Photo Credit: Jonathan Kozub & AP Photo/John Woods
On Sunday night, the Phoenix Coyotes played their first pre-season contest of the season, in Winnipeg against the Edmonton Oilers. Despite their efforts, Phoenix would be unable to leave Winnipeg victorious as the Oilers topped the Coyotes 5-0.
The Coyotes and Oilers got off to a rocky start as both teams made early trips to the penalty box. However, neither team would be able to take advantage of the four-on-four situation and the game remained scoreless through the first half of play.
The Coyotes would continue to be bothered by penalties as forward Joel Perrault was sent to the box at 14:16 for hooking, giving Edmonton their third power play opportunity of the opening frame. Less than a minute later, at 14:46 of the first, the Coyotes found themselves down by two skaters when Patrick Fischer was sent to join Perrault in the box.
Edmonton would take full advantage of the five-on-three advantage when center Jarret Stoll blasted a one-timer from the slot, past goaltender David LeNeveu for a 1-0 Oilers lead. Toby Peterson and Daniel Tjarnqvist each recorded an assist on Stoll's first goal of the pre-season.
Phoenix would manage to keep Edmonton contained to the lone tally in the opening stanza as the clubs skated of the ice after 20-minutes of play with the Oilers leading 1-0.
Early in the second period, the Coyotes began to generate some offense in the second period when the line of Martin Hanzal, Patrick Fischer and Georges Laraque did a good job of protecting the puck in the Oilers zone and generating a trio of quality scoring opportunities before Edmonton's Ladislav Smid was forced to hook Laraque to the ice to stall the Coyotes pressure.
With the man-advantage, the Coyotes did a good job of continuing to get shots on the net. Ed Jovanovski and Derek Morris each registered a shot on net, but perhaps the best chance came off the stick of right wing Owen Nolan. Nolan carried the puck to the front of the net and tried to stuff a shot into the net, but was stopped by netminder Devan Dubnyk. The Coyotes would fail to even the score on the early power play, but they were starting to generate steady pressure on the defending Western Conference Champions.
Midway through the second period, the Coyotes were put back on the penalty kill when a Derek Morris clearing attempt sailed over the glass and into the crowd, resulting in an automatic delay-of-game penalty. Halfway through the penalty to Morris, the Coyotes made a goaltending change, replacing LeNeveu with Philippe Sauve. Phoenix would go on to kill off the remainder of the penalty to return to full strength without allowing Edmoton to add to their lead.
Shortly after the Coyotes returned to full strength, the Oilers added to their lead when a rush into the Phoenix zone saw Stoll score his second goal of the game when he fired a one-timer past Sauve for a 2-0 Edmonton lead.
With 5:20 left in the second period, the Coyotes went on their sixth power play of the game, but before they could move the puck out of their zone, Phoenix defenseman Ed Jovanovski was hit a bit awkwardly, causing him to skate off the ice. Once on the bench, Jovanovski was checked out by the Coyotes medical staff and returned to the ice on the next shift.
Edmonton would manage to keep the Coyotes offensive attack off balance long enough to return to kill off the penalty and return to five-on-five hockey.
Phoenix gave the man-advantage back to Edmonton with two-minutes left in the period when Daniel Winnik was called for tripping inside the Coyotes zone. The penalty would prove costly for the Desert Dogs when Oiler rookie Alexei Mikhnov grabbed a rebound from the front of the net and knocked it into the Coyotes net to make it a 3-0 contest.
Following the goal by Mikhnov, the Coyotes tried to get on the scoreboard when rookie Peter Mueller and Mike Comrie crashed the net and registered a pair of shots on goal, but Dubnyk kept the puck out of the net as the period expired with Edmonton holding a three-goal lead.
Coyotes forward Fredrik Sjostrom nearly got Phoenix on the scoreboard in the opening minute of the third period, when he took a pass from Donald MacLean, raced into the Oilers zone and blasted a slap shot that was stopped by Dubnyk to keep Phoenix off the scoreboard.
Owen Nolan made a great play to bring the puck into the Oilers zone and get the puck over to Joel Perrault, who came within inches of finding the back of the net. However, after Dubnyk's stop on Perrault, the play quickly moved back into the Coyotes zone where heavy action in front of the net ended with Edmonton right wing Stephane Goulet grabbing a rebound and tossing it into the goal, putting Edmonton up 4-0.
The tempo of play began to pick up when the Coyotes and Oilers skated off nearly 11-minutes from the clock without a whistle. During the extended play, the Coyotes managed a couple shots on goal, but were unable to sustain enough pressure to get on the scoreboard.
Edmonton's Brad Winchester extended the Oilers lead to 5-0 when he batted a pass from Alexei Miknov out of mid-air and into the Coyotes net. Marty Reasoner collected the secondary assist on the tally.
Georges Laraque and Patrick Fischer tried desperately to avoid the shutout in the final minute of play, but once again Dubnyk was sharp between the pipes as he held off the Phoenix attack, finishing the night with 27-saves to give Edmonton a 5-0 victory.
NEXT GAME The Phoenix Coyotes will return to the ice on Tuesday night when the travel to Edmonton for a re-match with the Oilers. The game is scheduled to start at 6:00 p.m.