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COYOTES DROP 5-2 DECISION TO ST. LOUIS

by Staff Writer / Arizona Coyotes
By: Chad Lynch

Photo Credit: Norm Hall

COYOTES STARTING LINE-UP
(LW) Jeremy Roenick - (C) Kevyn Adams - (RW) Shane Doan
(D) Keith Ballard - (D) Derek Morris

BLUES STARTING LINE-UP
(LW) Jay McClement - (C) David Backes - (RW) Doug Weight
(D) Eric Brewer - (D) Christian Backman

STARTING GOALTENDERS
Phoenix - Curtis Joseph
St. Louis - Jason Bacashihua

On Tuesday night, the Phoenix Coyotes dropped a 5-2 decision to the St. Louis Blues at Jobing.com Arena.

Following a series of unproductive offensive rushes by both clubs, the Blues were able to grab the first goal of the game at 3:12 of the first when they capitalized on a Coyotes turnover inside their own zone. On the play, Phoenix defenseman Zbynek Michalek had his pass from the lower right corner of the zone, intercepted by the Blues, resulting in a scramble in front of the Coyotes' net; that saw the puck squirt out of a pile and onto the stick of Doug Weight. With goaltender Curtis Joseph still caught on the right side of the net from the scramble, Weight was able to snap the puck into the goal for a 1-0 St. Louis lead.

Minutes later, at 6:53 of the first, the Blues extended their lead to 2-0 when St. Louis forward Petr Cajanek raced into the Coyotes zone from the right side and tried to send a centering pass to the top of the Phoenix crease. However, as the puck reached the slot, it inadvertently deflected off the stick of Michalek and past Joseph for his 15th goal of the season.

As the period approached the halfway mark, the Coyotes and Blues traded minor penalties, but neither club would be able to convert on the man-advantage and play continued with St. Louis leading by two.

At 13:02 of the first, the Blues' Jeff Woywitka put the Coyotes back on the power play when he was called for holding. The extra skater would prove to be just what Phoenix needed to get back into the game as they were buzzing around the St. Louis net. Then at 14:34, defenseman Keith Ballard ripped a slap shot from the point the was tipped in front of the net by rookie Daniel Carcillo and sent past netminder Jason Bacashihua to make it a 2-1 game.

Unfortunately, the Coyotes would make one final visit to the penalty box during a the opening period and just Woywitka's has been costly for the Blues; so would Owen Nolan's hooking penalty at 15:13 of the first. During the ensuing power play, St. Louis blueliner Barret Jackman unleashed a slap shot from the point that beat Joseph high to the glove side to give the Blues a 3-1 lead heading into the first intermission.

Just 1:41 into the second period, Coyotes' forward Bill Thomas put Phoenix back on the power play when he made a great individual effort to carry the puck from the corner to the slot, where St. Louis' Ryan Johnson was forced to hook Thomas to the ice in order to stop his progress toward the net.

With Johnson's penalty winding down, the Blues took another penalty at 3:22 of the second as defenseman Matt Walker was called for slashing. The end result was a five-on-three power play for the Coyotes for 19-seconds. Despite the two extra attackers, Phoenix would only be able to add to their shots-on-goal total as Bacashihua made a series of saves to keep St. Louis ahead by two.

The Blues would again take advantage of a Phoenix turnover in the offensive zone at 9:12 of the stanza. This time it was Carcillo who lost control of the puck in the corner, allowing Cajanek to race behind the net where he then send a backhand pass to the right side of the net and onto the stick of forward Radek Dvorak. Then before Joseph could get square to the shooter, Dvorak snapped the puck into the top corner of the net giving him 10 goals on the year and St. Louis a 4-1 lead.

With 5:35 remaining in the first, the Coyotes were able to cut the deficit to two when captain Shane Doan took a slap shot from the point which was tipped at the top of the crease by Jeremy Roenick and deflected past Bacashihua for his ninth goal of the season. Forward Owen Nolan recorded his 23rd assist of the year on Roenick's goal.

However, the Blues would grab the momentum back just over a minute later as rookie D.J. King was able to get to the front of the Coyotes net and one-time a pass from Doug Weight, past Joseph for a 5-2 lead after two period of play.

To begin the third period, the Coyotes changed goaltenders, sending Mikael Tellqvist in to replace Curtis Joseph.

At 7:36 of the third, the game took a physical turn when St. Louis' David Backes dropped the gloves to go after Coyotes blueliner Keith Ballard. While it was Backes who initiated the fight, Ballard was more than happy to trade punches with the Blues center. However, the bout wouldn't last all that long as Ballard dished out some early punishment and threw Backes to the ice. Both men would receive five-minute majors for their actions.

With just over seven minutes remaining in regulation, the Blues nearly found the back of the net again on a shot from center Jay McClement, that beat Tellqvist and ricocheted into the corner to keep the Blues lead at three.

Over the final minutes of play, the efforts of the Coyotes' offense were matched by that of the St. Louis defense and as a result, neither club would be able to add to their totals as the period came to a close with the Coyotes falling to the Blues by the final score of 5-2.

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