Photo Credit: Dallas Stars
Phoenix - Mikael Tellqvist
Dallas - Marty Turco
On Tuesday night, the Phoenix Coyotes faced-off with the Stars for the final time this season as the the Coyotes dropped a 6-0 decision at the American Airlines Center in Dallas.
Less than a minute into the game, the Coyotes set the tone for the tempo of play when defenseman Keith Ballard stepped up inside his own zone and delivered a crushing hit on former Coyote Ladislav Nagy, along the boards.
At 9:35 of the opening period, the Stars took the first lead of the game when Dallas won a face-off inside the Phoenix zone, drawing the puck back to Sergei Zubov at the point; allowing Zubov to send a shot to the net that was deflected in front by Mike Ribeiro and sent past goaltender Mikael Tellqvist for a 1-0 lead. Stars forward Loui Eriksson recorded the secondary assist on Ribeiro's 15th tally of the season.
Following the Stars' goal, the Coyotes tried to mount their own offensive attack and tie the game as they broke into the offensive zone and delivered a series of shots on goal. However, Dallas netminder Marty Turco was able to hold off on onslaught and preserve the one goal lead heading into the final minutes of the first.
With just under four minutes to go in the period, Phoenix forward Jeff Taffe nearly tied the score when he blasted a one-timer from the left face-off circle on a feed from Niko Kapanen that just caught the left toe of Turco and deflected out of play.
At 16:44 of first, the Coyotes took the first penalty of the game when defenseman Nick Boynton was sent to the box on a delay of game call. Fortunately, the Phoenix penalty-killing unit was able to control the attack sent their way by the Stars power play squad. As a result, the first period of play came to a close with the Coyotes trailing Dallas by one.
With five minute gone in the second period, Phoenix forward Owen Nolan took it upon himself to try and make something happen as he drove hard to the net and curled around the back of the goal, pulling Turco out of position in the process. With the open net, Nolan then tried to feed the puck back into the crease where it could be tapped into the goal. However, the Stars would get to the puck first and would move it out of the zone.
At 12:40 of the second, tempers began to flare when Coyotes defenseman Keith Ballard took exception to the liberties Mike Ribeiro was taking and tried to settle things on his own by flipping off his helmet and challenging the Stars forward to a bout. Unfortunately, the officials had already made their way over to the scrum and separated the two before punches could be thrown. As a result, both would incur minor penalties for their actions, resulting in four-on-four hockey.
During the ensuing four-on-four play, the Stars would take advantage of the extra ice when Dallas forward Jere Lehtinen grabbed a loose puck at the right side of the net and flipped the puck past Tellqvist for his 26th goal of the season and a 2-0 Stars' lead.
Less than a minute later, the Coyotes troubles continued when defenseman Nick Boynton found himself involved in a minor altercation in front of the Phoenix bench with the Stars' Niklas Hagman. Somehow, when the dust settled, Boynton was the only player to receive a penalty as he was called for roughing at 14:08.
The penalty would give the Stars the room they needed to add to their lead as veteran forward Mike Modano scored his 20th goal of the season on a shot from the point at 15:56 of the third. Lehtinen and Zubov registered the assists on Modano's tally.
In the final minutes of the second, the Coyotes made another trip to the penalty box when Josh Gratton was called for charging, deep inside the Dallas zone. This time, the Phoenix penalty killing unit was able to keep the pressure off Tellqvist and successfully kill off the penalty as the period came to a close with Dallas holding a 3-0 lead.
Just over two minutes into the third period, the Coyotes penalty-killing unit was called back into action when Jeremy Roenick was sent to the box for hooking. Operating with the extra attacker, the Stars returned to the Coyotes zone and set up their offense and at 3:59 of the period, Ladislav Nagy put the Stars ahead by four when his centering pass form the left side of the net was deflected, sending the puck into the Coyotes net.
Minutes afterwards, Dallas' Loui Eriksson made it a 5-0 game when he tipped a shot by Modano at the top of the crease, into the Phoenix net for his sixth goal of the season.
At 7:42 of the third, Phoenix forward Daniel Carcillo was assessed a 10-minute misconduct after the on-ice officials determined that Carcillo and Dallas' Steve Ott where preparing to drop the gloves following the ensuing face-off. After Carcillo was escorted off the ice, forward Josh Gratton took his place on the ice and once again, the officials were quick to penalize the Coyotes as they took Gratton off the ice and handed him a 10-minute misconduct as well. Gratton voiced his opposition to the call and was eventually assessed a game misconduct and escorted off the ice.
Second later, the Coyotes received just their second power play of the game when Ott took a pair of minor penalties in an altercation with Boynton. Phoenix tried to use the rare power play to their advantage, but again were unable to establish enough pressure on the Stars defense to get to Turco and the Coyotes power play expired.
Dallas' Mike Ribeiro would add one final goal at 10:34 of the third as he and Zubov entered the Phoenix zone on a two-on-one rush. After Defenseman Brendan Bell committed to taking away the pass, Ribeiro snapped a shot over the glove hand of Tellqvist and into the net for a 6-0 lead.
The remainder of the contest would feature the two teams trading offensive rushes with little offensive pressure as the Coyotes fell to the Stars by the final score of 6-0.