GLENDALE, Arizona (Ticker) — In addition to playing well in
their own end, the defensemen of the Phoenix Coyotes made an
important offensive contribution on Tuesday.
Defenseman Ed Jovanovski snapped a tie early in the third period
and Enver Lisin scored twice later in the session as the Coyotes
rolled to a 6-3 victory over the Detroit Red Wings.
Derek Morris recorded a goal and an assist, fellow blue-liner
Keith Yandle also tallied and Jovanovski added an assist for
Phoenix, which has won three in a row at home and five of seven
“We feel good about ourselves, especially beating a team like
Detroit,” Jovanovski said. “To battle back the way we did and
have a really good third period was crucial for our guys. In
those moments, that’s when you have to rise to the occasion.
(In a) 3-3 game, the next goal is going to give you the best
advantage to win the game.
“The third period has been our best throughout the year, no
question. As the game goes on, you want to get better as a
team. But as a team, we would love to play in the first and
second periods like we do in the third.”
Olli Jokinen netted a goal, captain Shane Doan notched a pair of
assists and Ilya Bryzgalov made 34 saves for the Coyotes, who
posted their first win over the Red Wings since March 7, 2006.
“We’ve played solid teams and we’ve been playing with a lot of
grit,” Phoenix coach Wayne Gretzky said. “Our young guys seem
to be getting better every night, and our veteran players have
shown outstanding leadership. That, and when you get
goaltending like we’re getting from Bryzgalov, you can win some
“A year ago, we would’ve found a way to lose that game 6- or
7-3. But maturity, want and the will to win has really come a
long way here.”
Captain Nicklas Lidstrom netted two power-play goals and Mikael
Samuelsson also cashed in during the man advantage for Detroit,
which fell to 2-2-1 on its six-game road trip.
“We gave away too many gifts,” Red Wings coach Mike Babcock
said. “We gifted like three goals, and you can’t do that. …
Five points on this road trip (so far). We would like to think
we’re a better team than that. We have to play a lot better
than we did tonight to be successful.”
With the contest even at 3-3 after 40 minutes, Jovanovski put
the Coyotes ahead for good at 2:06 of the third with his third
goal of the season. After receiving a pass from the bottom of
the left faceoff circle by Doan, the veteran blue-liner beat
goaltender Ty Conklin from the right circle.
“It was kind of a scramble play,” Jovanovski said. “Doaner
turned up to the net and I got the perfect pass and directed it
toward the net.”
Lisin doubled the advantage at 6:49, skating around defenseman
Brian Rafalski in the right circle before firing the puck past
“I try to do that move in practice,” Lisin said. “I like that
move and wanted to do it in a game, and it worked. … My speed
helps me a lot. It is the most important part of my game.”
The 22-year-old Russian sealed the win with 1:44 remaining,
completing his second two-goal effort of the campaign with an
“He is a special athlete,” Gretzky said. “Here’s a guy that
came over (to North America) and we knew he had incredible
talent. He had a hard time, on and off the ice. Off the ice
because of the language barrier, but he stuck it out.
“He was in San Antonio (of the American Hockey League) and could
have gone home for triple the money, but he wanted to be an NHL
player. We brought him up on the East Coast trip (in November),
and he’s been nothing but tremendous for us. I know there are a
lot of fast skaters but don’t know if there is a faster one than
Doan agreed with his coach, even offering a humorous comparison.
“He’s an elite player,” the All-Star said. “He’s a little bit
like Forrest (Gump). He’s pretty fast, he can make plays and
he’s playing huge for us, and in every situation. You see him
out there on the penalty kill as well.”
Conklin, who made 21 saves, was not pleased with his effort.
“Several guys didn’t play as well as they would like to, myself
included,” he said. “Disappointing going into the (All-Star)
break. … These last two games, we took a step backwards, but
hopefully it’s just a blip.”
After concluding its 2-2-0 road trip with a disappointing 6-3
loss at Edmonton on Sunday, Phoenix fell behind in this one as
Samuelsson wristed a shot from the left faceoff circle that
glanced off the left goalpost and in at 9:59 of the first
The Coyotes pulled even when Morris beat Conklin with a
one-timer from the top of the right circle with 4:53 to go in
Yandle gave Phoenix the lead at 4:09 of the second with a
power-play goal. After Detroit won a faceoff in the right
circle, a defender’s clearing attempt landed right on the stick
of Yandle, whose slap shot from the top of the slot sailed into
the top right corner of the net.
Lidstrom forged a 2-2 tie at 7:14 with a slapper from the top of
the left circle that beat a screened Bryzgalov, but Jokinen
completed a 3-on-1 rush with a shot from the left circle with
4:41 remaining in the period, restoring Phoenix’s edge.
“We’ve got to solidify goaltending, we’ve got to continue to get
better without the puck,” Babcock said. “We had lots of scoring
chances, but you have to play without the puck, and we weren’t
able to do that tonight.”
With six seconds to go before intermission, Lidstrom again
knotted the contest, unleashing a slap shot from the left point
that deflected off the stick of Coyotes defenseman David Hale
and past Bryzgalov. It was the All-Star’s 111th career
power-play goal, tying him with Brian Leetch for eighth place on
the all-time list among defensemen.
Phoenix, which had gone five straight games without yielding a
man-advantage tally, surrendered three in six shorthanded
situations against Detroit.