Photo Credit: Greg Skafte /Edmonton Oilers
Phoenix - Curtis Joseph
Edmonton - Dwayne Roloson
On Monday night, the Phoenix Coyotes dropped the first game of a two-game road trip, to the Edmonton Oilers by the score of 5-2.
The first scoring opportunity of the game came to the Oilers with less than two minutes gone by in the first period when Raffi Torres sent a shot on net from the right hand boards that was stopped by goaltender Curtis Joseph. The rebound came directly to Edmonton's Fernando Pisani at the top of the crease, but Pisani couldn't control the puck as it rolled through the crease and out of harms way.
Edmonton forward Ryan Smyth tried to catch Joseph off-guard near the four-minute mark when he threw a shot at the Phoenix net from a difficult angle on the right side, but "Cujo" was able to get his glove hand on the shot and keep it out of the net.
The Coyotes penalty kill was put to the test at 4:52 of the period when defenseman Dennis Seidenberg was called for hooking deep in his own zone. Despite being shorthanded, Phoenix rookie Enver Lisin made a great offensive play when he stole the puck in the neutral zone, and blasted a slap shot from just inside the Oilers zone that was kicked aside by netminder Dwayne Roloson.
Phoenix's penalty killing unit would continue to standup to the Edmonton attack and kill off the penalty. When Seidenberg was released from the penalty box, he immediately re-joined the play and led a two-on-one rush at the Oilers net with Mike Comrie. Seidenberg faked the pass before snapping a shot on goal, but Roloson was hugging the right goal post and made the stop.
Nearly a minute later, at the eight-minute mark of the first, Edmonton's Petr Sykora nearly gave the Oilers the first lead of the game when he fired a one-timer from the slot that Joseph was able to anticipate and stop to keep the game scoreless as the period approached the halfway point.
The Oilers would make their way to the penalty box at 8:37 of the period when Jarret Stoll was called for interference. Just over a minute into the Coyotes power play, it appeared that the Coyotes would be going on a two-man advantage when Edmonton's Marty Reasoner stumbled on his was to the net, colliding with Joseph and sending the veteran netminder to the ice. However, it turned out that the only penalty on the play was dealt to Joseph for unsportsmanlike conduct.
Once play returned to five skaters aside, it would be the Oilers who would make the first dent on the scoreboard when Edmonton crashed the Phoenix zone on with a three-on-two rush; that saw Edmonton center Patrick Thoresen carry the puck wide before sliding a perfect pass through the crease to an open Raffi Torres, who tipped the puck into the net for a 1-0 lead.
Just 59-seconds later, the Oilers made it a 2-0 contest when Ales Hemsky sent a cross-ice pass to Oiler forward Jarret Stoll at the right face-off circle, where Stoll hammered a one-timer that beat Joseph low to the strong side.
Phoenix would get another good scoring chance late in the period when a shot by defenseman Nick Boynton from the point, was tipped in front of the net by right wing Owen Nolan. However, Nolan's tip went just wide of the net and the Oilers were able to clear the zone.
The Coyotes tried to mount a scoring attack late in the opening frame, but time expired before they could cut into the Oiler lead.
The Coyotes began the second period by setting up in the Edmonton zone, trying to get shots through to the net. After a good display of puck control in the offensive zone, an errant pass to defenseman Ed Jovanovski, wound it's way into the neutral zone, where it was chased down by Fernando Pisani, who drove to the net before being stopped by Joseph. Unfortunately, Jovanovski was called for hooking as he tried to slow down Pisani, resulting in and Oiler power play.
Edmonton would have a difficult time moving the puck deep within the Coyotes zone during much of the power play, but a obvious oversight by the on-ice offices would lead to the Oilers third goal of the game. On the play, Edmonton had one forward inside the Coyotes zone, while the puck was still in the neutral zone. Before the Oilers could clear the zone, the puck crossed the blue line and Shawn Horcoff quickly took a slap shot that beat Joseph for a 3-0 lead. Horcoff's goal came at the very second that the Edmonton power play expired at 3:15 of the second.
As the second period continued, the Coyotes began to look more comfortable in the offensive zone as the line of Oleg Saprykin, Dave Scatchard and Enver Lisin, did a good job of creating space and opportunity, which seemed to give the Coyotes' offense a boost.
The scoreless streak that had plagued the Coyotes for two game finally came to an end at 7:27 of the period when Ladislav Nagy made a pass from the right side of the net to an open Jeremy Roenick in front, who flipped the puck into the Edmonton goal to make it a 3-1 game. The goal was Roenick's first of the season and first as a member of the Coyotes since 2001.
Just over two minutes later, the Coyotes cut the deficit to one when Roloson stopped Shane Doan's shot from the right face-off circle, but Comrie was able to tap the rebound with a backhand shot that made its way past Roloson to make it a 3-2 contest.
Almost a minute later, Phoenix center Dave Scatchard nearly tied the game when he blasted a point blank shot from the slot, but Roloson was in position allowing him to stop the drive and preserve the Oilers one-goal lead.
With 5:39 to play in the second, the Oilers went back on the man-advantage when Seidenberg was called for a delay-of-game penalty when the puck was caught underneath the fallen Phoenix defender behind the Coyotes net. With the extra attacker, the Oilers dominated the play with shots form around the zone, but the Phoenix penalty killers would stick to their game plan and kill off the infraction to Seidenberg.
The Coyotes wouldn't be able to even the score before the conclusion of the period as both clubs skated off the ice after 40 minutes of play, with Edmonton holding a one-goal lead.
The Coyotes came within inches of tying the contest just after the three-minute mark of the final period when Roloson stopped Patrick Fischer on the doorstep. The Coyotes converged at the right side of the net, but were unable to get the puck into the net to tie the game.
Edmonton sustained Phoenix's early onslaught and survived to bring the pressure back into the Coyotes zone. It was there that the Oilers would re-establish a two goal lead when Ales Hemsky sent a pass from the right corner to an open Petr Sykora in the slot, who let go a one-timer that beat Joseph to the top corner of the net for a 4-2 lead.
The Coyotes penalty-killing unit would be called upon once again at 11:02 of the third when Jovanovski was sent to the box for high sticking. But the Edmonton attack would capitalize 53-seconds into the man-advantage when Hemsky wrist shot from the left face-off circle, found the back of the net for his third point on the night and a 5-2 Edmonton lead.
With Patrick Fischer already serving a holding penalty, Phoenix fond themselves down by a pair of skaters at 14:52 of the third when Jovanovski returned to the box, this time for hooking, giving the Oilers a five-on-three advantage for 28 seconds. In an impressive offensive display, Edmonton flooded the Coyotes net with shots. It was the largely the play of Curtis Joseph that kept Edmonton to adding to their lead and putting Phoenix in an even worse situation.
Coyotes' defenseman Nick Boynton was handed a boarding penalty with just over three minutes to play in the game, but the Coyotes were able to successfully kill off the penalty and finish the contest at full strength and the Oilers held on to defeat Phoenix by the score of 5-2.
GAME NOTES: During Monday's game, Coyotes forward Mike Zigomanis suffered a groin injury. He is scheduled to be re- eval uated on Tuesday.