Dave Vest | Anthony Perez GLENDALE – Another home game, another hat trick.
Ray Whitney scored three goals and added two assists to lead the Coyotes to a 5-3 win over the St. Louis Blues on Saturday night at Jobing.com Arena. The three goals were Whitney's first three goals of the season, and his five-point effort matched a career-high for one game.
Four Coyotes - Lee Stempniak, Ed Jovanovski, Vernon Fiddler and Whitney - have notched hat tricks at Jobing.com Arena this season. All four entered their hat trick game with zero goals. Click here to read more on this unique development.
Radim Vrbata chipped in a goal and two assists, and Keith Yandle had two assists for the Coyotes, who scored a season-high three power-play goals en route to their third straight victory.
Phoenix (7-5-5) took a 1-0 lead 5:03 into the game when Blues center Vladimir Sobotka was sent to the penalty box for tripping. The call led to a tip-in goal by Vrbata.
Andy McDonald of the Blues evened the score at the 14:10 mark of the first period when he fired a backhanded shot past Coyotes goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov.
Whitney, who signed with the Coyotes as an unrestricted free agent on July 1, notched his first goal of the season early in the second period (see KEY MOMENT below).
Photo by Getty Images.
David Backes evened the score at two apiece at 7:52 of the second when he somehow knocked the puck through Bryzgalov and across the goal line during a wild scrum in front of the Phoenix net. Replays seemed to indicate Backes kicked the puck into the goal, but the play was reviewed and it was ruled a good goal.
Whitney helped Phoenix take a 3-2 lead at the 10:28 mark of the second period when he scored off a hard wrist shot from the left faceoff circle on a two-man advantage following penalties to Backes and Blues goalie Ty Conklin.
Just under five minutes later, Martin Hanzal scored another power-play goal to give the Coyotes a two-goal advantage.
Leading 4-3 with under a minute left, Whitney put the game away for the Coyotes when he scored into the empty net.
Bryzgalov stopped 35 of the 38 shots he faced to pick up his sixth win of the season, while Conklin saved 22 of the 26 shots he faced in the losing effort.
The Blues (9-3-3) have lost three games in a row.
Coyotes winger Ray Whitney, who has been troubled by a hand injury this season, used his chest to help him score his first goal with Phoenix.
With the score tied 1-1 early in the second period, Whitney crashed the St. Louis net from the left corner and found himself near the crease with the loose puck on his sternum. He quickly knocked it to the ice and tucked it past Blues goalie Ty Conklin for an unassisted goal at 5:39.
“The first one wasn’t pretty, and a lot of times those are just what you need to get going,” Whitney said about the goal.
• The Coyotes next game is on Wednesday vs. the Calgary Flames at the Pengrowth Saddledome. The puck drops at 7:30 p.m. (Arizona time). The game can be seen on Fox Sports Arizona and can be heard on XTRA Sports 910 (AM).
"I have been through (goal-scoring) droughts before and there were five or six games where I questioned whether I should be in the lineup at all with the injury to my hand. I wasn’t quite looking at it as 14 games (without a goal). I did the best I could for about six or seven, but yes, it was starting to weigh on me."
"Our power play came through for us tonight with a big game... St. Louis is a team that has some injuries, but I like the way our guys came out and started tonight with St. Louis sitting here waiting for us last night."
"For a team that played last night, we weren’t on them tonight like we should (have been). Our penalty kill struggled; usually it’s strong for us. We gave up three power-play goals. That’s going to be a tough night for us."
• Dec. 31, 2010:
• Jan. 10, 2011:
• Nov. 13, 2010: PHX 5, STL 3 • March 22, 2011:
1 - 0 PHX
1 - 1 Tie
2 - 1 PHX
2 - 2 Tie
3 - 2 PHX
4 - 2 PHX