On Friday night, the Phoenix Coyotes faced the San Jose Sharks for the second time in three nights, and while the Coyotes fell short in the game (2-1), Phoenix goaltender David LeNeveu proved he's ready to play at the NHL level.
"It was a pretty special performance tonight by David," said Coyotes Head Coach Wayne Gretzky. "He has been waiting for a chance to show what he can do and tonight he did that."
During the game, LeNeveu was under almost constant pressure as the Sharks controlled the puck and the offensive play for much of the game. By the end of the game, LeNeveu had stopped 39 of the 41 shots he faced.
"I felt real good out there," said LeNeveu. "I got to make a few saves early and I began to get into a rhythm and see the puck very well. It was an exciting feeling."
What made LeNeveu's performance even more special was the fact that many of his 39 saves Friday night were anything but routine. He was forced to display some acrobatic moves in some situations to be able to keep the puck out of then net.
"When you look at the shots he faced and the manor in which they came at him, it is easy to see how this game could have been seven or even eight to one," said Gretzky.
For LeNeveu, Friday night's performance was exactly what he had been waiting for.
"I have been anxious to get back in the net," said LeNeveu. "I knew that I could play better than I did in my first game and tonight, I think I showed that."
WHO'S ON THE POWER PLAY
On Friday night, the Sharks failed to score on any of their 10 power play opportunities. Rather it was the Coyotes who took advantage while San Jose had an extra attacker.
While Phoenix was killing a penalty to defenseman Matt Jones, forward Mike Johnson blasted a puck past San Jose netminder Evgeni Nabokov for a shorthanded goal.
The tally was Johnson's first of the preseason and the Coyotes eighth shorthanded goal of the preseason.
BATTLE OF BROTHERS
Friday's game was more than just a showdown between Pacific division rivals; it was also a game that pitted brother against brother.
Phoenix defenseman Zbynek Michalek faced his younger brother Milan, for the first time in an NHL game. While Milan came away with the victory, he was a minus -1 on the evening, while big brother Zbynek finished at plus +1 in over 18 minutes of ice time.
Jason Chimera left Friday's game in the first period when he injured his ribs. The injury is not expected to sideline Chimera for very long, but the coaching staff didn't want to take any chances on further injury.
Chimera will be re- eval uated on Saturday, prior to the Coyotes final preseason game against Anaheim. He is currently listed as day-to-day.
Coyote defenseman Ladislav Nagy left Friday's game late in the third period after suffering a minor shoulder injury.
Nagy will be re- eval uated on Saturday, prior to the Coyotes final preseason game against Anaheim. He is currently listed as day-to-day.
Petr Nedved also left the Friday's game early when he sustained a minor groin injury. It doesn't appear to be severe enough for Nedved to miss considerable time, but after the groin injury suffered by Brian Boucher early in the preseason, the Coyotes wanted to keep Nedved out of the remainder of Friday's game.
Nedved will be re- eval uated on Saturday, prior to the Coyotes final preseason game against Anaheim. He is currently listed as day-to-day.
The Coyotes will return to the ice for their final preseason game this season on Saturday, Oct. 1, 2005, when they host the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim at Glendale Arena.
The game is scheduled to begin at 7:30 P.M.