COYOTES CRUSH DALLAS 4-1
|Phoenix at Dallas|
By: Chad Lynch
Photos courtesy of Glenn James
On Friday night, the Phoenix Coyotes defeated the Dallas Stars 4-1 at American Airlines Center in Dallas.
Early in the first period, the Phoenix Coyotes were put to the test as defenseman Denis Gauthier was called for holding at 1:28 of the opening frame, giving Dallas the first power play of the night. The Coyotes made a difficult situation even tougher when Phoenix forward Tyson Nash was given a slashing penalty just 34 seconds later, forcing the Coyotes to try and kill off a five-on-three advantage. However, that is exactly what Phoenix did as goaltender Curtis Joseph withstood a barrage of shots from the Dallas offense, but kept the puck out of the net and keeping the game scoreless.
Dallas then took their turn in the penalty box as Jon Klemm was sent to the box at 6:19 of the first. Then just as the Coyotes had done earlier in the game, the Stars found themselves on the wrong end of a two-mad advantage as Niko Kapanen was sent to the box. That would be all the Coyotes would need to get on the scoreboard as Shane Doan's shot from the slot was stopped before it reached the net, but deflected onto the stick of Mike Comrie, who was all alone at the left side of the net and quickly slammed the puck into the open net for a 1-0 Phoenix lead. The goal was Comrie's eighth of the season and was assisted by Shane Doan and Ladislav Nagy.
As the first period continued, the Coyotes took penalties at the 11:19 and 14:43 mark to Dave Scatchard and Mike Johnson respectively, but in both case the Coyotes were saved by the play of Joseph who battled his way through screens, tipped shots and point blank chances to keep Phoenix on top 1-0.
With 15:16 to play in the second period, the Coyotes went back on the power play as Stars defenseman Stephane Robidas was called for interference when he stepped in front of Mike Ricci in the Dallas zone to keep the Phoenix forward from getting to a loose puck. The penalty would prove to be a costly one to the Stars as Shane Doan ripped a shot from the right face-off circle that squeaked through the legs of Stars netminder Marty Turco, giving Phoenix a 2-0 lead. Doan's goal was his sixth of the season and defenseman Paul Mara recorded his 14th assist on the play.
The Coyotes took their first trip to the box of the period with 12:56 left in the second as Tyson Nash was called for holding. Phoenix did a good job of killing the first 90 seconds of the infraction but a turnover by defenseman Denis Gauthier behind the net, gave the Stars a chance to capitalize, which they wouldn't let slip away as Jussi Jokinen took a pass across the crease and roofed a shot over the outstretched glove of Joseph to cut the Coyotes lead to 2-1.
After several minutes of un-interrupted play, which saw the Stars increase their shot total for the contest to 25 compared to the Coyotes 10, the streak was broken by a Phoenix penalty at 13:28 of the second. This time it was Sanderson who was called for interference, thereby putting Dallas back on the power play. While on the man-advantage, the Stars received a scare at the six-minute mark when Dallas forward Brendan Morrow, who was trying to set up in front of the Coyotes net, was hit in the mouth by a shot from the point. After falling to the ice, Morrow was able to skate to the bench under hit own power, from there he was attended to and cleared to resume playing, but not before the Coyote had already killed off the remainder of the penalty to Sanderson.
Phoenix would take another tip to the box at 16:43 of the second when defenseman Paul Mara was called for roughing after both teams engaged in a scrum behind the Coyotes net. But the Phoenix penalty killers were determined not to let the Stars tie the game and Joseph did his part, turning aside three more shots to keep it a 2-1 Coyotes lead as the second period came to an end.
The Coyotes went on the power play just 1:30 into the final period as Dallas forward Brendan morrow was given a minor penalty for high-sticking. Phoenix had a great play set up at the start of the man-advantage as Turco was caught on the far side of the post and had to slide back just in time to make a save on Doan and keep the Coyotes from regaining the two-goal lead. That would prove to be the Coyotes best offensive chance on the power play as the Stars kept Phoenix form applying pressure on Turco and Morrow was able to return to the ice.
Shortly after failing to convert on the power play, Coyotes forward Oleg Saprykin was called for hooking, giving the Stars their first chance with the extra attacker in the third period. With just 33 seconds left on the penalty to Saprykin, the Coyotes found themselves down by two skaters when Mike Ricci was called for holding. On the resulting five-on three, Mike Modano appeared to have an open lane when he wound up for a shot from the top of the right face-off circle, but Coyote forward Mike Johnson stepped in at the last minute to block the shot, keeping it from ever reaching the net and allowing Saprykin to return to the ice. From there, the Coyotes fell into their box defense and contained the Dallas attack to the perimeter of the rink until Ricci could return to the ice.
In what seemed like an endless parade to the penalty box for both teams, the Stars next trip came at 8:25 of the final period when the club received a bench minor for too-many men on the ice. Phoenix would only be able to set up in the Stars zone for the first half of the power play as Dallas' penalty killing unit kept the Coyotes attack from gaining momentum and finding the back of the net.
Dallas would come within inches of tying the game with 8:09 left in the period when Bill Guerin's blast from the point beat Joseph and rang off the right goal post before taking a sharp left and heading into the corner. The play would be reviewed, but a second look only confirmed what the on-ice official called and the play was ruled no-goal.
As the Coyotes cyled the puck deep in the Stars zone with a little more than seven minute to play, Dallas' Stu Barnes was forced to hook Ricci, resulting in a Coyotes power play. On the power play, Joseph stopped a Dallas rush before the Coyotes had a rush of their own which was ended when Comrie was hooked to the ice, resulting in a penalty shot. On the shot, Comrie tried to lift the puck over the blocker of Turco, but he didn't get the shot as high as he wanted and Turco made the save to keep it a one-goal game.
Shortly after the penalty shot, Dallas forward Brendan Morrow was again sent to the box, this time for hooking, giving Phoenix a two-man advantage for 1:15. After passing the puck around for several seconds, Paul Mara's blast from the slot, beat Turco to the glove side, giving the Coyotes back the two-goal cushion with a 3-1 lead.
The goal also came with 11 seconds left on the penalty to Barnes, meaning the Coyotes still had 45 seconds of power play time on the penalty to Morrow to work with. While it wouldn't technically count as a power play goal, the Coyotes would find the back of the net just as the penalty to Morrow expired with 4:17 left in the period when Jamie Lundmark was left alone at the left side of the net and was able to stuff a re-bound past Turco for a 4-1 Phoenix lead.
Goaltender Curtis Joseph was stellar in net stopping 32 shots.
On Friday night, Coyotes forward Tyson Nash made his return to the line up after being out since November 3, 2005. Nash, who had suffered a strained abdominal muscle, recorded three minor penalties in 6:13 of action against Dallas.
JONES PLAYS FIRST NHL GAME
Phoenix defenseman Matt Jones made his NHL debut on Friday night in Dallas. Prior to the start of the game, Jones admitted he nervous about the contest. So just how long did it take for the young blue liner to shake the butterflies?
"I was nervous the whole game, they never went away," said Jones. "The good news was that I started find a rhythm out there and became more comfortable in what I was doing. But I was still nervous."
Jones who started Friday's contest along side fellow rookie defenseman Keith Ballard, logged 10:31 of ice tie, delivered one hit and blocked a shot in his debut.
Jones will likely make his home debut on Saturday evening when the Coyotes return to Glendale Arena to host the Vancouver Canucks.
The Coyotes will not get any relief after taking care of Dallas as Phoenix returns to the ice on Saturday night, to face the Vancouver Canucks at Glendale Arena. The game is scheduled to start at 8:00 p.m.