strike. Defenseman Zbynek Michalek would set the table as he ripped a wrist shot from the point that was tipped in the slot by Fredrik Sjostrom, causing the puck to change direction and find the top corner of the net t tie the game at 2-2.

Just over a minute later, the Coyotes would regain the lead when Georges Laraque backhanded a puck deep into the Kings zone where Yanic Perreault caught up to it and immediately sent a pass to Oleg Saprykin at the side of the net. Saprykin would need just one swipe at the puck as he stuffed it under the legs of Brust for his eighth goal of thee season and a Coyotes 3-2 lead.

Facing a one-goal deficit and less than two minutes to play, the Kings pulled Brust from the net in favor of an extra attacker. It appeared that Phoenix would get the better of the situation as they gained control of the puck with one minute left in regulation, but a turnover in the Los Angeles end game the Kings one last rush up ice. Once in the Coyotes zone, the six Kings attackers tried to spread the Phoenix defenders across the ice; which resulted in Sean Avery being able to sneak over to the top of the crease where he back handed a rebound past Tellqvist with just 37-seconds left in the period, tying the game at 3-3 and sending the game into overtime.

OVERTIME
In the extra session, both clubs displayed tempered style of play as they tried to establish an offensive presence, while at the same time, being careful not to expose themselves defensively or take un-necessary penalties.

With one minute left in overtime, Ballard nearly captured victory when his shot from the left side, snuck through the legs of Brust, only to hit the far right goal post and travel away from the net. As a result, 65-minutes after the first drop of the puck , the Coyotes and Kings found themselves still tied and preparing for a shootout.

SHOOTOUT
The first round of the shootout saw Los Angeles' Alexander Frolov and Phoenix's Mike Zigomanis would fail to find the back of the net.

The Kings second shooter, Anze Kopitar, pulled off a difficult shot when he fired the puck just beyond the blocker of Tellqvist and off the right goal post; sending the puck into the net for the first tally of the shootout.

The Coyotes second shooter, Mike Comrie, tried to leave b rust minimal room to make a shot on his wrist shot to the stick side, but Brust caught a piece of the puck with his blocker to make the save.

With a chance to end the game, the Kings sent out Dustin Brown as their third shooter. Tellqvist tried to stop Brown's low shot with his stick, but the puck just rolled up the length of the goal stick and jumped over the left shoulder of Tellqvist and into the net; as Phoenix fell to Los Angeles by the final score of 4-3.

Round 1
Alexander Frolov - No goal
Mike Zigomanis - No goal

Round 2
Anze Kopitar- Goal
Mike Comrie - No goal

Round 3
Dustin Brown - Goal
   

GAME NOTES
Coyotes center Dave Scatchard did not accompany the team to Los Angeles on Tuesday, but remained in Phoenix with his wife Brooke for the birth of their daughter, Olivia Grace.

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