COYOTES WIN 5-4 THRILLER IN OT
By Sergey Kocharov
(Photos courtesy of Norm Hall)
Phoenix Coyotes Head Coach Wayne Gretzky wanted more production from his top players.
On Tuesday night, they responded admirably.
Petr Nedved notched the game-winning goal in overtime and Mike Johnson, Mike Comrie, Mike Leclerc and Ladislav Nagy all added goals, as the Coyotes defeated the St. Louis Blues 5-4 in front of 14,046 fans at Glendale Arena.
"As I told those guys privately, the success of professional sports teams always hinges on the guys that are the 'go to guys,'" said Gretzky. "I understand the amount of pressure that they are under and I know that each and every guy works very hard."
"Sometimes you tend to press too much in trying to accomplish too much, instead of simplifying things. But I thought our team had a lot of jump tonight and it was nice to see us get the win."
The Coyotes kept the pressure on the Blues in overtime and were rewarded when Nedved knocked in the game-winner past Patrick Lalime. Nedved pounced on the rebound and slid the puck between Lalime's pads for his second goal of the season.
"Nagy fired a shot from the blue line and I was in front of the net, and usually that's where good things tend to happen," said Nedved. "The rebound came right to me and I was able to put it past him."
St. Louis took a 4-3 lead midway though the third period on Jamal Mayers's second goal of the game, only to have the Coyotes counter a minute later on Nagy's third goal of the season. While scrambling in front of the net, Nagy spotted a loose puck in the crease and fired it into the goal before Lalime could make the stop.
"I thought Nagy had a lot more jump tonight and played really well," said Gretzky. "I thought he worked extremely hard and it was nice to see him score."
Coyotes goaltender David LeNeveu, stopped 24 shots in earning his first National Hockey League victory.
"It was one of the goals I set out to achieve one day and it feels great," said LeNeveu. "I still have a lot of goals I'd like to achieve, but it's nice to have that one out of the way."
Following Mike Johnson's first tally of the season that gave Phoenix a 2-1 advantage, the Blues countered with two goals in a span of 17 seconds to take a 3-2 lead.
With 3:53 left in the period, Ryan Johnson found the net for his first goal of the season. Jeff Hoggan followed and gave the Blues their first lead of the night when his hard wrist shot beat LeNeveu up top.
"The game went back and forth and there were periods of time when we thought we had the game under control, only to see them score," said Nedved. "But we showed a lot of heart in coming back and it paid off in overtime."
LUNDMARK MAKES HOME DEBUT
Coyotes center Jamie Lundmark made his home debut on Tuesday night, logging 5:58 of ice time. Lundmark was acquired in a trade that sent center Jeff Taffe to the New York Rangers.
701 AND COUNTING
Phoenix defenseman Sean O'Donnell played in his 701st NHL game on Tuesday night. The 11-year NHL veteran is in his first season with the Coyotes and serves as an alternate captain for the club in road games.
ONE WIN AWAY
With his next victory, Joseph will become the ninth goaltender in the NHL history to reach the 400-win plateau.
The Coyotes continue their three-game homestand on Thursday night when they face-off against the Calgary Flames. The game can be seen on FSN Arizona or fans can listen to the radio broadcast on KDUS-1060 AM and KDKB 93.3 FM.