Photo Credit: Mitchell Layton/Getty Images
Phoenix - Mikael Tellqvist
Washington - Olaf Kolzig
On Monday, the Phoenix Coyotes ushered in the New Year in the nation's capital where Mikael Tellqvist's 30-save performance propelled the Coyotes to their third consecutive victory, a 3-2 win over the Washington Capitals.
The Coyotes began the game by sending the puck into the Capitals zone and establishing pressure on Washington netminder Olaf Kolzig.
Ladislav Nagy would draw the first penalty of the game as he controlled the puck deep in the Capitals zone where Washington defenseman Shaone Morrisonn clipped Nagy in the face with an errant high-stick.
The Coyotes power play would last only 29-seconds as Phoenix's Yanic Perreault made a quick pass from the left hand boards to the top of the Capitals crease where a streaking Owen Nolan raced in and tipped the puck past Kolzig to give the Coyotes a 1-0 lead at 2:02 of the first.
Phoenix would get another power play opportunity less than a minute later as Alexander Semin was called for hooking deep in his own zone. Once again the Coyotes would bring a get pressure to the front of the Washington net, but this time Kolzig was able to stay in position and keep Phoenix from adding to their lead as the penalty to Semin expired.
With just over eight minutes to play in the period, Washington sniper Alexander Ovechkin made a nice move in the Coyotes zone to get around defenseman Keith Ballard and slide a shot on net, only to be denied by goaltender Mikael Tellqvist.
At 12:25 of the opening frame, Coyotes forward Dave Scatchard was assessed a minor penalty for tripping, giving the Capitals their second power play of the afternoon. Washington did a good job of keeping the puck in the Phoenix zone, but struggled to get pucks to the net. Then in the final minute of the man-advantage, the Capitals crashed the net, causing traffic in front of Tellqvist. Washington made the most of the over populated crease by sending pucks to the net, which resulted in a rebound at the top of the Coyotes crease. Washington defenseman Brian Pothier was able to then rush in, grab the puck and backhand it into the top of the net to tie the game at 1-1.
Phoenix wouldn't let the game remain tied for long as the Coyotes rushed back into the Washington zone, Nolan held the puck along the right side where he waited for Ballard to jump into the slot. Once in position, Nolan fed a perfect pass over to Ballard who snapped a shot past Kolzig on the short side to put the Coyotes back on top, 2-1.
The Capitals would take their third and final penalty of the period with 1:26 to play when Dainius Zubrus tripped Ballard to the ice in front of the Phoenix net. The Coyotes would make the most of the lat man-advantage when captain Shane Doan fired a wrist shot from the slot that deflected off the glove of Kolzig and into the net just before the expiration of the period, putting Phoenix up by the score of 3-1 after 20-minutes of play.
Early in the second, the Coyotes penalty-killing unit would receive their third assignment of the contest as Mike Zigomanis was called for hooking at 1:19 of the period. The Capitals would fail to mount much of an attack as the Phoenix defense stood their ground at the blueline forcing a series of dump-in passes by Washington, which were quickly cleared by the Coyotes.
Shortly after returning to full strength, the Coyotes would take another penalty when Oleg Saprykin was sent to the box at 4:15 of the second for holding-the-stick. Despite having just killed off one penalty, the Phoenix penalty killers showed no deterioration as they easily kept the Capitals man-advantage, led by Ovechkin, in-check and off the scoreboard as Saprykin left the box and returned to the ice.
Midway through the second, the Coyotes generated a scoring chance when Nolan took a log pass through the neutral zone, skated to the top of the left face-off circle and blasted a slap shot on net, which was turned aside by Kolzig.
Washington continued to try and establish a presence in the Coyotes zone at full strength and at 11:22 of the period, their effort would be rewarded when center Brian Sutherby led a rush into the Phoenix zone. With Mike Comrie having taken away the passing lane, Sutherby elected to take a wrist shot from the right face-off circle that somehow eluded the blocker of Tellqvist and entered the net, cutting the Coyotes lead to 3-2.
With 2:30 to play in the stanza, Ovechkin had a opportunity to tie the game for Washington as he took the puck from the left side of the net and skated across the front of the crease where he tried to take advantage of a screen by Zubrus as he flipped the puck on goal. However, Tellqvist somehow fought off the screen in front and made the stop to keep the Coyotes ahead by one.
The Coyotes would receive a late power play with Zubrus taking a holding-the-stick penalty at 18:01 of the second. Unfortunately, Phoenix would be unable to add to their lead as the second period came to an end with the Coyotes leading 3-2.
The Capitals would have an opportunity to even the score early in the final period as Phoenix defenseman Zbynek Michalek was called for holding at 1:42 of the third. Making matters even worse for the Coyotes, defenseman Ed Jovanovski took as puck to the face behind the net. Jovanovski would briefly leave the ice to be attended to in the locker room. Despite being shorthanded and losing one of their top defensemen, the Coyotes were able to keep the Capitals pressure contained to the perimeter as the penalty to Michalek expired.
Phoenix continued to find themselves in penalty trouble, but none more dangerous than at 5:12 of the third when Matt Jones was called for hooking, with 58-seconds remaining on a tripping penalty to Travis Roche.
Following a timeout by Washington to discuss strategy for the extended two-man advantage, the Coyotes penalty killing unit when to work trying to keep bodies in the shooting lanes and force the Capitals to waste time passing the around the zone. The best scoring opportunity would come when Ovechkin unloaded a wild slap shot from the slot that Tellqvist was able to knock down and steer away from the net. In the end, the Phoenix penalty killers would do exactly what they were asked to do as the Capitals failed to produce the game-tying goal.
As time continued to expire in the final period, the Capitals became more aggressive in their pursuit of a game-tying goal. Relying heavily on the play of Ovechkin, Washington began double shifting their star in an attempt to generate an offensive spark, but Tellqvist was determined not to give into the Capitals pressure as he continued to keep the net clean and Phoenix up by a goal.
With just over a minute left in the game, Washington pulled Kolzig from the net in favor of an extra attacker. The Coyotes had two chances to put the puck in to the empty Capitals net, but failed to do, keeping Washington's hopes alive. However, even the extra attacker wouldn't be enough as Phoenix held off the late surge to defeat the Capitals by the score of 3-2.