|Mighty Ducks of Anaheim vs. Phoenix Coyotes |
|Ducks at Coyotes Game Recap |
By: Chad Lynch
Photos by: AP Photo/Francis Specker
In the opening two minutes of the game, nearly every second of the game had been spent inside the Anaheim zone as the Coyotes tried to test Ducks netminder Ilya Bryzgalov early with three shots over the first 90 seconds of play.
At 1:50 of the first period, while trying to set up in the Anaheim zone, Phoenix forward Oleg Saprykin was called for tripping Ducks defenseman and former Coyote Sean O'Donnell behind the net, resulting in the first power play for the game. On the penalty kill, the Coyotes gave the Ducks very little room to operate in the offensive zone as only one shot made its way through to Phoenix goaltender Philippe Sauve, who was making his first start since joining the Coyotes. As a result, the Ducks were unable to establish an offensive presence with the extra attacker and the Coyotes returned to full strength still tied at 0-0.
The Coyotes received their first power play of the game with 11:25 to play in the first when Anaheim's Vitaly Vishnevski was sent to the box for holding. With the man-advantage, Phoenix was able to continually set up in the offensive zone, but was unable to get enough shots on net to solve Bryzgalov as the Ducks returned to full strength.
Anaheim made their second trip to the penalty box at 13:34 of the period when Jonathan Hedstrom was assessed an interference penalty for making contact with Sauve as he skated behind the net. On this power play, the Coyotes stepped up their attack in the Ducks zone and crashed the net on two occasions in an attempt to score the first goal of the contest, but Bryzgalov was equal to the task as he kept the puck out of the net and kept the game scoreless entering the final minutes of the first period.
Phoenix's offensive pressure paid off at 17:52 of the first when Oleg Kvasha and Oleg Saprykin capped off a series of passes deep in the Anaheim zone with Saprykin sending the puck to Kvasha from behind the Ducks net and Kvasha tapping the puck past Bryzgalov, who was caught looking for Saprykin, thereby giving the Coyotes a 1-0 lead.
The final seconds of the period would run out without incident and the Coyotes skated off the ice after 20 minutes of play with the 1-0 lead.
The second period began in almost a mirror opposite of the first period as there was still heavy pressure around the net, but this time it was the Ducks applying the pressure and the Coyotes who were fighting to hold their ground. Had it not been for a pair of big saves by Sauve, the Ducks could have very easily tied the game within the first two minutes of the period.
At 4:53 of the second it appeared as though the Ducks offensive pressure had finally paid off for Anaheim when a scrum in front of the net ended with the puck squirting under the pads of Sauve and into the Coyotes net. However the referee closest to the play immediately waived off the goal. The explanation was that he had blown the whistle just before the puck entered the net, to give a holding penalty to Matt Jones.
While it was the Ducks that went on the power play, it was the Coyotes who had the first scoring opportunity during the five-on-four action as Phoenix defenseman Keith Ballard picked up a loose puck in the neutral zone, raced in alone on Bryzgalov and fired a wrist shot that beat the Anaheim netminder on the strong side, but ricocheted off the goal post and into the corner.
Just seconds after Ballard's breakaway attempt, the Ducks had a one-on-one chance of their own as Teemu Selanne raced in alone on Sauve and tried to got to his backhand, but was stopped by the right leg pad of the Coyotes goalie to preserve the 1-0 lead.
Phoenix would come right back and at 7:04 of the second period, would increase their lead to 2-0 when Paul Mara blasted a wicked slap shot from the top of the right face-off circle that raced over the shoulder of Bryzgalov for his 13th goal of the season. Fellow defenseman Matt Jones recorded the only assist on Mara's goal.
As the period continued, the Coyotes began to fall back into a dangerous pattern that had plagued them on Saturday night in Phoenix as Phoenix took a continuous march to the penalty box with Zbynek Michalek (hooking), Steven Reinprecht (tripping), Shane Doan (interference) and Jamie Rivers (slashing), all making their way to the sin-bin. The non-stop penalty killing would begin to wear on the Coyotes and just seconds after Doan's penalty had expired, with Rivers still in the box, Anaheim's Joffrey Loupul was able to capture a loose puck at the top of the Phoenix net and flip it past Sauve to cut the Coyotes lead to 2-1 as the second period came to an end.
The Ducks began the third period with an aggressive attack, trying to even the score. It wouldn't take long as Anaheim entered the Coyotes zone at 2:21 of the period on a two-on-one with Rob Niedermayer and Sammy Pahlsson against Matt Jones. When Jones failed to take away the passing lane and instead tried to play up on Niedermayer, the Ducks winger fed a pass over to Pahlssoon, who tapped it into an open net to tie the game at 2-2.
Just 27-seconds later, the Ducks took their first lead of the night as recently re-acquired Anaheim forward Jeff Friesen one-timed a shot from the right face-off circle that beat Sauve through the legs to give Anaheim a 3-2 lead.
Following the goal by Friesen, the Coyotes tried to take back some of the momentum by bringing the play back into the Anaheim zone, but the Ducks were riding a wave of confidence and Phoenix struggled to get many pucks on net and apply the pressure on Bryzgalov.
With 6:30 left in the third, the Ducks extended their lead to 4-2 when Corey Perry made a nifty move around Dave Scatchard at the left side of the net and banked a shot off Sauve and into the net. The on-ice official reviewed the goal to make sure the puck had crossed the goal line, but the review was quickly completed and the play resumed with Anaheim holding a two-goal lead.
The Coyotes tried to climb back into the game when they pulled Sauve from the net with under two-minutes to play in an attempt to use the extra skater to their advantage, but the Ducks were able to gain control of the puck with 50-seconds left and Todd Marchant was able to fire the puck into the empty net in the Phoenix zone and seal the 5-2 victory for Anaheim.