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COYOTES EARN 3-2 WIN OVER OILERS

by Staff Writer / Arizona Coyotes
By: Chad Lynch

Photo Credit: Norm Hall

STARTING GOALTENDERS
Phoenix - Mike Morrison
Edmonton - Jussi Markkanen

THURSDAY'S LINE UP
Forwards
(LW) Ladislav Nagy - (C) Steven Reinprecht - (RW) Bill Thomas
(LW) Mike Comrie - (C) Jeremy Roenick - (RW) Shane Doan
(LW) Patrick Fischer - (C) Joel Perrault - (RW) Dave Scatchard
(LW) Oleg Saprykin - (C) Mike Zigomanis - (RW) Georges Laraque

Defensemen
Keith Ballard - Nick Boynton
Keith Yandle - Travis Roche
Derek Morris - Matt Jones

Goaltenders
Mike Morrison
David LeNeveu


On Thursday night, the Phoenix Coyotes continued their winning ways at home as they defeated the Oilers 3-2.

The Oilers would waste little time jumping out to the early 1-0 lead as Alexei Mikhnov made his way behind Coyotes defenseman Nick Boynton, raced in alone on Mike Morrison and slid a backhand shot past the Phoenix goaltender for the early lead.

Just nine-seconds after the goal by Mikhnov, Phoenix forward Mike Comrie tried to pump up his teammates when he dropped the gloves at center-ice with Edmonton's Patrick Thoresen. After a lengthy battle that saw both players land a series of punches, the two headed to the penalty box to serve matching fighting majors.

Edmonton continued to flood the Coyotes net with shots over the course of the opening three- minutes of play, but Morrison began to settle into a groove and turn aside the Oilers efforts, to keep the Coyotes within a goal.

The Coyotes power play had their first opportunity of the game at 4:50 of the opening stanza when Oiler defenseman Jan Hejda was called for tripping. The Phoenix power play went to work cycling the puck around the offensive zone, but a lack of open shooting lanes kept the shots to the net down and eventually led to the expiration of Hejda's penalty, with Edmonton still leading by a goal.

At 9:59 of the first, the Coyotes received a five-on-three power play when Edmonton's Toby Peterson (tripping) and Ladislav Smid (boarding) made their first visits to the penalty box. While skating with a pair of extra attackers, Phoenix did a good job of keeping the puck in the Oilers zone and getting shots on net, but Edmonton netminder Jussi Markkanen was able to keep the puck out of the net and preserve the Oilers one-goal lead.

Phoenix defenseman Ed Jovanovski was assessed a tripping penalty at 14:02 of the first, resulting in the first penalty-killing assignment of the night for the Coyotes. While Phoenix would hold off the Oiler attack during Jovanovski's penalty, Edmonton would eventually capitalize at 16:04 of the period, just two seconds after the Coyotes returned to full strength, Edmonton's Rob Schremp blasted a slap shot from the left face-off circle that found the top corner of the net for a 2-0 Oiler lead.

The Coyotes would take another shot on the man-advantage near the end of the opening frame, but the Oilers were able to keep the Phoenix attack in-check as the players headed for the locker room after 20-minutes of play with Edmonton leading 2-0.

Early in the second period, Coyotes forwards Oleg Saprykin and Georges Laraque did an good job of controlling the puck inside the Edmonton zone. As a result, the Phoenix attack would register a trio of shots on net, but were still unable to cut into the Oiler lead.

The Coyotes went back on the power play at 6:52 of the period when Edmonton's Petr Sykora was whistled for tripping Ladislav Nagy as he attempted to enter the Oilers zone. Despite the extra attacker, the Coyotes failed to convert on their fifth power play of the evening.

At 8:51 of the period, Phoenix defenseman Keith Yandle was given a hooking penalty, resulting in the Oilers second power play of the night. However, just as they had done in their first assignment, the Coyotes penalty-killers silenced the Edmonton attack and returned to full strength.

Steven Reinprecht's hard work forced Edmonton's Jan Hejda to take a hooking penalty at 11:07 of the second period. Then with 41-seconds remaining in the infraction to Hejda, the Oilers took another penalty when Patrick Thoreson was called for hooking. The Coyotes immediately went on the attack and 56-seconds later, Ladisalv Nagy cut the deficit to one goal when he blasted a slap shot from the right side that beat Markkanen high to the glove side. Ed Jovanovski and Mike Morrison recorded assists on Nagy's first pre-season goal of the year.

With just over four-minutes to play in the period, Coyotes defenseman Keith Ballard administered a clean hip check on Edmonton's Jean-Francois Jacques, who took exception to the clean hit and retaliated by first tripping Ballard and then cross-checking him. But as Jacques tried to skate away he was quickly met by Phoenix defenseman Nick Boynton, who knocked Jacques to the ice. As a result of the incident, the Coyotes came away with a two-minute power play. On the man-advantage, the Coyotes evened the score at 2-2 when Joel Perrault's shot from the left side of the goal was stopped, but left a rebound at the top of the Oilers crease, where Patrick Fischer quickly lifted the puck into the net.

Emotions continued to run high and when Nagy received a high hit from Marc-Andre Bergeron, he decided to settle the score himself as he dropped the gloves and threw the Edmonton blueliner to the ice. Nagy would come away with a double minor for roughing as well as a 10-minute misconduct, while Bergeron escaped with just two-minutes for roughing.

Neither club would re-take the lead in the second as the Coyotes and Oilers left the ice after two periods of play tied at 2-2.

The final period began with a brisk pace as the Coyotes and Oilers raced from end-to-end trading shots on goal. Only one whistle would stop play as the two clubs fought to grab the lead.

With just over 13-minutes to play in the third, Ed Jovanovski brought the crowd to their feet when he drilled Jean-Francois Jacques along the nearside boards.

At 8:53 of the third, a major scuffle broke out in the Oilers zone when Jeremy Roenick was called for interference. Players from both clubs came together to release their aggression. Once all the dust was settled, it was the Oilers who came away with a two-minute power play. Once again, the Coyotes penalty killers rose to the occasion and held the Edmonton offense scoreless as they returned to full strength.

The Coyotes would continue to keep the pressure on the Oilers and at 16:04 of the third it paid off. Defenseman Keith Ballard let go of a wrist shot from just inside the blueline that was deflected in front by Georges Laraque and past Markkanen to give Phoenix their first lead of the night at 3-2.

From that point on it was the Coyotes defense that controlled the game as they held off the Oilers and skated away with a 3-2 win.

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