The Phoenix Coyotes entered their final match-up for the season with the Anaheim Ducks sitting in 7th position in the Western Conference and just two points ahead of the Ducks who are on the outside looking in at this point. As with every game in the West right now, it's must-win for everyone involved and the Desert Dogs, despite going down early, relied on clutch goaltending from Ilya Bryzgalov and some timely goals by Lauri Korpikoski to spearhead a 5-2 victory.
It wasn't a great weekend for the Coyotes with games going to overtime seemingly at will and the teams in front of them getting points. Since last playing on Thursday, the Coyotes had drifted down the standings a bit and a loss to Anaheim would put the two teams in a tie for eighth position. However, an earlier win by the Kings in regulation may have signaled a turning of fortunes and the Coyotes entered the game with an opportunity to jump all the way into 5th place in the West with a victory.
The Ducks also entered the game hot and their top line would attribute for both of their goals tonight with an early marker for Corey Perry off of a Coyotes turnover and a nice play by Bobby Ryan to get the puck deep and to a wide open Perry in the crease. Perry would later add a tip-in goal on the power play. The Coyotes would respond to both goals by scoring a pair of their own.
Taylor Pyatt, quiet recently, would take a turnover by Andreas Lilja and roof it by Dan Ellis. Later, Lauri Korpikoski would add a pair of goals on nice individual efforts breaking into the zone along the wing and putting quality shots on net. Goals by David Schlemko and Shane Doan would round out the scoring.
A solid effort by the Coyotes all around and they start this important four game road trip with a needed victory. Look for them to keep up the pressure against the Flames on Tuesday night in another important game with playoff implications.
Bullet Points From The Game:
- A bad turnover by Michal Rozsival lets Bobby Ryan weave past Eric Belanger and Rozi (again) and feed it to Corey Perry sitting in front of the net for an easy goal...bad start to the game, no chance for Ilya Bryzgalov on that one...1-0 Ducks.
- Turnovers keep coming as Lilja coughs one up at the point and Taylor Pyatt roofs one past Dan Ellis to tie the game at one...Pyatt's goal is his team-leading 17th of the season.
- After the teams exchanged penalties and short power plays, Lauri Korpikoski takes a puck into the zone and throws one through (or maybe off of) Ryan Getzlaf and past Ellis to give the Coyotes a 2-1 lead. Korpy's 16th goal of the season moves him into a tie with Doan and Vrbata for second on the team behind Pyatt.
- Vernon Fiddler takes a hooking penalty towards the end of the first...it's the type of penalty that the Coyotes have been avoiding in recent games and that they need to stay away from.
- Bryz makes the best save of the game thus far on Lubomir Visnovsky off a one-timer on the power play...great play going cross the ice.
- Kyle Turris gets called for an "elbow" on Perry. It's pretty funny because Perry throws his head back and Turris' elbow might have hit him in the chest...maybe.
- On the ensuing power play, Perry can't bury a back door feed into a wide open net - karma. On replay Derek Morris makes a great play to tip the puck over Perry's stick. I'm still calling it karma.
- Ducks keep pushing players into Bryz and try and say they've scored after one skirmish has Bryz all the way in the net, but Bill McCreary makes the odd correct call and waves it off right away.
- Bryz has a huge flurry of big saves (with some help from Andrew Ebbett) against the big line of Perry, Ryan and Getzlaf (all this aided by some uncalled elbows on Ryan and Perry, but whatever). Coyotes continuing to play strong in their own end and holding to the one-goal advantage.
- A real nice play by Ray Whitney (welcome back Ray!) and Korpikoski leads to a great shot from Radim Vrbata from between the circles, but Ellis deflects it away. Coyotes would take a bad too many men penalty a few minutes later and they are shorthanded again...
- On the PK, Perry is parked in front of the net and deflects one in past Bryz to tie the game at 2.
- And in response, Korpedo makes a hell of a move and dances into the slot to slide one past Ellis and give the Coyotes a 3-2 lead. Todd Marchant gets all sorts of turned around by Korps there as he moves into the slot.
- Korpikoski keeps playing strong and draws a high sticking penalty....as the penalty ends, Whitney feeds David Schlemko at the point and he just feeds one through everyone camped in front and past Ellis to give the Coyotes a 4-2 lead.
- Coyotes certainly did cause some #DanEllisProblems as Ray Emery is in net to start the third period.
- Shane Doan makes a few great plays, first just missing high and then feeding Vernon Fiddler for a nice shot that Emery can't control, but Visnovsky keeps from going over the line. After Korpikoski fires another shot on Emery, Lee Stempniak can't find the net on a rebound opportunity as Emery squeezes the post.
- Doan can't find the net on a 2-on-1 with Eric Belanger either as he shoots it a bit high. Coyotes are buzzing and keeping a good bit of the play in the Ducks zone in the third through the first half of the period.
- Ducks goon it up a bit with Perry and Ryan throwing some punches in the crease and Ryan and Fiddler go to the box. A few seconds letter, Vrbata gets called for delay of game and the Ducks are on a 4-on-3 power play.
- During the power play, Emery heads to the bench and with 3 minutes to go, it's a 5-on-3 skater advantage with the empty net at the far end...Coyotes can't clear the puck at all, but Bryz stands on his head and keeps them with the 2-goal lead.
- With 40 seconds remaining, Shane Doan ices it with the empty net goal...his 17th of the season tying Pyatt and Korpi for the team lead.
OUR THREE STARS
1. Lauri Korpikoski - 2 goals, takes a high stick to draw a penalty, plays solid defensively as always...money.
2. Ilya Bryzgalov - Bryz is going to dictate a lot of how far this team is able to go if they make the playoffs, and playing the way he has the past few games will help this team go far. Another great effort from Bryz making 36 saves for the win including several of the phenomenal variety.
3. Shane Doan - another big game for Captain Coyote with a goal and two helpers.
COMMENT OF THE NIGHT
-Steven Hida [our lone Ducks supporter had to repeat this a lot]
346 comments; your top 3:
TimmyHate - 58
Me - 57
AlabamaJammer - 50
GAME HIGHLIGHTS AND PRESS CONFERENCES TO COME. . .