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Coyotes rally to beat Oilers 3-2

by Staff Writer / Edmonton Oilers
It didn't take the Oilers long to get on the board. Matt Greene threaded a pass up the middle to Alexei Mikhnov, who broke in alone on Phoenix Coyotes starting netminder Mike Morrison. Mikhnov fired a shot past Morrison for his second goal of the pre-season, 21 seconds in.

Just as the puck dropped after the goal, two unlikely combatants went at it in Patrick Thoresen and Mike Comrie.

The Hemsky-Torres-Sykora line then went to work on the Coyotes, almost scoring to make it 2-0. Hemsky found Jan Hejda breaking to the net but Morrison turned away the shot.

On the Phoenix power play, Markkanen made a big stop on Keith Ballard to keep the Oilers in front by a goal. Reinprecht found Ballard in front and Ballard's shot was blocked by the Oilers netminder.

Penalties to Toby Petersen and Ladislav Smid at the 9:59 mark gave Phoenix a two-man advantage for two full minutes. Edmonton's penalty killers were able to stave off the five-on-three and keep the Coyotes off the board.

Rob Schremp connected for a goal late in the period to double the Oilers' lead. Schremp fired the puck through traffic off the side boards that got past a screened Morrison with Mikhnov in front. Tom Gilbert and Thoresen drew assists on the play as the goal came just as an Ed Jovanvoski penalty expired.

Shots on goal after one period were 14-11 in favour of the host Coyotes but Phoenix was down 2-0 on the scoreboard.

Each team traded penalties early in the second but neither team was able to create a solid scoring opportunity with their subsequent man advantage.

Just past the period's midway point, penalties to Hejda and Thoresen just over a minute apart gave Phoenix its second two-man advantage of the night.

On the ensuing power play, Doan came within inches of scoring but Markkanen batted away the loose puck. After the Hejda penalty expired, Ladislav Nagy came down the left-wing boards and cut to the front. He ripped a shot right under the bar to make it a 2-1 game.

14 minutes into the period, shots on goal were 11-3 in favour of Phoenix and 25-14 Coyotes overall.

A melee erupted between the two teams late in the period. J-F Jacques was hit in the corner by Keith Ballard and appeared to be injured on the play. He still managed to get up and then went after Ballard. Nick Boynton took exception to Jacques' actions and threw several punches at the Oilers winger.

Seconds later with the Coyotes on the power play, Markkanen made a sharp-angle stop on Joel Perrault but could not get across to stop Patrick Fischer on the rebound. Phoenix's goal tied the game 2-2.

After two, shots on goal were 27-17 for the Coyotes.

Edmonton had a great chance to move back in front eight minutes into the third on the power play when Jeremy Roenick was sent off for interference.

Alexei Mikhnov came within inches of getting his second of the game. The big Russian found a loose puck and flicked it on Morrison but the former Oiler came up with a huge stop.

Ed Jovanovski almost gave Phoenix the lead after undressing Gilbert and breaking in on the Oilers goal but Markkanen made a huge stop to keep the game tied.

However, just over a minute later Keith Ballard ripped a shot from the point that made its way through the crowd in front and past Markkanen to make it 3-2 Coyotes. Former Oiler Georges Laraque deflected the puck for the goal.

A minute after the Laraque goal, Ales Hemsky almost tied it up on an Oilers power play but Mike Morrison made an unbelievable save on the Edmonton winger, diving across the crease to get a piece of the shot and keep his team in front.

On the play, Ballard took a penalty to put the Oilers up two men with time winding down. During the power play Edmonton pulled Markkanen to make it a six-on-three. Torres rang a shot off the crossbar but that was as close as Edmonton would get.
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