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Gretzky Press Conference
Gretzky Press Conference
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GLENDALE, Ariz. - Brandon "B.J." Crombeen scored twice and Chris Mason made 28 saves as the St. Louis Blues defeated the Coyotes 5-1 on Tuesday night at Jobing.com Arena.
A three-goal second period was the key for the Blues (39-31-10), who leapfrogged Nashville into eighth place in the Western Conference standings.
“They were a team that’s desperate and when you give them a couple openings they take advantage of it,” Coyotes Head Coach Wayne Gretzky said. “(With the) second, third, and fourth goal, that was the case and that was the difference in the hockey game.”
Left wing Scottie Upshall scored the goal for the Coyotes (34-39-7), who lost for the first time in five games at Jobing.com Arena.
“Give them credit, they played a great game,” Upshall said. “They were desperate. They are fighting for the last playoff spot. I thought they came out the way we were expecting them to. I thought the first period was good. We got on them, carried momentum and it was short-lived.”
Upshall scored his 14th goal at 6:14 of the first period. On a goal-mouth scramble, Upshall poked a loose puck past Mason, who once was Upshall's teammate in Nashville, to give the Coyotes a 1-0 lead.
“(Mason) is a good friend and he is definitely playing well and keeping the Blues in the playoff hunt,” Upshall said.
The goal was Upshall’s fourth in the past five games and his seventh since coming to the Coyotes in a trade with the Philadelphia Flyers, for whom he played 55 games this season. In those 55 games, Upshall also scored seven goals.
After each team scored in the first period, the Blues took the lead for good in the second frame.
Brad Winchester scored 17 seconds into the period when his shot from the right corner deflected off Coyotes defenseman Ken Klee and past goalie Ilya Bryzgalov.
Keith Tkachuk scored his 23rd goal on a great play to give the Blues a 3-1 lead at 8:13. While being draped by Mikkel Boedker, Tkachuk cut to the net and outlasted Bryzgalov, putting a shot top shelf.
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Crombeen put the game out of reach by scoring his second goal with 14 seconds left in the second period. Crombeen entered the game having not scored a goal in 23 games.
Gretzky pulled Bryzgalov after two periods and replaced him with backup Al Montoya, who gave up one goal on three shots in the third period. Bryzgalov gave up four goals on 21 shots.
“The fourth goal, with (17) seconds left, hurt us also,” Gretzky said. “Giving up a goal early in the period and late in the period is really tough to bounce back from.”
• The Coyotes are 5-1-1 in their past seven games at Jobing.com Arena.
• Coyotes center Matthew Lombardi registered a point for the sixth time in seven games. Over that stretch, Lombardi has two goals and six assists.
• The Coyotes scratched Todd Fedoruk, Enver Lisin, Brandon Prust, David Hale and Joakim Lindstrom.
• Crombeen’s last goal was on Feb. 16 against the New York Rangers.
• Bryzgalov's last start before Tuesday was on March 30 against Dallas. The three-game break was the longest stretch between starts for Bryzgalov this season.
• The Coyotes outshot the Blues 29-24.