The Coyotes gave up a lot of ground late in last night's game, but still managed to come out on top 6-4. While our defense seemingly forgot how to play with a lead giving up 3 goals to Guillaume Latendresse alone. Owen Nolan got the other goal for the wild. Through the first 50 minutes of the game though It was all Coyotes all the time. The defense was keeping the Wild almost completely out of their offensive zone. There were maybe 3 or 4 times in the whole of the first 2 periods that the Wild were even able to get anything going for more than a moment. The real story was The Coyotes offense that was hitting on all cylinders tonight. All those errant passes that would have made nice chances if they connected in previous games were finding the mark tonight. Every one of the Coyotes goals were because of nice passes setting them up rather than having to struggle for each goal.
Petr Prucha finally got rewarded for all the hard work he's been putting in lately with a couple of goals. In fact the crowd in Phoenix thought for sure he had a third in the last minute of the game, but it instead was Radim Vrbata getting a deflection off of Nick Schultz who was defending Prucha on the play to put the nail in the coffin. the Coyotes were also fairly effective on the power play getting a goal on an Adrian Aucoin point shot. We even managed to get a shorthanded goal on a bang bang play between when Vernon Fiddler passed to Ed Jovanovski and then got the puck back across to wrist it into the open side.
To be up 5-1 with ten minutes left and then almost squander that lead though isn't how we want to be finishing games off. The team just took their feet off the gas and stopped doing all the things that got the team there. The Wild just started skating everywhere, players weren't taking their men and it let the Wild forwards just go wherever they felt like. Latendreese just seemed to be able to find the puck late too, but the Owen Nolan goal deflecting off of Bryzgalov's butt was weak and shouldn't have happened. We got sloppy with our stick work taking several penalties and allowing two 3rd period power play goals.
While I gladly take the win, as Dave Tippett said after the game, there are absolutely still areas that the team has to work on. The special teams play was good in the first 75% of the game, but as with the rest of the team's play looked apathetic when they got a big lead.
Players of the game: 1st Star: Petr Prucha (2g), 2nd Star: Ed Jovanovski (4a) and Guillaume Latendresse