By Dave Vest
– The Coyotes earned a truckload of credibility Wednesday night by shutting out the Pittsburgh Penguins in front of a sellout-crowd inside Mellon Arena.
Goalie Ilya Bryzgalov
made 24 saves to earn his ninth career shutout and lead Phoenix to a 3-0 victory over the defending Stanley Cup champions, who entered the game undefeated.
, Petr Prucha
and Radim Vrbata
scored for the Coyotes, who upped their record to 2-0-0.
The Coyotes took it to the Penguins from the opening faceoff and never relented. Phoenix’s speed and tenacity led to three Pittsburgh penalties in the first period and 10 in the game. As a result, Pittsburgh stars Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin never got into a rhythm, and both fanned on shots and took frustration-induced penalties.
"I thought our speed and competitiveness drew some of the penalties," Coyotes Head Coach Dave Tippett said. "We really fed off the energy of playing against the Stanley Cup champions."
Malkin’s first penalty – a double minor high-sticking infraction to the face of Coyotes defenseman Keith Yandle
- came at 6:33 of the first period. Jovanovski made Pittsburgh pay by ripping a wrist shot past Penguins backup goalie Brent Johnson from the bottom of the right circle at 9:07.
The Coyotes went back on the power play midway through the second period when Pittsburgh's Brooks Orpik was called for hooking at 10:00. Coyotes forward Petr Prucha
scored his first goal of the season by knocking in a rebound, while seated on the ice after a collision in the slot no less, at 10:47.
The Penguins had two terrific chances to score in the final minute of the second period, but Malkin fanned on a shot from in close and then Bryzgalov made a nice save on a shot by Tyler Kennedy from the mid-slot.
Leading 2-0, Jovanovski was whistled for roughing at 19:43 of the second period, but Phoenix killed the first 17 seconds of the power play to end the period and then killed the final 1:43 to start the third.
The Penguins managed just six shots on Bryzgalov in the third period, and Vrbata scored into an empty net with 54 seconds remaining to seal the win.
Trailing 2-0, Pittsburgh's Alex Goligoski ripped a slap shot past Bryzgalov at 14:31 of the second period. The crowd went nuts, but the goal was disallowed because referee Don VanMassenhoven had whistled Penguins forward Matt Cooke for interference before the shot crossed the goal line.
Coyotes captain Shane Doan
assisted on Jovanovski’s goal. The point was the 624th of Doan’s career, all with Phoenix/Winnipeg, and it moved him past Keith Tkachuk and into sole possession of third place on the franchise’s all-time points list.
• Defenseman Sami Lepisto
played his first game for the Coyotes since coming over in an off-season trade with the Washington Capitals. “I thought I played pretty well,” Lepisto said. “In the first period, there were a lot of power plays and penalty killing so I didn’t play that much so it was hard to get into the game or get a rhythm. Once the game went on I felt much better and in the end I felt like I was back at it.”
• The Coyotes have not allowed an even-strength goal in their first two games, and have outscored opponents 9-3.
• The Coyotes recalled forward Francis Lessard from their American Hockey League and he joined them in Pittsburgh. Lessard is serving a three regular season-game suspension he was issued by the National Hockey League on Sept. 23, which was the result of a game misconduct penalty in a preseason game versus the Anaheim Ducks on Sept. 18.
• The Coyotes scratched Lessard, Paul Bissonnette
, and Kurt Sauer
. Pittsburgh’s scratches were Eric Godard and Martin Skoula.