Coyotes-Stars Game Recap
By: Chad Lynch
Photos courtesy of the Dallas Stars
At the start of the first period, the Phoenix Coyotes were put to the test holding off the early rushes by Dallas as the Stars made several trips into the Coyotes end, putting shots on net, but were unable to rattle goaltender Curtis Joseph, who kept the Stars off the scoreboard.
The Coyotes took the early 1-0 lead at 6:13 of the period when a turnover in the Dallas zone by the Stars Trevor Daley, found its way onto the stick of Dave Scatchard, who quickly fired the puck on goal and beat Turco who was trying to slide back into position, but couldn't fully square to the shot and as a result gave up the first tally of the evening.
Following the goal by Scatchard, the Stars turned up their offensive presence by forcing the Coyotes to chase the puck in their own zone and again give up a pair of high-percentage shots, but once again, Joseph stood tall in the net and kept the Stars offense frustrated.
With Dallas trying to turn up the heat in the Phoenix zone, they did get caught out of position on several occasions, leaving Turco forced to make stops on odd-man rushes by the Coyotes to stay within a goal.
With just over six minutes to play in the first, Coyotes defenseman Denis Gauthier and Dallas forward Brendan Morrow dropped the gloves behind the Coyotes net and faced off in a brief scrap that saw both men take fighting majors give an emotional boost to their bench.
At 14:48 of the first, the Coyotes received a scare when forward Mike Johnson was stuck in the face by a high-stick from Dallas' Mike Modano behind the Dallas net. Johnson immediately fell to the ice in obvious pain with blood falling onto the ice and was quickly helped off the ice by athletic therapist Chris Broadhurst. Unfortunately, there was no penalty on the play.
With 1:23 left in the period, the Stars were able to tie the score at 1-1 when defenseman Sergei Zubov blasted a shot from the point that just barely beat Joseph on the strong side to even the contest.
Neither club would be able to find the back of the net in the remainder of the period and the two teams headed to the locker room after 20 minutes of play tied at 1-1.
After giving up a late first period goal to the Stars, the Coyotes then allowed an early second period when a turnover by Keith Ballard in front of the net, gave the puck to Modano, who dished it off to an open Jussi Jokinen, who snapped a shot past Joseph for a 2-1 Dallas lead.
Phoenix found themselves shorthanded at 2:40 of the first when Shane Doan was sent to the box for hooking. On the penalty kill, the Coyotes had to withstand an intense offensive onslaught by the Stars to keep them away from the net. When Dallas was able to put pucks on net, Joseph made a series of highlight saves to keep it a one-goal game.
Just seconds after the penalty to Doan expired; Stars forward Brendan Morrow took a loose puck in the slot and roofed a shot over the glove hand of Joseph to give Dallas a 3-1 lead.
The Coyotes had a great chance to cut the lead to one goal at 5:55 of the second period when a hooking call sent Modano to the Dallas penalty box where Jaroslav Svoboda was already 45 seconds into his holding penalty, giving the Coyotes an extended five-on-three power play. With the two-man advantage, the Coyotes struggled to get into a rhythm offensively as the Stars were quick to clear the puck out of their zone and kill off both penalties without allowing a goal.
With just under six minutes to play in the second, the Stars increased their lead to 4-1 when Brendan Morrow stole the puck away from Dennis Seidenberg in the corner and sent it to Jason Arnott in the slot. Arnott tried to get the puck over to Bill Guerin at the right side of the net, but the pass was redirected en-route by the stick of a Coyote defenseman and put past Joseph, giving the Stars a three goal lead.
The Coyotes appeared to cut the deficit in hale with three minutes to play when a loose puck in font slid past Turco and into the net, but the on-ice officials had clearly blown the whistle just before the puck was put into the goal after they lost sight of it, thereby nullifying the tally and keeping the Stars up by three.
Both clubs would trade rushes into the offensive zone in the final minutes of the second, but neither goaltender would surrender a goal as the second period came to an end with the Coyotes trailing 4-1.
The Coyotes began the third period trying desperately to climb back into the game but the Stars refused to give an inch as they rebuffed the Coyotes drives at every turn.
Phoenix gave the Stars a five-on-three power play at 6:27 of the third when Mike Ricci (roughing) and Sean O'Donnell (cross-checking) were both sent to the penalty box. This time the Coyotes penalty killers dug in their heels at the blue line and kept the Dallas pressure to minimum as they allowed only one shot on goal until they could return to full strength.
With 12:21 left in the final period, Phoenix nearly found the back of the net when Geoff Sanderson broke loose at the Stars blue line, raced in on Turco and lifted a shot over the stick of Turco, but rather than going into the goal, ricocheted off the cross-bar. The goal judge never turned on the goal light, but the on-ice official closest to the play signaled a goal. However the Stars bench was quick to protest and the officials, who had refused to drop the puck, decided to take another look at the play. After a brief review it was determined that the puck never crossed the goal line and the tally was waived off.
One of the biggest side stories all night was the battle between the Coyotes and Dallas forward Brendan Morrow. The story continued late into the third period as Morrow and O'Donnell battled fiercely in front of the Phoenix net, with neither player backing down until O'Donnell finally knocked Morrow to the ice.
The final minutes of the third period would wind down without incident as the Coyotes dropped the first game of a three-game road trip, 4-1 to the Dallas Stars.