Tonight our Phoenix Coyotes skated into Pittsburgh and simply forced the Penguins into playing a style of game they didn't want to and ended up completely shutting them down. Analysts and sports talking heads will talk about how the Penguins "Played Down" to us, or that they were focusing on tomorrow's Philly game or even worse are still suffering from the dreaded "Cup Hangover". That's all bull. The Coyotes went into the Igloo, decided how they were going to play and got just enough good chances to make it all worth while.
The first while of the game wasn't anything special, both sides were all over the place. The game was choppy even before the refs got involved. It just got worse as the game went on. What was good were the first two Coyote goals. In the 1st, Ed Jovanovski blasted a pass from Shane Doan top shelf over the glove of Brent Johnson. It was a very nice shot into the corner after Jovo snuck up from the blueline on the power play. THe 2nd goal was highlight worthy as Petr Prucha scored one from his back while laying on top of a Penguin in the crease. Another hard-work dirty goal by the team. THe 3rd goal was put in the empty net by Radim Vrbata at the end of the game.
The real story though was the Phoenix defense. They were covering everything the Penguins threw at them. We were in the passing lanes, we were checking we were doing everything that we weren't doing last year. The system Coach Dave TIppett has these guys in is working big time and the talent is finally shining through.
The refs though made this game so choppy is was hardly bearable. A total of 17 penalties were called on the two teams, including several co-incidental minors. The Coyotes ended up 2 of 8 on the Power Play while the Penguins obviously were 0 for their 5 chances.
- With his assist on the Jovanovski goal, Shane Doan moved into 3rd on the all-time points list for the Coyotes/Jets franchise.
- The Coyotes won 27 faceoffs and lost 26 last night. While that's pretty much even, that's a huge improvement over faceoffs last season.