Coyotes Top Ducks 2-1 in Overtime
By Sergey Kocharov
(Photos Courtesy of Norm Hall)
Phoenix Coyotes Head Coach Wayne Gretzky gave his team a day off on Sunday. Thanks to another stellar performance by goaltender Curtis Joseph on Saturday night, they'll be able to enjoy it.
Joseph continued his brilliance in net with 43 saves and Zbynek Michalek scored the game-winner in overtime, as the Coyotes came away with a 2-1 overtime victory in front of 16,358 fans at Glendale Arena on Saturday evening.
"It doesn't matter who scores the game-winner, it's the two points in the end that matters the most," said Michalek. "It's just great for our team. It was a tough game to play and it was a big divisional game for us. We knew coming into this game that it was going to be tough and it was. They had so many chances and you can just thank (Joseph) because he kept us in the game and made so many saves."
Michalek notched his third goal of the season with 1:51 left in overtime. While on the odd man rush, Michalek tried connecting with Mike Comrie, but the puck hit Anaheim's Jason Marshall and trickled past Jean-Sebastien Giguere.
"I saw a chance to jump in the play and make something happen," said Michalek. "I got the puck and saw Mike Comrie in the crease. I tried getting the puck to him and it hit the defenseman and went in.
"We knew how big of a game this was for us, and it was a big win. Each divisional game is very important. After our loss to Calgary, we knew that we had to play much better and (Joseph) just kept us in the game."
Joseph made numerous stops in overtime for the Coyotes, who were shorthanded at the start of the extra frame while Shane Doan served a minor penalty for holding.
"Our penalty kill was excellent tonight and our defensemen made some great plays for us," said Joseph, who with the win passed Phoenix Goaltending Coach Grant Fuhr for eighth place all-time in the NHL with 404 victories.
Ladislav Nagy scored the first goal of the game on a slick move just 1:33 into the contest. After stick-handling his way into Anaheim's zone, Nagy pulled a great move on Giguere as he went behind the net and stuffed the puck in off Giguere's skates.
"I tried to shoot the puck but I saw Giguere was in front of the net, so I tried to go around him and found an opening," said Nagy, who scored his fifth goal of the season and second in two games. "I tried putting it in past him, but I hit his skates and got a bit lucky.
"It's a big win for us and Joseph was unbelievable, but we have to help him defensively. He's facing way too many shots."
Anaheim tied the game on Ryan Getzlaf's fourth goal of the season midway though the second period, in which they outshot Phoenix 17-7.
"It's just a broken record," said Gretzky of Josephs' performance in net. "He made some unbelievable saves and we were fortunate to win this game.
"No one thought that after 20 games that we would be at .500 (9-9-2), but my goal is to be in first place. I don't think of anything else and I tell my players that everyday. The stepping-stone to this is that the organizations in our division are good, strong organizations, and we've got our work cut out for us. But I also have to believe in my players and give them the confidence to do the job."
Forward Tyson Nash was the lone scratch for the Phoenix Coyotes. Anaheim's forwards Kip Brennan and Chris Kunitz did not dress.
Phoenix defenseman Dennis Gauthier, who missed the last 13 games with fractured finger, is listed as questionable for Wednesday's game against the Avalanche.
The Coyotes will conclude their current three-game homestand when they face off against the Colorado Avalanche on Wednesday night at 7:00 p.m. This will be the first meeting for both teams this season and the game will not be broadcast on local television. The game can be heard on KDUS-1060AM, KSKB-93.3 FM or by clicking the "Listen Live" link in the Game Day page at phoenixcoyotes.com.