COYOTES SKATE PAST SAN JOSE 2-1
|San Jose at Phoenix|
By: Chad Lynch
San Jose would continue to keep an aggressive fore-check on the Coyotes and the relentless pressure paid off at 1:31 of the first when Sharks forward Patrick Marleau intercepted a Coyotes pass deep in the Phoenix zone and sent a backhand shot over the glove of goaltender Curtis Joseph for the 1-0 lead.
The Coyotes took their first turn on the penalty kill at 3:57 of the opening period when Dave Scatchard was called for hooking. On the ensuing penalty kill, the Sharks were able to set up in the Phoenix zone for the first 45 seconds but the Coyotes defense refused to allow the Sharks an open shooting lane on Joseph and by forcing the Sharks to make passes rather than shooting the puck, Phoenix was able to break-up the play and clear the puck out of the zone and return to full strength.
With just over 12 minutes left in the first, San Jose forward Jonathan Cheechoo was struck in the mouth by the puck on a dump-in off the stick of Dave Scatachard. Cheechoo immediately made his way to the Sharks bench and headed to the locker room for further medial eval uation.
At 9:58 of the period, the Coyotes got their first shot at the man-advantage as San Jose defenseman Doug Murray was sent to the box for holding. What followed could be described as the Coyotes best looking single power play of the season as fluid puck movement and precision passes resulted in good shots on net. When the puck did get to the net, San Jose netminder Evgeni Nabokov made a series of good saves to keep the puck out of the net. But then with just 10 seconds left in the Coyotes power play, Derek Morris blasted a shot from the point that was tipped in the slot by Jamie Lundmark before trickling under the glove of Nabokov and into the goal to tie the game at 1-1. The goal was Lundmark's fourth of the season and was assisted by Derek Morris and Petr Nedved.
As the period continued, the Sharks had a series of near misses his streaking forwards crashing the backside of the Coyotes net, but they were unable to connect and Joseph made a trio of big saves to keep the game tied.
With 2:06 to play in the opening frame, the Coyotes went back on the power play when San Jose's Patrick Marleau was called for hooking. Shortly after the power play got underway, Ladislav Nagy was deliberately elbowed in the head by San Jose defenseman Doug Murray. After a brief stare down with Coyotes captain Shane Doan, Murray found himself being tackled to the ice and taking a couple right hands to the face before the two were separated. Each received five-minutes for fighting as the final seconds of the period came to an end with the Coyotes and Sharks tied at 1-1.
The second period started with the Coyotes and Sharks trading rushes up the ice before the first stoppage in play came on a penalty to San Jose forward Scott Thornton who was given two-minutes for unsportsmanlike conduct.
On the resulting power play, the Coyotes did a god job of cycling the puck in the Sharks zone and getting a pair of shots on net, but were unable to take the lead.
Then with two seconds left in the penalty to Thornton, Phoenix's Dave Scatchard was sent to the box for hooking, giving the Sharks their first power play of the stanza. But as they had done in the first period, the Coyotes penalty killers stood their ground and kept the Sharks attack confined to the pouter perimeter as Phoenix returned to full strength still tied at 1-1.
Things turned physical with 11:27 to play in the second as San Jose's Rob Davison dropped the gloves with Coyotes forward Tim Jackman. Both received five-minute majors for fighting.
With 10:48 left in the period, the Coyotes were given another power play when Sharks defenseman Christian Ehrhoff was whistled for boarding. The Coyotes continued to get shots on goal, but were still unable to take their first lead of the contest as the Sharks returned to full strength.
Much of the remainder of the period was plagued by a series of near-misses for both clubs as offenses failed to get shots on net and as a result, headed to the locker room after 40 minutes of play still tied at 1-1.
The third period began with the Sharks taking a penalty at 1:21 of the third when Josh Langfeld. The Coyotes went on the attack and fired shot after shot at the Sharks net, but were matched by San Jose's goaltending. Then at 2:41 of the third, with 41 seconds still remaining on Langfeld's penalty, San Jose's Scott Hannan called for hooking Mike Comrie, giving the Coyotes a five-on-three advantage. It would only take 11 seconds into the Hannan penalty for Phoenix to cash in as Nabokov made a kick save with his right leg pad, but gave-up a big rebound to Mike Comrie at the top of the crease, who quickly slammed the puck into the net for a 2-1 Coyotes lead.
Phoenix still had 1:49 of power play time left on the penalty to Hannan, but was unable to add to their lead as the Sharks returned to full strength.
The Coyotes took their first penalty of the third period with 14:50 left when Denis Gauthier was called for high-sticking, but the Phoenix penalty kill was ready for the task as they contained the Sharks power play unit with sound defensive play and some key saves by Joseph to get back to five-on-five hockey with the one-goal lead.
At 9:25 of the third, the Coyotes went back on the penalty kill when defenseman Sean O'Donnell was called for holding. The Sharks ensuing power play was dominating as they controlled the play and sent shot after shot on goal, only to be stopped by Joseph, who held the fort for Phoenix and in the process protected the 2-1 lead.
With 6:30 to play in the third, it appeared as though the Coyotes had taken a 3-1 lead when Boyd Devereaux made a great end-to-end rush before dumping a pass off to Mike Ricci who had the puck deflect off his skate and into the net. But after review by the off-ice officials, it was determined that their was an intentional kicking motion involved and the goal was disallowed, keeping it a 2-1 game.
With 1:29 left in the game, the Sharks pulled Nabokov from the nets for the extra attacker and for over a minute the Coyotes held off the attack. Then with 27 seconds left, Ladislav Nagy was called for cross-checking, giving the Sharks a late six-on-four advantage. On the very next face-off, Zbynek Michalek made an outstanding play to block a shot that, if it had gone through, would have given the Sharks a two-on-none against Joseph. After Michalek's block, the Coyotes cleared the zone twice as they held on for a 2-1 win over San Jose.
The Coyotes will travel to Dallas to take on the Stars on Friday, December 23, 2005. The game will be a radio-only broadcast and can be heard on KDUS-1060AM or on phoenixcoyotes.com by clicking on the "Listen Live" link in the Game Day section.