Joseph stopped 23 shots and led the Phoenix Coyotes to a 2-1 win over the Anaheim Ducks on Thursday night. “It’s OK, we’ll take the win,” Joseph said of losing the shutout in the final 2½ minutes. “They are a dangerous team and they can turn it up as good as anybody.”
The Ducks drew close in the final minutes. That’s when Travis Moen brought Anaheim to within 2-1 when he scored at 17:27 of the final session. The Coyotes then held off the surging Ducks to record their second win in 11 games.
Joseph earned his 16th win of the season, and the 444th of his NHL career. He is one behind Terry Sawchuk for fourth on the NHL career list.
For a team with title aspirations, Anaheim coach Randy Carlyle thought his club came out flat and lacked energy.
“We had people with no legs,” Carlyle said. “Certainly, this was not a good game for our guys. We really didn’t generate very much until the end, and did not have the ability to get inside and create much.”
Carlyle’s assertion was echoed in the locker room.
“Without legs and without energy, we’re in trouble,” forward Teemu Selanne said. “Maybe this is something we can build on, but for now, it’s tough to lose when you don’t have your normal legs and energy.”
In an energetic but scoreless opening period, Anaheim had the better scoring opportunities. The Ducks’ best shot came with just over seven minutes gone when Andy McDonald’s wrist shot from the right circle deflected off the left post.
Jeff Taffe broke the scoreless deadlock early in the second period when he converted Shane Doan’s centring pass into his fourth goal of the season at 4:43.
“I was in the right place at the right time,” Taffe said. “Shane made a great play from behind the net. It was just a great effort by him working hard.”
The Coyotes made it 2-0 late in the period. Bill Thomas broke down the right side, and his centring pass fell into the skates of Steven Reinprecht. Thomas trailed the play into the slot and put Reinprecht’s return pass into at 15:56 for his sixth of the season.
Phoenix coach Wayne Gretzky credited the blend of younger players and veterans for carrying play.
“Our experienced guys are playing really well right now,” he said. “It’s giving a boost of energy here in the end of the season and there’s a solid effort from our younger guys.”
The Ducks had a big opportunity to cut the lead in the third period. Halfway through, Cory Perry was stopped in front, and Chris Kunitz waited on the doorstep for a rebound which Joseph didn’t allow.
Notes: Moen’s goal was his 11th of the season. … Anaheim D Chris Pronger sat out his seventh straight game with a broken toe. … RW Owen Nolan was chosen as Phoenix’s nominee for the Masterton Trophy. … Selanne, second in the NHL with 44 goals, was held to three shots – none in the final period.