Stars at Coyotes Game Recap
By Sergey Kocharov
Photos by Norm Hall
It was the one the Phoenix Coyotes had to have.
Geoff Sanderson and Shane Doan each scored two goals while Mike Comrie added three assists, in the Coyotes much needed 6-2 victory over the Dallas Stars in their first game back since the Olympic Break.
Sanderson extended his point streak to five-games and has registered six goals and two assists in his last five games for the Coyotes, who with the win, remain eight points out of the final playoff spot in the Western Conference.
"It was a tremendous effort tonight by the whole group," said Coyotes Head Coach Wayne Gretzky. "Everyone played hard and contributed. The guys did a good job. It was a nice win for us and a great start."
Steven Reinprecht and Paul Mara also scored for the Coyotes, who are looking to duplicate their 2002 post Olympic Break success when they posted a record of 15-5-1-2 over their final 23 contests.
"We know what we have to do to get back in the playoffs," said Sanderson. "Tonight, right from the drop of the puck we were the more aggressive team on the ice. That's how we have to play every game now."
Phoenix struck for two goals in a 59-second span late in the first period to took a 2-0 lead into the first intermission. Sanderson scored his first goal of the game on the power play and Reinprecht - positioned in front of the net - banged a rebound past starter Johan Hedberg to score his second goal as a member of the Coyotes.
Doan gave the Coyotes a three-goal lead at the 5:56 mark of the second period. After connecting with Comrie, Doan beat Hedberg with a high shot on a breakaway to score his first goal of the game.
"Doaner was great tonight and we had efforts from everyone on the team," said Mike Ricci. "We have to continue to play a full 60-minutes if we want to be successful."
Bill Guerin sent a hard shot past Joseph to bring Dallas to within two goals with 5:36 left in the period, but the Coyotes quickly countered when Mara unleashed a rocket just 1:10 later to restore the three-goal lead for Phoenix.
In need of a spark, the Stars replaced Hedberg with Marty Turco to start the third period and the move appeared to work. Jason Arnott quickly made it 4-2 at 4:51 of the period and the Stars went on a 5-on-3 power play for 1:24 seconds when Dave Scatchard was called for slashing.
"That was the turning point of the game," said Gretzky.
On a courageous play, Ricci blocked a shot and while in obvious pain got up on his feet and blocked another shot to clear the zone for Phoenix.
"That turned it around for us," said Doan. "We need efforts like that."
Prior to the start of Thursday's game, goaltender Curtis Joseph was named the Coyotes Treasures Custom Jewelers Player of the Month for February.
The Coyotes will conclude their franchise-record 10-game homestand on Saturday night against the Detroit Red Wings. The game is expected to be a sellout and is scheduled to start at 7:00 p.m.