Mighty Ducks-Coyotes Preview
By Sergey Kocharov
Photos by Norm Hall
Tyler Wright and Teemu Selanne scored in the first period of Tuesday night's contest at Glendale Arena as the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim held on for a 2-1 win over the Phoenix Coyotes to end their eight-game winless streak.
"We knew they were a struggling team and they would be ready to play, but for whatever reason we weren't ready to play tonight," said Coyotes Head Coach Wayne Gretzky. "It seems to be the pattern that our team has where we play well for two or three games and then we're not ready to play. We have to do a better job of preparing for a game; we can't get ready at 6:30 (p.m.), we have to be ready to go the day before"
Anaheim got off to a quick start in the opening period scoring two goals in a 1:56 span. Wright opened the scoring at 4:37 as he deflected Todd Marchant's shot from the blue line past Coyotes goaltender Curtis Joseph. Selanne made it 2-0 when he received a pass from Ruslan Salei and beat Joseph with a quick wrist shot from the right circle on a delayed penalty.
"First 10 minutes they were ready to play and we weren't," said Coyote forward Shane Doan. "They played much harder than us in the first period and it could have easily been 4-0. We tried to battle our way back, but it was too late."
Mike Comrie agreed with Doan's assessment.
"Anaheim played a lot harder than we did and that's the reason why they won the game," Comrie said. "We have to play with more energy than we did tonight, especially in the first period. We were flat."
The Coyotes made it 2-1 on Geoff Sanderson's goal with 0.01 left in the period. After Anaheim's Keith Carney coughed up the puck in Anaheim's zone, Sanderson cashed in and delivered a swift snapshot that beat Ilya Bryzgalov on the glove-side.
Phoenix, who came in as winners of their last two games, struggled on the power play. The Coyotes were 0-for-7 on the man advantage, which included a three-minute power play when Todd Fedoruk delivered a elbow to the back of the head of Coyotes center Petr Nedved and was called for a five-minute match penalty for attempt to injure.
Nedved suffered a mild concussion and will be re-evaluated tomorrow.
"We will leave (that incident) to the National Hockey League but it's definitely disheartening to lose a guy like Nedved," said Gretzky. "But we have to be ready to play on Friday."
KEEPING IT CLOSE
The Coyotes and the Ottawa Senators are the only two teams in the National Hockey League yet to lose a game by as many as three goals.
LECLERC VS DUCKS
Coming into tonight's game, Mike Leclerc had scored three goals in three games against the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim - the team he spent the first eight seasons of his NHL career with before being acquired by Phoenix in exchange for a conditional draft choice in the 2007 NHL Entry Draft on Aug. 23, 2005.
Phoenix will hit the road for a quick stop in Dallas to play the Stars (6:30 p.m.) on Friday night and will return to Glendale Arena on Saturday to face-off against the Vancouver Canucks (8 p.m.).