Joseph made 29 saves in his second straight shutout and the Phoenix Coyotes beat Carolina 2-0 on Thursday night in the Hurricanes’ second consecutive scoreless game. “As long as the puck’s staying out, that’s good news,” Joseph said. “There’s a renewed optimism among this club, for sure. … Guys blocking shots, a little bit of a swagger, and you need to have that. We’re winning games on the road, we’re winning close games and we weren’t doing that earlier in the year.”
Yanic Perreault and Ed Jovanovski each scored to lead the Coyotes to their season-best fourth straight win.
“The team is playing with much more urgency, playing much more as a team, scoring big goals when we have to and getting big saves when we need them,” coach Wayne Gretzky said. “I like how our team is sitting right now, and I like how our guys are focused.”
Especially Joseph, who had the 49th shutout and the 438th victory of his 17-year career.
He surpassed Hall of Famer Jacques Plante for sole possession of fifth place on the NHL’s career wins list, and followed his 8-0 victory over San Jose last week with another perfect performance.
“With Curtis being fresh, he’s playing better now than he did even last year,” Gretzky said. “Last year, he was good at times. This year, right now, he’s much more solid, much more in a zone.”
Next up for CuJo: Terry Sawchuk, who’s fourth with 447 wins.
“They are inventors and the greatest legends of the game, so if I can creep into the same company somehow, I’m very honoured,” Joseph said.
Cam Ward stopped 26 shots for the Hurricanes, who were blanked for the sixth time this season and were booed by the RBC Center crowd when they couldn’t manage a shot on goal during a third-period power play. Carolina has been held scoreless in consecutive games for the first time since November 2003.
“They had a step on us, and they shouldn’t,” Hurricanes right wing Justin Williams said. “We have a puck-chasing, offensive-minded team, and no one should have the upper hand or a step up on us. There are no words to describe the disappointment we feel right now. We’re a much better team than we’re showing.”
The defending Stanley Cup champions also have followed their season-best five-game winning streak with losses in four of their last five.
“It’s not the attack we’re used to seeing here, but there were chances and they’re not finding their way into the back of the net,” Hurricanes coach Peter Laviolette said.
Carolina lost its fourth straight to the Coyotes and hasn’t defeated Phoenix since Nov. 12, 2002. The Coyotes’ last visit to Tobacco Road came exactly three years earlier, when they beat the Hurricanes 3-0 on Jan. 4, 2004.
Perreault put Phoenix up 1-0 in the opening moments of the first period. Oleg Saprykin chased down the puck in the corner and passed near the goal to Perreault, who beat Ward with a backhand to his glove side for his team-leading 12th goal of the season.
“I don’t think their goalie saw me coming from the far side, and I was trying to get a quick shot on net,” Perreault said.
Jovanovski made it a two-goal game 26 seconds into the second when a rebound bounced to him behind the left circle and he one-timed it off Carolina left wing Erik Cole’s stick and past Ward.
Notes: Carolina alternate captain Kevyn Adams (staph infection) was scratched. In his place, LW Ray Whitney wore the “A” on his sweater. … The Coyotes played their first game since trading C Mike Comrie to Ottawa for suspended Russian prospect Alexei Kaigorodov. … Perreault extended his points streak to five games and has 21 points in 27 games with the Coyotes. … Slumping Carolina C Eric Staal has gone nine games without scoring a goal and has just one in his last 15. … The Coyotes improved to 2-0 on their season-long five-game road swing.