The Coyotes played hockey the hard way. Riding a wave of good play only to be knocked off their board and Shark bitten with 4 late 3rd period goals.
It was a Shark tank early and often as the Coyotes were jumped from the National Anthem. A wonderful crowd rendition of our United States theme song was performed prior to the game Thursday night. Then the Sharks were swimming circles around the Coyotes early. Even forcing a 5 on 3 man advantage within the early minutes of the opening period. Jason LaBarbera stood tall in net, even looked poised and comfortable at times. Sliding back and forth with 13 saves in the first half of the opening stanza. Nice start filling in again for Mike Smith who is day to day with a lower body injury.
Sharks bit first with a first period goal by Logan Couture with only 37 seconds to go in the period after Derrick Morris turned the puck over then followed that by taking a penalty. Truly a back breaker after all they overcame early. Tippett looked visibly upset walking off the ice after one. Phoenix appeared to have taken an early lead but the power play goal was disallowed by a hand pass from Sullivan.
Early in the 2nd period it was the Coyotes turn for a 5 on 3 advantage after Korpikoski and Morris were both high sticked. Staying red hot Steve Sullivan lit the lamp after a bunch of zone possession during the 2 man advantage and several shots. Finally the Coyotes had drawn even 1 to 1 after two periods of play. On a back to back with your #2 Goalie it is the best situation you could hope for. Battle for 1 maybe 2 points.
The third started on the power play which produced a post ringing but no goal. After yet another turnover Sullivan was called for interference and then an unsportsmanlike which turned a power play into a penalty kill for the next almost 3 minutes. Korpikoski drew another key penalty using his speed to put the teams back to 4 on 4. After a great defensive play by Yandle, Vermette capitalized on the opposite end with a little help from the captain.
The goalie duel was interrupted early 3rd period with back to back goals by Vermette then a bad angle shot from Korpikoski who earned it all game long making it 3 – 1 Yotes. Antti Niemi giving up 2 goals and Jason LaBarbera keeping it a low scoring grind it out type of game which favors hockey the hard way. 3 – 2 Coyotes midway through the final stanza after Marleau capitalized on a rebound and kept his scoring hot in the early 2013 campaign.
After a frenetic pace the Sharks came charging back with their second straight goal by Havlat. 3 – 3 tie game with over 6 mins to play. Marleau scored again for the game winner breaking the hearts of Yotes and their fans.
It was really all Sharks in the last half of the 3rd period as they rallied from down 3 – 1 to score the last 4 goals including an empty netter winning 5 – 3 in their home opener.
Phoenix will limp home shaking their heads on what could of been with a 1 – 3 record and the defending champs the also struggling Kings waiting for them.
Puck drops at 6pm Saturday night as both teams look to get their seasons on track. Phoenix has played well enough to be 3 -1 but lapses mean 1 – 3 and LaBarbera deserved better.
Phoenix Coyotes General Manager Don Maloney announced today that the Coyotes have recalled goaltender Chad Johnson and defenseman David Rundblad from the Portland Pirates.
The 6-foot-3, 205-pound Johnson has appeared in 24 games with the Pirates this season posting a 14-8-0 record with a 2.80 goals against average (GAA) and .912 save percentage (SV %).
Rundblad has played one game for the Coyotes this season. He has also appeared in 32 games with Portland in 2012-13, recording 6-17-23 and 10 PIM. Rundblad leads all Pirates defensemen in points and ranks tied for fourth on the team in scoring. He also ranks 10th in scoring among all AHL defensemen. Rundblad was selected to represent the Pirates at the AHL All-Star Game this season.
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