On Saturday night, the Phoenix Coyotes outlasted their Pacific Division rivals from San Jose as they captured a 4-3 victory that wasn't decided until the first sudden death round of the shootout.
The Coyotes got the scoring started at 3:11 of the first period, when a blast from the point by defenseman Derek Morris beat Sharks goaltender Evgeni Nabokov, hit the goal post and bounced back out to Mike Comrie at the top of the crease. Nabokov tried desperately to cover the puck before Comrie could get it as he lunged onto his stomach at in the crease, but Comrie took the puck, made a quick move to the side and flipped the puck into the open net for his seventh goal of the season and a 1-0 Coyotes lead.
Less than a minute later, at 4:05 of the first period, Phoenix struck again. This time the goal came off a face-off win by Jamie Lundmark, who sent the puck back to the point where Denis Gauthier blasted a shot on goal. Nabokov made the initial save but Ladislav Nagy was camped in front of the net, grabbed the puck, faked Nabokov with a move to his backhand before pulling it back to the forehand and tucking the puck past the San Jose netminder for a 2-0 Phoenix lead.
With 12:42 to play in the first period, the Coyotes were assessed the first penalty of the game as Mike Johnson was called for tripping. This gave the Phoenix penalty killers their first chance to go to work as they kept the sharks offense in check and made quick work of the penalty as they returned to full-strength still holding a two-goal lead.
The physical play began to pick up as the period continued and at 9:33 of the first, newly acquired Coyote Dave Scatchard and San Jose forward Scott Thornton dropped the gloves for a battle along the boards. After the two warriors were separated, Scatchard was given an extra two minutes for a cross-check that took place just before his tangle with Thornton, giving the Sharks their second power play of the night. But much like the first power play of the game, it was a battle between a struggling San Jose power play and a dominating Phoenix penalty kill, which saw the Coyotes kill off the infraction and return to five-on-five hockey.
The Coyotes continued to flirt with the danger of taking repeated trips to the penalty box in the second period and it would eventually catch up with them. While killing a penalty to Mike Comrie for tripping, the Sharks went on the attack and Patrick Marleau grabbed a loose puck at the top of the crease and put it into the Coyotes net to cut the Phoenix lead to 2-1.
At 6:43 of the period, Dave Scatchard put the Coyotes back up by two when he fired a laser of a wrist shot just under the crossbar on Nabokov's strong side for a 3-1 Phoenix lead. Shane Doan and Keith Ballard assisted on Scatchard's fifth goal of the season and first as a Coyote.
As the second period continued, the Coyotes made continuous trips to the penalty box, forcing their penalty killers to log an abnormal amount of ice time to keep the Coyotes ahead by two goals after two periods of play.
With 17:02 left in the third, the Coyotes went back on the penalty kill as Scatchard was assessed for slashing. The Sharks would take advantage of the extra attacker as San Jose's Wayne Primeau, who was injured just seconds before getting the puck, blasted a shot form the point that beat Joseph, cutting the Coyotes lead to 3-2. Immediately after taking his shot, Primeau raced to the Sharks bench where he was led to the San Jose locker room for further eval uation.
At 6:08 of the third, Phoenix again found themselves shorthanded when Nagy was set to the box for slashing. The Coyotes would kill off the penalty to Nagy, but just five seconds after Nagy returned to the ice, the Sharks tied the game at 3-3 when Tom Preissing took advantage of an out-of-position Joseph and backhanded a shot into the Phoenix net.
The third period continued with the Sharks trying feverishly to take their first lead of the night and the Coyotes trying equally as hard to withstand the pressure without falling behind.
Late in the period, the Coyotes had consecutive power plays, but despite being able to get the puck deep in the San Jose zone, Phoenix was unable to find a way to get a shot past Nabokov and the game headed to overtime.
Through much of the overtime frame, the Sharks dominated the tempo of play, keeping the puck in the Phoenix zone. Then with 1:25 left in overtime, the Coyotes were again put at a disadvantage when defenseman Derek Morris was called for holding, giving the Sharks a crucial late power play.
Phoenix would do an excellent job of running out the remainder of the clock despite being shorthanded as the game headed for a shootout.
In the shootout, the Coyotes went first with Ladislav Nagy. Nagy tried to go to the short side but his shot was stopped by Nabokov.
The Sharks first shooter was Niko Dimitrakos who made a double fake before blasting a shot top shelf for a goal.
The Coyotes second shot was taken by Mike Comrie, who also wanted to exploit Nabokov's strong side and that is exactly what he did as he hesitated and ripped a shot past the Sharks netminder.
San Jose's second shot belonged to Partick Marleau, who fanned on his shot and gave Joseph an easy save.
Phoenix's final shot of the first round belonged to Shane Doan who blasted a wrist shot at Nabokov, knocking him to the ice and the puck down to the goal line, but not over it.
Milan Michalek took the Sharks final shot was unable to get either his first shot or the rebound past Joseph as the shootout headed into a sudden death frame.
In the sudden death shootout, Geoff Sanderson took the Coyotes shot and completely faked Nabokov out to the right side before pulling the puck back to the left and stuffing it in for a goal.
San Jose's final hopes rested with Nils Ekman, who didn't even get a shot of before Joseph poke-checked the puck away, giving the Coyotes a 4-3 shootout victory over San Jose.
JOSEPH COMES THROUGH AGAIN
Coyotes goaltender Curtis Joseph had another busy night in goal for Phoenix as he stopped 40 shots over three periods and an overtime frame, including four shots in the extra session.
Joseph then stopped three more shots during the shootout to clinch victory for Phoenix.
TWELVE TO SIX
The final score wasn't the only place the Coyotes came out ahead of the Sharks on Saturday night. Phoenix was also given twice as many penalties in the game (12) than San Jose (6).
Despite the lopsided penalty calls, the Coyotes killed off eight of the ten San Jose power plays, including a crucial kill in the overtime session.
WELCOME TO THE COYOTES
On Saturday night, center Dave Scatchard made his first appearance since being acquired by the club on Friday night form the Boston Bruins.
It didn't take long for the newest member of the Coyotes to make an impact. In the first period of Saturday's contest, Scatchard dropped the gloves with San Jose's Scott Thornton and later in the second period, he scored his fifth goal of the season and first in a Phoenix uniform, giving the team a 3-1 lead at the time.
FOLLOW THE LEADER
Coyotes defenseman Derek Morris logged an impressive 24:30 of ice time on Saturday night leading all players on both teams.
Saturday's battle between brothers Zbynek and Milan Michalek was won by big brother Zbynek.
While both players were even, it was Zbynek's Coyotes that came away with the win, the extra point and the bragging rights.
LIVE CHAT WITH MICHAEL BARNETT
On Tuesday, November 22, 2005, Phoenix Coyotes General Manager Michael Barnett will take part in a live on-line chat conducted at NHL.com.
The chat will take place at 1:00 p.m. (3:00 p.m. ET) and will be open to a variety of subjects including, the Phoenix Coyotes and an open NHL discussion. To sign up as a participant in Tuesday's Live Chat, click here.
NEXT HOME GAME
Phoenix will return to Glendale Arena on Sunday to play the Columbus Blue Jackets at 6:00 p.m. The first 10,000 fans at Sunday's gmae receive a free Coyotes mini-helmet. The Coyotes are also offering a kids deal for Sunday's game. Buy one adult ticket for $25.00 and receive a kids ticket for FREE (offer good at Glendale Arena or by calling 480.563.PUCK).
To purchase individual tickets for Sunday's game, click here.