GLENDALE, Ariz. – Slick passing, clutch penalty killing and solid goaltending were the key factors for the Coyotes on Thursday night as they beat the Pittsburgh Penguins 4-1 at Jobing.com Arena.
Shane Doan scored two goals, but it was Doan’s pass on Olli Jokinen’s goal and two nice feeds from Steven Reinprecht that stood out as Phoenix upped its home record to 3-1-0.
Ilya Bryzgalov stopped 27 of 28 shots in his first start in 12 days.
Penguins captain Sidney Crosby left the game in the third period because of an undisclosed injury and did not return.
"I had some discomfort," Crosby told reporters. "I decided that in the third period, it didn't seem like I could do much."
Jokinen gave the Coyotes a 1-0 lead at 7:53 of the second period when he finished off a back-handed feed from Doan just as a Phoenix power play expired.
Pittsburgh tied the score 37 seconds later when a shot by Evgeni Malkin hit the glass behind the Coyotes goal and the puck bounced to the front of the net where Marislav Satan swatted it, before it hit the ice, by Bryzgalov.
Doan put Phoenix ahead 2-1 when he finished a nice pass from Reinprecht on a power play with 2:01 left in the second period. Reinprecht, playing for the first time after two games as a healthy scratch, topped that pass with an even better one through heavy traffic after some nifty stickhandling in the third period that Kevin Porter tapped in for his first NHL goal.
“It’s amazing,” Porter said of scoring an NHL goal. “I was getting a little worried there (about scoring). Rhino made a nice play and I was just kind of sitting there with an empty net. It’s nice to get that first one out of the way.”
Porter, who played college hockey at the University of Michigan, was asked how it felt to have Reinprecht, who played at rival Wisconsin, assist on his first NHL goal.
“I don’t really mind that at this point,” Porter said, laughing.
The Coyotes killed a 5-on-3 penalty early in the third period, and four of five Pittsburgh power plays overall.
Doan added an empty-net goal.
Head Coach Wayne Gretzky liked what he saw from Reinprecht, but he wasn’t surprised.
“He’s a professional and he was the hardest working guy when he wasn’t in the lineup,” Gretzky said. “…As I told him, he’s going to be part of this team and we need him to play well and he did tonight. He was outstanding.”
Pittsburgh struggled to generate offense in the first period and didn’t’ register a shot on goal until the 15:34 mark of the first period.
Doan said the Coyotes can’t get too excited about the victory.
“The Calgary loss (on Saturday) established the fact that we’ve got a long ways to go,” Doan said. “We just want to make sure we’re ready for the next game.”