VANCOUVER – Taylor Pyatt came back to haunt his old team.
Pyatt scored twice, including the winner, as the Phoenix Coyotes beat the Vancouver Canucks 3-2 before a sellout crowd of 18,860 at Rogers Arena.
“You always want to play well against your old team,” Pyatt said. “There’s always some extra motivation there so to come out and get a couple goals in a big win definitely feels good.”
The Coyotes (10-5-5) posted their sixth straight win, including a three-game sweep through Western Canada.
The Canucks (10-7-3) are now winless in four.
Pyatt’s goals were only his second and third of the season. He had not scored since the Coyotes’ season opener Oct. 9 against Boston—a span of 20 games.
He was released by the Canucks following the 2008-09 season, shortly after his fiancee was killed in a car crash in Jamaica.
Scottie Upshall also scored for the Coyotes. Christian Ehrhoff and Tanner Glass replied for Vancouver.
Pyatt’s second goal at 5:52 of the third period put the Coyotes ahead 3-2 as Keith Yandle’s shot appeared to go in off him. Coyotes forward Lee Stempniak whacked the shaft of Vancouver goalie Roberto Luongo’s stick as the puck went in.
“It went off he guy’s shin going to the net, so (it was) just a lucky goal by them,” said Luongo. “It’s tough to lose on a goal like that.”
Phoenix coach Dave Tippett said the win typified his club’s ability to score by committee, adding the Coyotes seem to get a big performance from a different player or line every night.
Despite Pyatt’s lack of scoring, Tippett had no complaints, because the 29-year-old Thunder Bay, Ont., native sports one of the best plus-minus records on the team.
“He’s a good player,” said Phoenix Tippett. “He’s a solid player, big body, that goes up and down the walls hard. Sometimes he gets rewarded with goals and tonight was one of those nights.”
The Coyotes coach also praised his club for going hard to the net cleanly. Phoenix was blanked on three power plays, but the disciplined Coyotes were never short-handed as they were not called for single penalty.
“When you look at the power play they can throw out there, you better not take penalties or you’re going to be in trouble,” Tippett said. “Any time you can give them an advantage like that, you take away a chance for your team to win. Our players recognized that before the game. That was one of the key points. We said we can’t be in the penalty box.”
The Canucks outshot the Coyotes 28-27. Following a scoreless first period, the score was tied 2-2 after 40 minutes.
Upshall opened the scoring 2:22 into the second period as he deflected Nolan Yonkman’s shot and then put in the rebound. It was the first NHL point since 2005-06 for Yonkman, a 29-year-old Punnichy, Sask., native who has spent most of his 10 pro seasons in the minors.
Pyatt gave the Coyotes a 2-0 lead just under four minutes later as David Schlemko’s point shot hit a couple of Canuck skates and then came to him in the slot.
Vancouver captain Henrik Sedin was almost happy to see Pyatt rewarded for his strong game.
“Well, I’d rather see him score against other teams,” Sedin said. “But he was a good teammate for us for a lot of years and a great linemate for us. It’s nice to see him on the ice and having fun and being the way he can.”
Ehrhoff put the Canucks on the scoreboard at 8:51 of the second on a Mason Raymond pass from behind the net. Ryan Kesler fanned on Raymond’s pass from in close, but the puck came out to Ehrhoff and he put it high over Ilya Bryzgalov’s catching glove.
“We battled hard tonight, but we didn’t get the results we were looking for,” said Raymond.
Sedin said the Canucks played better, but he lamented the fact his club has surrendered several early 2-0 leads in recent games.
“It’s not good enough,” he said.
Midway through the second, Luongo hurt his left leg as he stretched to stop Lepisto as he tried to go around him. The Phoenix defenceman’s jabbed Luongo and gave him what he described as a charley horse, but he was able to stay in the game.
Notes: The Canucks scratched defencemanKeith Ballard, one of their major off-season acquisitions who is earning US$4.5 million this season, for the sixth time in the past seven games…Phoenix captain Shane Doan returned to the lineup after missing seven games with an undisclosed lower-body injury…Coyotes centre Kyle Turris, a New Westminster, B.C., native, sat after taking a hit in the head from Andrew Cogliano on Friday in Edmonton…Since they were in Ottawa on Remembrance Day, the Canucks honoured Canadian Forces on Sunday night, with season-ticket holders donating over 210 tickets.