COYOTES DROP HOME CONTEST TO ST. LOUIS
St Louis at Phoenix
By Sergey Kocharov
Photos by Norm Hall
Mike Sillinger scored two goals and Jason Bacashihua made 33 saves to record his first career NHL win as the St. Louis Blues capitalized on their few opportunities to defeat the Phoenix Coyotes 5-4 at Glendale Arena on Tuesday night.
"Boys played well up front and I just tried to go out there and do my best there to shut the door in the third," said Bacashihua, who made his NHL debut on Saturday against the Philadelphia Flyers.
Trailing 5-3, Mike Comrie's brought Phoenix within a goal on a 5-on-3 tally with 3:58 left in the game. The Coyotes appeared to tie the game minutes later when in midst of a scramble in front of the net the puck crossed the line. After a video review, however, the goal was disallowed when it was ruled that the whistle was blown before the puck crossed the line.
"I had it jammed up against the post and I couldn't really see it," said Bacashihua. "But the guys kept on jabbing, but he blew the whistle before it rolled in there."
The Blues, who came into tonight's contest as the 28th power play unit in the league, remained in the game by going 3-for-4 on the man advantage.
"Whenever you lose the specialty teams, it makes it harder to win the game," said Coyotes captain Shane Doan. "And we lost the specialty teams again. We have to do a better job at that, if we want to win."
Entering the third period, the Blues found themselves tied 3-3 despite being out-shot 25-7.
"We scored a couple power play goals that kept us in the game and that was huge for us," said Bacashihua. "After the second period, when we were tied at three, it was pretty good for us."
Jamal Mayers gave the Blues their first lead of the game when he pounced on the rebound to score his ninth goal of the season at the 10:28 mark of the third period. St. Louis went up 5-3 with 9:32 left in regulation on Aaron Downey's second goal this year in a scramble in front of the net. That prompted Coyotes Interim Head Coach Rick Tocchet to pull starter Curtis Joseph in favor of Brian Boucher.
"Curtis has been great all year for us and I think he had an off night," said Tocchet, whose team out-shot St. Louis 37-13. "Sometimes you just try to shake things up and slow the game down."
Geoff Sanderson opened the scoring for Phoenix just 5:24 into the game when he picked up a loose rebound and roofed it past Bacashihua. Sillinger converted on the Blues lone power play opportunity of the period as he redirected Scott Young's shot from the point. Phoenix countered just 36 seconds later on Comrie's first goal of the game.
Sillinger tied the game for the second time at the 4:39 mark of the second period. Jamie Lundmark put Phoenix up 3-2 with 8:12 left in the period, but the lead was short lived as Young brought St. Louis back on a power play with a hard one-timer past Joseph.
The loss extended the Coyotes' losing streak to a season-high four games and dropped them back to a .500 mark on the year (16-16-2).
"It's one of those things that you just don't want to let it slide anymore," said Tocchet. "As coaches, you can't put too much pressure on the players because if you do than they squeeze their sticks even more. We have to find a way to bounce back."
Coyotes forward Mike Leclerc missed tonight's game after having minor knee surgery this afternoon. Leclerc is likely to miss two weeks of action.
HIT BY INJURIES
Phoenix's Leclerc (knee), Tyson Nash (abdominal strain) and Oleg Saprykin (knee) missed tonight's game, while St. Louis' Dallas Drake (back), Christian Backman (foot), Keith Tkachuk (knuckles) and Matt Walker (shoulder) did not play for the Blues.
The Coyotes will return to Glendale Arena on Thursday night to face off against the Pacific Division rivals, the San Jose Sharks. The game time is set for 7:00 p.m. and can be seen on FSN High-Definition and FSN Arizona. You can also listen to the game on KDUS-1060AM, KDKB-93.3FM or on phoenixcoyotes.com by clicking on the "Listen Live" link in the Game Day Section.