Photo Credit: Norm Hall
SATURDAY'S LINE UP
(LW) Ladislav Nagy - (C) Steven Reinprecht - (RW) Shane Doan
(LW) Mike Comrie - (C) Joel Perrault - (RW) Owen Nolan
(LW) Patrick Fischer - (C) Jeremy Roenick - (RW) Dave Scatchard
(LW) Oleg Saprykin - (C) Mike Zigomanis - (RW) Georges Laraque
Derek Morris - Ed Jovanovski
Keith Ballard - Nick Boynton
Zbynek Michalek - Dennis Seidenberg
(Bold indicates starting line-up)
On Saturday night, the Phoenix Coyotes dropped a 2-1 decision to Pacific Division rivals, the Anaheim Ducks.
Before the Coyotes would have a chance to establish an early offensive attack, they would first have to play shorthanded as Jeremy Roenick was called for roughing just 1:04 into the opening period. Phoenix would kill off a little more than half of the penalty before Anaheim's Teemu Selanne would deflect a pass at the right side of the net past Phoenix goaltender Curtis Joseph and into the net for the 1-0 lead.
The Ducks would continue to come at the Coyotes, trying to add to their lead, but the play of "Cujo," would keep the puck out of the net and hold Anaheim to a single goal.
Phoenix would take their second shot on the penalty kill at 4:32 of the first when Ed Jovanovski was sent to the box for holding. Once again the Ducks tried to crash the net on the ensuing power play, but the Coyotes penalty killers were equal to the task and killed the penalty to Jovanovski and returned to full strength.
With seven minutes to play in the opening frame, Coyotes rookie Joel Perrault made a nice move from the high-slot of the Anaheim zone to get around a Ducks defender and release a shot on goal, which was turned aside by Anaheim netminder Ilya Bryzgalov.
At 13:51 of the period, Phoenix's George Laraque and Anaheim's Todd Fedoruk dropped the gloves deep in the Ducks zone. Two of the leagues most established and feared heavyweights squared off and when the two began to exchange punches it was no contest as Laraque connected a trio of left hands and quickly dropped Fedoruk to the ice before the two were separated and escorted to the penalty box.
With 3:14 to go in the opening period, Joseph made a remarkable save on Anaheim's Andy McDonald when he slid across the crease to his right and stopped a redirection with the his right toe. However, on the play, Coyotes forward Dave Scatchard was called for hooking, giving the Ducks another power play. Once again, Anaheim would take advantage with the extra attacker as Dustin Penner found the back of the net for his first point of the season, giving the Anaheim a 2-0 lead.
The final two-minutes of the period would tick off the clock without incident and the teams left the ice after one period of play with Anaheim holding a two-goal advantage.
The second period began with a determined Coyotes squad that quickly tested Bryzgalov with shots from various positions around the offensive zone. Despite the increased pressure, the Ducks would bend without breaking and emerged after the opening minutes of the period, still holding a 2-0 lead.
Phoenix fan received a scare early in the second period when Ladislav Nagy and Anaheim's Todd Marchant collided at center ice, sending both players sprawling to the ice. After a few tense moments on the ice, Nagy was able to return to his feet and skate to the bench.
The Coyotes caught a break with 9:20 remaining in the second when the Ducks, who already had forward Corey Perry in the penalty box, were called for a second infraction, this time on Chris Pronger for interference; resulting in a 1:36 of five-of-three hockey for Phoenix.
As it turns out, the Coyotes would only need 1:20 to make their mark. After some well executed puck movement in the offensive zone by the Coyotes, Zbynek Michalek finally put Phoenix on the scoreboard when he unleashed a slap shot from the top of the right face-off circle that squeaked through the body of Bryzgalov to make it a 2-1 game. Coyotes Keith Ballard and Mike Comrie both registered their second assists of the season on Michalek's goal.
With 6:39 to play in the stanza, the Coyotes received their next power play opportunity when a scuffle in front of the Anaheim net between Dave Scatchard and the Ducks' Shane O'Brien, resulted in O'Brien drawing an extra two minutes for roughing. With the extra attacker, the Coyotes tried to find an open lane to get pucks to the net, but the Ducks were quick to close off open alleys. In the end, the Coyotes would fail to convert on the man-advantage and the score would remain 2-1.
Without any further scoring or costly trips to the penalty box, the second period came to a close and the Coyotes headed to the locker room after 40-minutes of play trailing their Pacific Division rivals, 2-1.
The third period began much like the second did, with the Coyotes exhibiting an heavy offensive attack in the Ducks end. While the Phoenix was doing a good job moving the puck around, Anaheim defenders were quietly staying in position and closing off shooting lanes. The Coyotes tried to get pucks through to the net, but were unable to find the back of the net.
Anaheim came within inches of taking a two-goal lead when Andy McDonald let a shot go that beat Joseph and ricocheted off the crossbar and into the corner.
At 8:33 of the third, Dave Scatchard and Shane O'Brien came together once again, and while this showdown was less dramatic than their first encounter, both players still made trips to the penalty box with minor penalties for unsportsmanlike conduct.
Phoenix's comeback attempt took a hit when defenseman Nick Boynton was sent to the penalty box for slashing. On the resulting Anaheim power play, Curtis Joseph rose the occasion and made a pair of key stops to keep the Coyotes within striking distance as they ran out the clock on the penalty to Boynton and returned to five-on-five hockey.
Over the course of the final minutes of play, the Coyotes tried desperately to even the score and pulled Joseph from the net in favor of the extra attacker. Ultimately, the Coyotes efforts would go un-rewarded as the Duck held on to their one-goal lead and the Coyotes recorded their first loss of the season by a score of 2-1.