Photo Credit: Greg Skafte
On Tuesday night, the Coyotes took to the ice for their second pre-season game in three nights against the Edmonton Oilers.
Edmonton went to work with the two-man advantage as they set up in the Coyotes zone and began to work the puck around, generating a series of shots on Morrison. After a few unsuccessful attempts, the Oilers would eventually find the back of the net as Ales Hemsky dished the puck off to new Oiler Petr Sykora deep in the Coyotes zone. Sykora then spotted an open Rob Schremp, who one-timed a shot past Morrison, giving Edmonton a 1-0 lead.
Minutes after the Oilers took the lead, the Coyotes generated a solid scoring chance when Steven Reinprecht made a great play to set up Bill Thomas who put a shot on goal, but Edmonton netminder Jeff Deslauriers reacted quickly to make a great kick save and keep the game at 1-0.
Late in the opening frame, Phoenix put themselves back on the penalty kill when Keith Ballard was sent to the penalty. Then, with only 41-seconds gone in the penalty to Ballard, the Coyotes found themselves down by two skaters when Pascal Rheaume was sent to the penalty box.
Operating with a five-on-three advantage, the Oilers would add to their lead at 15:52 of the period when Ales Hemsky once again set up the play by feeding a pass to Petr Sykora at the top of the slot; Sykora then blasted a slap shop that was tipped in front by Raffi Torres and deflected over the shoulder of Morrison for a 2-0 lead.
Phoenix would be unable to cut into the Edmonton lead in the remainder of the first period as they continued to make unwanted visits to the penalty box. However, the Coyotes penalty killing unit would do a good job of containing the Oilers attack and running out the clock on the first period. The two clubs headed toward the locker rooms after 20-minutes of play with Edmonton on top 2-0.
The Coyotes came out at the start of the second period with a jump in their skates as they tried to get on the scoreboard
Phoenix went back on the penalty kill early in the second when Josh Gratton was sent to the box for hitting from behind when he bumped an Oiler from the side along the boards. Killing off their sixth penalty of the game, the Coyotes defense shut down the Edmonton attack as they killed off the Gratton infraction without allowing the Oilers to add to their lead.
Moments after returning to full strength, the Coyotes had a scare when an Oiler shot was stopped by the glove of goaltender Mike Morrison, causing Morrison to exhibit some discomfort in this glove hand. However, Morrison appeared to avoid serous injury as he stayed in goal.
At 5:33 of the second period, the Oilers took a 3-0 lead when Patrick Thoresen made a great pass to an open Toby Petersen, who calmly tipped the puck into the open net for his first goal of the pre-season.
With 9:12 remaining in the second period, the Coyotes executed their scheduled goaltending change as Josh Tordjman took over for Morrison.
Phoenix continued to develop offensive rushes in the Edmonton zone, but continued to be turned aside as the period moved into its final five minutes
The Coyotes finally got on the score sheet as Josh Gratton stole the puck deep in the Oilers zone, spun around and blasted a shot past Deslauriers to make it a 3-1 game with 3:35 remaining in the second period.
Late in the second stanza, the Coyotes went on the power play when Jason Smith was sent to the penalty box for tripping. Despite having the extra attacker, the Coyotes were unable to develop a sustained assault on the Edmonton net as the penalty expired, followed shortly after by the second period. After two periods of hockey, the Coyotes trailed the Oilers 3-1.
Phoenix rookie Peter Mueller tried to bring the Coyotes to within one early in the third period, but once again Deslauriers, held his position to preserve the Oilers two-goal lead.
For much of the final period, the Coyotes and Oilers traded rushes in their offensive zones, with neither team being able to find the back of the net.
Mid-way through the frame, Keith Yandle opened everyone's eyes when he reached back and blasted a slap shot on goal. Deslauriers was able to just get a piece of the shot and deflect the puck high into the crowd.
The Coyotes found themselves shorthanded once again at 13:30 of the third when Bill Thomas was sent to the box for tripping. However, Edmonton would fail to convert on the power play, which would only last 11 seconds, as Ales Hemsky was send off the ice when he was called for slashing.
Running out of time and looking for a spark, Coyotes Head Coach Wayne Gretzky pulled goaltender Josh Tordjman from the nets with 1:0 to play in the period. Even with the extra attacker, the Coyotes failed to pull to within a goal as the Oilers contained the Phoenix offensive attack.
The final seconds would tick off the clock as the Coyotes fell to the Oilers by a score of 3-1.
Keith Ballard - Zbynek Michalek
Matt Jones - Matthew Spiller
Dennis Seidenberg - Keith Yandle
Jeff Taffe - Steven Reinprecht - Bill Thomas
Mike Zigomanis - Dave Scatchard - Peter Mueller
Tyson Nash - Martin Hanzal - Josh Gratton
Pascal Rheaume - Olivier Latendresse - Yanick Lehoux