Photo credit: Dallas Stars
Phoenix - Mikael Tellqvist
Dallas - Marty Turco
On Tuesday night, the Phoenix Coyotes completed their longest road trip of the season with a perfect 5-0-0 record as they crushed the Dallas Stars by the score of 5-2.
The Coyotes would hold off a pair of early shots before creating their first quality scoring chance of the game when captain Shane Doan came across a loose puck in the Dallas crease with just over a minute gone in the first period. Doan tried to deflect the puck past Turco's leg, but was forced to make the play from a nearly impossible angle and as a result, the puck slid past the open net and into the corner.
Following several minutes of end-to-end action, Phoenix would make the first trip to the penalty box at 5:13 of period as defenseman Derek Morris was assessed a two-minute minor for hooking.
The first minute of the Stars power play saw Dallas crash the Coyotes net and test the skills of goaltender Mikael Tellqvist. Staying true to form, Tellqvist stood his ground and kept the Phoenix net clear.
During the second half of the penalty to Morris, the Coyotes turned the tables on the Stars beginning with a rush up ice the concluded when Coyotes blueliner Keith Ballard snapped a shot on goal that seemed to catch Dallas netminder Marty Turco off guard as he made an awkward save. Phoenix followed up the shorthanded shot on goal with a pair of clearing from their own zone to run out the infraction to Morris and return to full strength.
At 10:06 of the first, the Stars would capture the first lead of the contest when forward Eric Lindros made a pass from his knees at the left side of the Phoenix net to Niklas Hagman at the top of the crease. Hagman then tipped the puck past Tellqvist for his eighth goal of the season and a 1-0 Stars lead.
Just over a minute after the Stars took the one-goal lead, Coyotes forward Josh Gratton took matters into his own hands literally as he dropped the gloves with the Stars Matthew Barnaby, in front of the Coyotes bench. Gratton took any momentum Dallas had gained away with each blow he landed on Barnaby. After several minutes of punishment, the officials finally stepped in to separate the two combatants and send them to the box with matching fighting majors.
Gratton's actions would pay off as the Coyotes received a spark and turned that boost of emotion into a tying goal at 13:15 of the first. On the play, defenseman Travis Roche made a highlight play as he skated in from the left side, eluded a pair of Dallas defensemen and slid the puck past Turco to make it a 1-1 game.
The remainder of the opening period would see Tellqvist make a series of crucial saves, including a pair on a Dallas three-on-one rush as the first period came to a close with the score tied at 1-1.
Early in the second period of play, the Stars and Coyotes took minor penalties just three seconds apart with Stu Barnes (hooking) and Shane Doan (interference) heading toward the box.
At 11:24 of the second, Dallas' Antti Miettinen made his first trip to the box when he was called for roughing. The penalty would prove costly for the Stars as the Coyotes need only 35-seconds of power play time to score take their first lead of the game. On the play, forward Yanic Perreault took the puck along the left hand boards where he made a brilliant no-look pass to a streaking Ed Jovanovski at the right side of the net, where he tipped the puck past an out-of-position Turco for his ninth goal of the season and a 2-1 Phoenix lead.
Shortly after the goal by Jovanovski, the Coyotes would receive another power play when Stars defenseman Stephane Robidas was called for hooking. Phoenix would once again take full advantage of the extra attacker when Ladislav Nagy made a head's up play by following up his own shot from the right face-off circle, grabbing the rebound and feeding a pass over to Doan at the top of the crease; allowing Doan to tap the puck into an open net for a 3-1 lead.
The final minutes of the second were dominated by a series of penalties from both teams, but the most dangerous situation occurred with 45-seconds left in the stanza as Ed Jovanovski was called for slashing and sent to join Travis Roche, who was already serving an interference penalty. The result was a five-on-three power play for the Stars for the remainder of the period.
Dallas sent everything they had at the Coyotes over the final seconds of the period, but Tellqvist was error free as he stayed in position and kept the Stars from cutting into the Phoenix lead as the second period came to a close with the Coyotes leading by two.
Phoenix began the third period, still facing a two-man advantage for the Stars. Dallas picked up exactly where they left off in the second as they dominated play within the Coyotes zone. That pressure would eventually result in a goal when Stars forward Jere Lehtinen's shot from the right side of the net just slid underneath the leg pad of Tellqvist and into the net to cut the Coyotes lead to 3-2.
In addition to closing the gap to a single goal, the Stars still had 35-seconds of power play time left on the penalty to Jovanovski. However, the Coyotes were reluctant to give the Stars an opportunity to even the score as they cleared the zone, took the pressure off Tellqvist and returned to full strength.
At 10:54 of the third, the Coyotes power play unit received an opportunity to put the Coyotes back on top by two when forward Eric Lindros was sent to the penalty box after hooking Derek Morris to the ice deep inside the Phoenix zone.
The Coyotes man-advantage came within inches of regaining a two-goal lead, first on a backhand shot from Doan that ricocheted off the right post; and then a pair of chances from point blank range by Steven Reinprecht. Unfortunately, Turco rose to the challenge and held off the Coyotes attack.
With the Stars trying desperately to even the score at three, the Coyotes knew they would have chances to turn the play back up ice and create offensive opportunities and at 15:42 of the third that is exactly what they did. With a three-on-two rush, Oleg Saprykin fed a great pass over to Owen Nolan at the side of the net, who made no mistake as he re-directed the puck into the Stars net for a 4-2 lead. Nolan's goal was his 11th of the season and sixth point (3 goals, 3 assists) in his last five games.
Shane Doan put an exclamation point on the evening when he fired a puck into the Stars empty net with 51-seconds left in regulation for his second goal of the night and sealing the Stars fate; as the Coyotes swept their five-game road trip with a 5-2 win over the Stars.