Photo Credit: AP Photo/Kyle Ericson
On Tuesday night, the Phoenix Coyotes concluded their four-game road trip with an impressive 5-2 win over the St. Louis Blues.
Early in the opening period, the Coyotes made the first visit to the penalty box when forward Dave Scatchard. The Phoenix penalty killers did a good job of keeping the St. Louis power play away from the front of the net as the Coyotes returned to full strength with the score still tied at 0-0.
The Blues had a great scoring chance with five minutes gone by in the period when Keith Tkachuk drove hard to the front of the net, but was stopped on the doorstep by Phoenix goaltender Curtis Joseph.
For the first time this season, the Coyotes would score the first goal of the game as Shane Doan held the puck low in the Blues zone, where he was able to pull St. Louis netminder Manny Legace out of position. Once Doan had the open net, he moved around Legace and fired the puck into the open net for the 1-0 lead at 9:17 of the period. Phoenix forwards Jeremy Roenick and Fredrik Sjostrom each recorded their first assists of the season on Doan's goal.
St. Louis would continue to apply pressure on the Coyotes before eventually tying the score at 1-1 with just over six minutes to play in the first. Blues forward Radek Dvorak evened the score with his second goal of the season on a feed from former Coyote Keith Tkachuk.
With less than four minutes remaining in the period, Joseph made a great stop on Blues forward Dallas Drake to keep St. Louis from taking their first lead of the contest.
The fast paced action would continue to flow from end to end, but neither netminder would allow his team to fall behind as the first period expired and the teams headed to the locker room after one period of play, tied at 1-1.
The Blues produced the first scoring opportunity of the second period when forward Doug Weight had a chance from deep in the Phoenix zone, but Joseph was able to keep the puck out of the net and keep the contest tied.
The Coyotes received their first power play of the game at 2:33 of the second when Jamal Mayers was called for tripping Phoenix's Owen Nolan in the neutral zone. Unfortunately, the Coyotes would only get to work with the extra attacker for 47-seconds as Fredrik Sjostrom was called for interference at 3:21, resulting in four-on-four hockey.
Coyotes' defenseman Keith Yandle, who is playing in only his third NHL game, was sent to the penalty box at 6:26 of the second for holding. Despite a dedicated offensive effort on the part of the Blues, the Coyotes penalty killers kept the Blues away from the front of the net and what did get through was turned aside by Joseph as Phoenix returned to full strength.
The Blues would find themselves in penalty trouble starting at 8:44 of the period when Eric Brewer was called for hooking. The Coyotes offensive began to produce sustained pressure on the Blues net, but Legace was able to stay in position and stand his ground.
With 21-seconds left in the penalty to Brewer, the Blues found themselves down by two skaters when Dennis Wideman was called for interference at 10:23 of the second. However, there was simply not enough time for Phoenix to capitalize on the two-man advantage as the Blues returned to full strength with the score still tied at 1-1.
Phoenix would retake the lead at 13:51 of the period when Oleg Saprykin's long pass to Enver Lisin was fed to an open Dave Scatchard, who one-timed the puck past Legace for a 2-1 advantage.
In the final minutes of the period, St. Louis' Dan Hinote came within inches of tying the score when his blast hit the goal post. Luckily, Joseph was able to cover the puck before it could be shoved into the net. As a result, the Coyotes would preserve their one goal lead as the second period came to a close with Phoenix on top 2-1.
The final period began with the Blues on the power play as Phoenix's Lisin was assessed a minor penalty for hooking at the end of the second period. But the Blues would a take an early penalty of their own at 1:40 of the third when Jay McClement was called for tripping.
The Coyotes would use the power play to their advantage as they took a two-goal lead early in the third period when Ladislav Nagy made a selfless play to take a hit as he moved the puck over to Mike Comrie, who beat Legace, giving Phoenix a 3-1 lead.
Facing a two-goal deficit, the Blues began to turn up their pressure in the offensive zone, but the play of "Cujo" in net, helped burn time off the clock while at the same time, keeping the Coyotes up by two.
St. Louis had a great chance to close the gap to a single goal at 6:14 of the period when Joseph was handed a delay-of-game penalty for covering the puck outside of the crease. But once again, the Phoenix penalty killing unit remained perfect in the contest as the Blues were unable to find the back of the net before the period expired.
At 12:14 of the third, St. Louis would cut the Coyotes lead to 3-2 when Martin Rucinsky beat Joseph for his third goal of the season. Dennis Wideman and Bill Guerin registered assists on Rucinsky's third period goal.
The Blues momentum wouldn't last long thanks to Coyotes right wing Owen Nolan, who took a feed from Nagy at the front of net, pulled Legace to his left and lifted a backhand into the net for a 4-2 lead. The goal was not only Nolan's first of the season, but his first in over two years after missing the entire 2005-06 campaign.
With just over a minute to play in the period, the Blues pulled Legace from the net in favor of the extra attacker. The Blues man-advantage became a two-man advantage at 19:19 of the third when Scatchard was called for hooking. Yet even a two-man advantage couldn't faze the Coyotes on this night as Phoenix forward Mike Zigomanis capped off the night by stealing the puck for the Blues' Wideman and flipping it into an empty net at 19:37 of the third to solidify a 5-2 win over the Blues.