Photo Credit: Norm Hall
COYOTES STARTING LINE-UP
(LW) Ladisalv Nagy - (C) Jeremy Roenick - (RW) Enver Lisin
(D) Nick Boynton - (D) Derek Morris
Phoenix - David LeNeveu
New York - Henrik Lundqvist
On Saturday night, the Phoenix Coyotes dropped a 7-3 decision at the hands of the visiting New York Rangers.
Off the opening face-off, the Ranger carried the puck into the Coyotes zone where they would test Phoenix goaltender David LeNeveu with the first shot of the game, which LeNeveu easily turned aside to keep the game scoreless.
At 2:18 of the first, the fans at Jobing.com Arena would lead to their feet when Matt Jones' shot from the point, found it's way through traffic and to the Ranger net where it fooled netminder Henrik Lundqvist and sailed into the net for a 1-0 Coyotes lead. The goal was Jones' first of his NHL career and was assisted by forwards Mike Comrie and Owen Nolan.
Shortly after the goal by Jones, the Coyotes penalty-killing unit made their first appearance of the game as defenseman Derek Morris was sent to the penalty box for tripping at 2:45 of the first. With the extra attacker, the Rangers went to work setting up shop in the Phoenix zone and flooding the net with shots, but LeNeveu showed no signs of wavering as he calmly moved form side-to-side, kick shots out of harms way and preserving the Coyotes one goal lead until Morris could return to the ice.
New York continued to carry the puck into the Coyotes zone, and send puck toward the net, a tactic that would pay off for the blueshirts at 10:06 when Michael Nylander sent a pass from the left hand boards, through traffic to an open Matrin Straka camped at the right side of the net, where he easily tipped the puck past the out-stretched leg of LeNeveu to tie the score at 1-1.
The Rangers would have a change to take their first lead of the game at 11:34 of the period when Phoenix forward Ladislav Nagy was called for holding, resulting in a New York power play. However, the Coyotes commitment to defense was evident in the ensuing penalty kill as the Rangers were unable to work the puck in deep, near the Phoenix goal, allowing LeNeveu to make stops on shots from the perimeter and keeping the game tied.
Phoenix would find themselves on a power play of their own with 5:49 to play in the first when New York's Darius Kasparatius was sent to the box for tripping. The Coyotes did a good job of keeping the puck in the offensive zone, but were unable to find the net as their shots sailed wide of net.
The final minutes of the period would slide off the clock without any further offense as the Coyotes and Rangers headed into the locker room after one period of play tied at 1-1.
The Rangers would come charging out of the gate to start the second period as Matt Cullen took a swipe at a loose puck below the left face-off circle that beat LeNeveu to give New York their first lead of the game at 2-1.
Just over a minute later, the Coyotes nearly fell behind be a pair of goals when a streaking Ranger forward blasted a wrist shot from the slot that beat LeNeveu on the glove side, but ricocheted off the goal post and into the corner.
LeNeveu continued his outstanding play, near the four-minute mark when he made a great stop on a Jaromir Jagr breakaway, with his right leg pad. Following the save, the Coyotes regained control of the puck and cleared the zone.
Despite the efforts of LeNeveu, the Rangers would add to their lead at 4:23 of the second when Jagr made a highlight play at the right side of the net by batting the puck out of mid-air, past LeNeveu, giving New York a 3-1 advantage.
LeNeveu continued to exhibit strong play between the pipes as he made a great stop Blair Betts at the top of the crease with a little over 11-minutes to play in the period.
At 10:29 of the second, the Ranger took a 4-1 lead when Martin Straka backhanded a shot from the top of the crease into the Phoenix net for his second goal of the game. LeNeveu had little chance to make the save on the play as rookie defenseman Matt Jones accidentally crashed into his goalkeeper, effectively taking him out of the play.
Just over a minute later, New York made it a 5-1 game when a Ranger forward came across the front of crease, making contact with LeNeveu and pulling him to the right side of the net allowing a shot from the point to be deflected by Petr Prucha and sent into the Coyotes goal.
Coyotes' defenseman Nick Boynton and New York's Ryan Hollweg dropped the gloves for an endurance testing fight in the Phoenix zone late in the period. Both warriors would receive matching five-minutes penalties for their efforts.
The second period would fail to see any further scoring as the two clubs headed off the ice after 40-minutes of action with the Rangers holding a four-goal lead.
With just over four minutes gone by in the third period, Coyotes rookie Enver Lisin came within inches of capturing his first NHL goal as he ripped a wrist shot from the slot the beat Lundqvist and deflected off the left goal post. After settling along the left hand boards, the Rangers grabbed control of the puck and headed back into the Phoenix zone. Once there, Matt Cullen fed a cross-ice pass over to Aaron Ward, who put the puck into the Coyotes goal from a steep angle on the left side for a 6-1 New York lead.
The Coyotes continually tried to climb back into the game as the period continued, but the Rangers were able to keep the Coyotes pressure confined to the outside where Lundqvist could easily make the saves and preserve New York's lead.
At 11:26 of the third, the Coyotes made it a 6-2 contest when first-year Coyote Patrick Fischer stole the puck in the Rangers zone, faked Lundqvist to the right before pulling the puck back to the left and sliding it into the goal.
Four minutes later, Fredrik Sjostrom made a highlight goal when he raced with the puck from behind his own net, weaved through a pair of Rangers and lifted the puck into the top corner of the net; to cap off a thrilling end-to-end rush and make it a 6-3 game.
Less than a minute after Sjostrom's goal, Brendan Shanahan added his ninth goal of the season on a feed from Jagr, and putting the Ranger up by the score of 7-3.
The final minutes of the game would run off the clock without any further scoring as the Coyotes dropped a 7-3 decision at the hands of the Rangers.