COYOTES DOUBLE UP CAROLINA 8-4
By: Sergey Kocharov
Photos by Norm Hall
The Carolina Hurricanes made their first appearance at Glendale Arena on Saturday night, but after witnessing Ladislav Nagy's and the Phoenix Coyotes performance they may never want to come back.
Nagy recorded his second career hat-trick, dished out two assists and Mike Johnson added two goals, as the Coyotes overpowered the Southeast Division leading Hurricanes 8-4 to start a brief two-game homestand.
"I was a recipient of a lot of great passes and I'm glad that right now everything is going in for me," said Nagy, who recorded a career high five points on Saturday. "I just have to continue to shoot the puck and hopefully I'll continue to score goals. But this feels great. We played really hard and everyone contributed."
Mike Comrie, Geoff Sanderson and Zbynek Michalek also scored on a well balanced Coyotes attack as Mike Leclerc, Fredrik Sjostrom, Jamie Lundmark and Dave Scatchard all recorded assists.
"Nagy and Johnson were both outstanding tonight," said Coyotes Head Coach Wayne Gretzky. "Over the last 12 games they have been great. Our record is much better than the beginning of the year and those two guys are a big reason why."
Twelve players earned at least one point for the Coyotes, who scored five goals on the power play, one shorthanded and chased Carolina's starting goaltender Cam Ward from the net at the halfway mark of the second period. Ward stopped 12 of 17 shots and was replaced with Martin Gerber who allowed three goals on 16 shots.
"Defensively we were slow, we didn't play within our system and we did not play with any passion," said Carolina Head Coach Peter Laviolette. "We need better execution from goaltending and forwards, if we do that we'll play better defensively."
Curtis Joseph made 25 saves for the Coyotes, who are 9-4-1 in their last 14 games and are 8-5-1 at Glendale Arena this season.
"We're striving for consistency and we continue trying to work towards being more consistent," said Johnson, who while on the breakaway made a slick backhand to forehand move to score his second goal of the game. "We've been in a lot of close games, so whenever you have a game like this it makes it more fun."
It was a fun night all around for the Coyotes, who scored eight goals for the first time since December of 1999, a feat they accomplished in an 8-2 win over the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim.
"That was a lot of fun tonight," said Nagy. "I don't know if Carolina was a little tired tonight, because they played last night. But we came out and played a great game tonight, and that was exciting. We need to continue that on Monday."
300 AND COUNTING
On Saturday night, Coyotes forward Mike Johnson scored the 300th point of his NHL career with his first goal in the opening period. Johnson would go on to register points 301 and 302 with a goal and assist later in the contest.
Ladislav Nagy brought the house down in the third period when he recorded the second hat trick of his career with a laser of a shot that went just under the crossbar and in.
Nagy's three goals also give him 11 on the season, making him the first Coyote to reach double digits in goals during the 2005-06 campaign.
The Carolina Hurricanes may have been on the wrong end of a 8-4 score on Saturday night, but they did accomplish a rare feat in that both starting goal tender Cam Ward and back-up Martin Gerber, both recorded assists in Saturday's game.
Ward's first assist of the season came on forward Eric Staal's second period goal, while Gerber notched his first point of the year on Rod Brind'Amour's tally in the third period.
Oleg Saprykin and Tyson Nash were the lone scratches for the Coyotes. Ray Whitney, Jesse Boulerice and former Coyote Oleg Tverdovsky didn't play for the Hurricanes.
The Coyotes will return to Glendale Arena on Monday night to face off against the Atlanta Thrashers at 7:00 p.m. Monday's game will be a radio only broadcast and can be heard on KDUS - 1060 AM, KDKB - 93.9 FM or on phoenixcoyotes.com by clicking on the "Listen Live" link in the Game Day section.