Photos by Norm Hall
Newly acquired forward Steven Reinprecht couldn't have asked for a better debut with the Phoenix Coyotes.
Reinprecht scored the lone goal in the shootout and Curtis Joseph made 34 saves plus three in the shootout as the Coyotes recorded a crucial 2-1 shootout victory over the Pacific Division rival Los Angeles Kings at Glendale Arena.
"It was a storybook beginning for Steven," said Joseph. "He won it for us with a great move."
Reinprecht, who was acquired from the Calgary Flames late Wednesday along with goaltender Philippe Sauve in exchange for Mike Leclerc and Brian Boucher, skated in on Mathieu Garon and beat the sprawling goalie with a high backhand shot.
"I tried to go down on the goalie and give a quick fake to the five-whole," said Reinprecht, who arrived earlier on Thursday. "I was able to pull it over and go up high on him. It was a big win for our club. They are ahead of us in the standings, so we had to come out and play a great game against them."
Coyotes Head Coach Wayne Gretzky was impressed with Reinprecht's effort.
"I thought he played pretty well and it was a nice start for him," said Gretzky. "I'm sure he's tired; he flew this morning. He looked really good and gave us some speed in the middle. It was nice to see him get the winning goal."
Joseph was spectacular for Phoenix, but stole the show in overtime when he robbed Eric Belanger, Alexander Frolov and Michael Cammalleri in succession. He made all three stops in the shootout, which included a pad save on former Coyote Jeremy Roenick.
"Tonight, I just tried to see the puck and clear the rebounds away and it made for a good night," said Joseph, who was named first star of the game. "We've been playing hard but coming out on the short end of the stick but tonight we continued to play hard and we'll take the win."
Los Angeles broke the scoreless tie in the second period when Frolov beat Joseph after connecting with Luc Robitaille. After numerous stops by Joseph, Robitaille - stationed behind the net - found Frolov who drove a quick shot past Joseph at the 5:47 mark of the period.
Dave Scatchard scored for the third consecutive game to tie it for the Coyotes, who out-shot the Kings 12-6 in the period. Following an incredible pad save by Garon, Scatchard capitalized on the rebound to notch his 11th goal of the season.
"I just saw the rebound and I knew the goalie was down so I just tried to go up," said Scatchard, who has five points (three goals, two assists) in his last three games. "I stayed patient, corralled it and luckily for me it went in."
Garon made 31 saves for the Kings, who dropped their fifth consecutive game.
"We certainly had chances to win the hockey game in the third period and in overtime," said Kings Head Coach Andy Murray. "But their goalie came up big."
Newly acquired forward Steven Reinprecht and goaltender Philippe Sauve made their debuts for the Coyotes. While Sauve served as a backup for Joseph, Reinprecht logged 20:49 of ice time. The 29-year-old Reinprecht - Calgary's sixth-leading scorer -collected 10 goals, 19 assists and 29 points in 52 games this season with the Flames. The Edmonton, Alberta native has played in six NHL seasons with Los Angeles, Colorado, Calgary and Phoenix.
Phoenix traded goaltender Brian Boucher and forward Mike Leclerc late Wednesday to acquire Reinprecht and Sauve.
Coyotes' rookie defenseman Keith Ballard was named the Coyotes Treasure's Custom Jewelers Player of the Month for January. Ballard led the Coyotes in scoring during the month with 13 points (two goals, 11 assists) in 15 games.
JR IN TOWN
Former Coyote Jeremy Roenick played his first game after missing nearly three months with a fractured finger. Roenick spent five seasons in Phoenix (1996-2001) and ranks ninth on the all-time franchise list with 351 points (141 goals, 210 assists). This season, Roenick has registered six goals and seven assists in 33 games with the Kings.
The Coyotes will hit the halfway point of their franchise-record 10-game homestand when they face off against the Minnesota Wild on Saturday night. The game time is set for 7:00 p.m.