By Dave Vest | Anthony Perez GLENDALE -- Led by Lauri Korpikoski’s goal and assist, the Coyotes beat the St. Louis Blues, 2-1, Tuesday night in the second game of a six-game homestand at Jobing.com Arena.
With the win, the Coyotes (40-24-11) remained in fourth place in the Western Conference standings with 91 points. Phoenix trails Pacific Division-leading San Jose by just one point. The Coyotes and Sharks will play three games before the regular season ends on April 8.
The Coyotes played a sluggish first period and let the Blues dictate the pace. Things changed after Head Coach Dave Tippett used his timeout in the second period.
Trailing 1-0, Korpikoski misfired on a shot on goal and the puck trickled over to Ray Whitney, who was stationed in front of the St. Louis net. Whitney swept the “pass” from Korpikoski past Blues goaltender Jaroslav Halak to tie the score 1-1 at 8:41 of the second period.
Korpikoski, who centered a line between Whitney and Radim Vrbata, wasn’t finished.
With three minutes left in the second period, he put the Coyotes up 2-1 when he scored his 18th goal of the season (see KEY MOMENT below).
After the game, Tippett was asked if he was surprised that Korpikoski is leading the team in goals.
Photo by Getty Images.
“Everyone comes to camp and you’re looking for people to step up, and in our situation everyone gets an opportunity,” Tippett said. “And he’s a guy that has earned his opportunity. He’s taken the opportunity and he’s just run with it. Really, he’s been one of our best players all year long.”
Desperate to tie the score, the Blues pulled Halak in the closing moments of the third period but the Coyotes didn’t surrender a goal. Bryzgalov made several of his 29 saves in the game’s final minute.
St. Louis (32-32-9) scored its lone goal at 8:52 of the first period when Kevin Shattenkirk beat Bryzgalov with a wrist shot to give the Blues a 1-0 lead.
Tied 1-1, Coyotes forward Lauri Korpikoski took a shot from the top of the right faceoff circle with three minutes left in the second period. Korpikoski's shot hit the leg of the Blues defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk and scooted past goalie Jaroslav Halak for the game-winning goal.
The goal was the 18th of the season for Korpikoski, who entered 2010-11 with just 11 goals on his NHL resume.
• The victory was Phoenix's 40th of the season. With 50 wins last season, the Coyotes have won 40 games or more for two consecutive seasons, a first in franchise history.
• The Coyotes won 70 percent of the game's 57 faceoffs. Center Eric Belanger led the way by winning 12 of 14 draws.
Photo by Getty Images.
• Coyotes forward Paul Bissonnette played just 1:37, but he got into two fights. Bissonnette's father, Cam, was watching his son play from the a seat in the lower bowl.
• Goalie Ilya Bryzgalov made 29 saves for his 33rd win of the season and his 127th with the Coyotes. With the victory, Bryzgalov passed Nikolai Khabibulin for second place on the franchise's all-time wins list, two behind leader Bob Essensa.
• Winger Ray Whitney has scored four of his 15 goals this season against St. Louis.
• Defenseman Ed Jovanovski skated with teammates during Tuesday's morning skate. It was the first time Jovanovski had done so since fracturing orbital bones during a game vs. Atlanta five weeks ago. Jovanovski wore a full cage on his helmet. He is hoping to return to the lineup before the regular season ends.
• The Coyotes' next game is Thursday vs. Columbus at Jobing.com Arena. The puck drops at 7 p.m. (Arizona time). The game can be seen on Fox Sports Arizona and can be heard on KFNN 1510 (AM).
"They were playing really loose, really offensive. Their "D" was jumping (into the play), and we were kind of, I don’t know, squeezing our sticks a little bit in the first (period). We didn’t match their speed."
"No one is surprised to see (Korpikoski)
scoring like this. He's an elite player and everyone has been kind of waiting for him to put it together. We count on him to break the game open with his skill."
"I think every game is a learning process. There are still some things that we’re hashing out, but you know, just playing and getting some game time here is what makes it the easiest thing, and that’s the easiest way to learn."