Photo Credit: Norm Hall
COYOTES STARTING LINE-UP
(LW) Fredrik Sjostrom - (C) Yanic Perreault - (RW) Owen Nolan
(D) Keith Ballard - (D) Zbynek Michalek
DUCKS STARTING LINE-UP
(LW) Chris Kunitz - (C) Andy McDonald - (RW) Teemu Selanne
(D) Francois Beauchemin - (D) Scott Niedermayer
Phoenix - Mikael Tellqvist
Anaheim - Jean-Sebastien Giguere
On Saturday night, the Phoenix Coyotes rang in the holidays early as Mikael Tellqvist turned in a perfect 29-save performance to give the Coyotes a 2-0 win over Pacific Division rivals, the Anaheim Ducks.
The Phoenix Coyotes began the contest with an impressive display of defensive hockey as the Ducks top line of Teemu Selanne, Andy McDonald and Chris Kunitz were unable to get past the Coyotes defense and establish early pressure on goaltender Mikael Tellqvist.
In addition to keeping the Anaheim offense in-check, Phoenix was able to continually bring the play into the Ducks zone where netminder Jean-Sebastien Giguere was tested by a series of shots early. However, the Anaheim goalkeeper would mirror the performance by Tellqvist at the other end of the rink as he too kept the puck out of the net, thereby keeping the game scoreless.
Phoenix defenseman Zbynek Michalek tried to catch Giguere off-guard midway through the period when he fired a hard shot from the left corner of the zone at the net, forcing Giguere to trap the puck between his skate and the left goal post until the official whistled the play dead.
At 13:36 of the first Oleg Saprykin nearly gave the Coyotes the first goal of the game when he took a feed from line-mate Georges Laraque in the corner and tried to force it inside of the left goal post. But after a two unsuccessful attempts, the Ducks defense swarmed Saprykin, forcing him behind the net and off the puck.
Anaheim would gain the first power play of the game at 14:40 of the period when Coyotes defenseman Derek Morris was called for hooking in the defensive zone. The Phoenix penalty-killing unit went to work against one of the most lethal power plays in the league, trying to keep the puck contained in the perimeter and the pressure off Tellqvist. Anaheim would have a golden opportunity to take the lead when a cross-ice pass found an open Ryan Getzlaf at the right side of the net. Getzlaf tried to fire the puck at the goal with one-timer, but was unable to make solid contact, sending the puck sailing into the far corner and out of harms way.
With the opening period winding down, Coyote right wing Owen Nolan raced across the Anaheim blueline and snapped a low shot on goal, only to have Giguere drop to his knees and corral the puck in his mid-section. In the end, neither club would put their mark on the scoreboard during the first period as the teams headed to the locker room tied at 0-0.
Phoenix continued to exhibit a penchant for offense as forward Mike Zigomanis and Oleg Saprykin entered the zone on a two-on-one rush early in the second period. Zigomanis made a good play to get a pass over to Saprykin, but the Coyotes would be unable to turn the play into a goal, as the contest remained scoreless.
At 3:34 of the period, Phoenix received their first man-advantage of the game when Anaheim's Joe DiPenta was sent to the box for tripping. The Coyotes would use the extra skater to their advantage as they established pressure in the Ducks' zone, but once again, it was the play of Giguere that kept the Coyotes from taking the lead.
Mikael Tellqvist, who was keeping pace with Giguere in saves all night, made a strong stop of Anaheim's Travis Moen at 8:40 of the second from the top of the crease, followed by a save from point blank range on Andy McDonald just seconds later to quell the Ducks offensive aspirations.
The Coyotes would go on the offensive with an extra attacker two more times in the second period as Ducks defensemen Shane O'Brien and Scott Niedermayer were placed in the penalty box for holding and tripping respectively. Unfortunately, the Coyotes would fail to convert on the power play as the Ducks penalty-killing unit and Giguere kept the contest tied at 0-0.
In the final minute of the period, Phoenix forward Mike Zigomanis was sent to the box for hooking, giving Anaheim a power play that would carry over to the start of the third period.
The Ducks wasted no time creating offensive pressure in the third period as forward Chris Perry deflected a shot in the crease that got behind Tellqvist before ricocheting off the crossbar and away from the net.
Anaheim would continue to move the puck around the Coyotes zone, interrupting their passes only to deliver shots on goal, which Tellqvist continued to get in front of.
While shorthanded, the Coyotes had a good scoring chance when Dave Scatchard delivered a wrist shot from the point that deflected off Giguere and over to Shane Doan at the right side of the net. Doan tried to sweep the puck into the goal, but Giguere was able to slide over and make the stop on the Coyotes captain.
The Ducks came within inches of grabbing the lead at 8:35 of the third when Selanne fired a shot from the right side of the goal that beat Tellqvist, who was out of position and struck the far left goal post before being picked up by a Phoenix defenseman.
At 14:58 of the third, the Coyotes offensive pressure would pay off as Mike Comrie blasted a shot from the point that was stopped by the left leg of Giguere, but Shane Doan was in perfect position to grab the rebound and lift it over the leg of the Ducks netminder for a 1-0 Phoenix lead.
Just 13-seconds later, Phoenix would strike again when a wrist shot by defenseman Keith Ballard at the blueline was tipped in front by Fredrik Sjostrom, sending the puck past Giguere and putting the Coyote on top 2-0. Owen Nolan and Keith Ballard recorded the assists on Sjostrom's third goal of the season.
Shortly after Sjostrom gave the Coyotes a two-goal lead, Phoenix center Joel Perrault was sent to the box for high-sticking. The Coyotes penalty-killing unit began their most important task of the night as the Ducks power play unit brought an all-out onslaught at the Phoenix net. However, Anaheim's pressure was once again outdone by the efforts of Tellqvist who stayed perfect through the remainder of the penalty as well as the final minutes of the game, stopping all 29 shots he faced; lifting the Coyotes to a 2-0 win over the Ducks.