Photo Credit: Norm Hall
COYOTES STARTING LINE-UP
(LW) Mathias Tjarnqvist - (C) Yanic Perreault - (RW) Shane Doan
(D) Keith Ballard - (D) Derek Morris
DUCKS STARTING LINE-UP
(LW) Chris Kunitz - (C) Andy McDonald - (RW) Teemu Selanne
(D) Scott Niedermayer - (D) Francois Beauchemin
Phoenix - Curtis Joseph
Anaheim - Jean-Sebastien Giguere
On Thursday night, the Phoenix Coyotes overtime record dropped to 6-3 as they fell to their Pacific Division rivals, the Anaheim Ducks by the final score of 5-4.
The opening minute of the contest featured the Coyotes and Ducks trading rushes into the offensive zone, however, Anaheim would capture the only scoring chance when forward Shawn Thornton flipped the puck at the net from the left side, only to have it deflect off the goalpost and away from the net.
Anaheim would keep the pressure on the Coyotes and eventually take the first lead of the game at 3:34 of the first as a shot from the right hand boards by Andy McDonald caught a piece of goaltender Curtis Joseph's glove; before falling into the crease where Duck sniper Teemu Selanne backhanded the puck into the net for a 1-0 lead.
The Coyotes penalty killing would be put to the test at 6:49 of the period when Josh Gratton accidentally caught Anaheim's Todd Marchant in the face with an errant high-stick. Making matters worse was the fact that Gratton's broke the skin on Marchant resulting in a double-minor penalty. Despite facing one of the most potent offensive attacks in the league, the Coyotes were able to keep Anaheim's man-advantage under wraps as Joseph turned aside everything sent his way, allowing the Coyotes to return to full strength.
Phoenix came roaring back into the game at 12:33 of the first when the newest member of the team, Mathias Tjarnqvist grabbed a loose puck inside the left face-off circle of the Ducks' zone and sent a wrist shot towards the net that was tipped by Owen Nolan and deflected past netminder Jean-Sebastien Giguere to tie the game at 1-1. Forward Kevyn Adams received the secondary assist on Nolan's 14th goal of the season.
With just under a minute to play in the period, the Coyotes grabbed their first lead of the night when captain Shane Doan carried the puck from his own zone, into the Anaheim end where he dropped a pass for Steven Reinprecht, who then slid the puck over to Keith Ballard at the top of the crease. Before Ballard could get his stick on the puck, he had his feet taken out from underneath him by Anaheim defenseman Francois Beauchemin, resulting in Ballard's skate knocking the puck into the net. After a brief review from the video replay booth, it was determined that Ballard did not intentionally kick the puck into the net, giving the Coyotes a 2-1 lead heading into the first intermission.
Early in the second period, the Coyotes extended their lead to 3-1 when Mathias Tjarnqvist crashed the net, following up a shot from Georges Laraque at the right side of the net. Tjarnqvist was able to knock the rebound through the legs of Giguere for his second goal of the season and first since coming to Phoenix.
At 6:58 of the period, Phoenix took a 4-1 lead when forward Oleg Saprykin made a great play to dive at the net and deflect a pass from defenseman Travis Roche past Giguere for his 12th goal of the season. While the play was ruled a goal by the on-ice officials, it was reviewed by the video replay booth to determine if the puck had gone in off the glove of Saprykin. After a brief review, it was determined that the puck did not go in off Saprykin's glove, but rather the shaft of his stick, allowing the Coyotes three-goal lead to stand.
Shortly after the goal by Saprykin, emotions began to take over and at 7:14 of the period, Coyotes defenseman Nick Boynton and Anaheim's Francois Beauchemin took matters into their own hands when the squared off inside the Phoenix zone. Boynton drilled Beauchemin with a couple early shots that dropped the Ducks defenseman to his knees. At that moment, Boynton was just about to deliver another big right hand, but pulled back and allowed his opponent to return to his feet. Shortly thereafter both men were separated and sent to the penalty box.
Coyotes goaltender Curtis Joseph made an unbelievable save with just under three minutes to play when he reached out with his glove hand to snare a shot from Anaheim's Corey Perry at the left side of the net.
With 65-seconds left in the stanza, Phoenix blueliner Matt Jones took his first penalty of the contest when he was sent to the box for interference. The infraction would prove costly to the Coyotes as Anaheim's Chris Pronger unleashed a slap shot from the top of the right face-off circle with just four seconds left in the period, that beat Joseph on the far side; cutting the Coyotes lead to 4-2 after 40-minutes of action.
If Curtis Joseph was good through the first two periods, he was absolutely ridiculous to start the third. Through the first two minutes of the third, "Cujo" made three great gloves saves including an acrobatic stop to reach behind his body as he fell to the ice and grab the puck out of mid-air before it could cross the goal line.
However, the Ducks offense would continue to press the Coyotes back into their own zone and at 5:11 of the third, the pressure finally got the best of Phoenix. Anaheim's Dustin Penner brought the Ducks to within a goal when his shot from the right side of the net, somehow found a hole and entered the Coyotes net.
At 5:55 of the period, the Coyotes once again found themselves in penalty trouble, this time on a delay-of-game call to Boynton after his clearing attempt sailed over the glass and into the seats. Just as it had on their last penalty, this one would result in another Anaheim goal; and just like the last, it was Pronger who found the back of the net. However, this goal was surrounded by controversy as Anaheim's Corey Perry was trapped in the crease and made a blatant hand-pass to Ryan Getzlaf at the side of the net. Getzlaf then fed pass to Pronger in the slot who fired the puck into the net for his ninth goal of the season.
Over the final minute of regulation, the Coyotes tried to find a way to score the go-ahead goal, but a pair of key stops by Giguere and an unlucky bounce, kept the game tied at 4-4 and headed into overtime.
The Coyotes quickly found themselves in a difficult position during the extra frame when defenseman Travis Roche was called for interference at 1:23, resulting in another man-advantage for the Ducks. Then 30-seconds later, Anaheim completed their comeback when Selanne jumped on a turnover in the Phoenix end, raced in on Joseph and lifted a backhand shot into the net; as the Coyotes dropped a 5-4 decision to the Ducks.