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Fiddler’s Hat Trick Sparks Yotes

Posted By Robb Patty On Nov 13 2010 @ 3:02 am In Phoenix Coyotes | No Comments

Coming into Friday nights game with the Calgary Flames forward Vernon Fiddler had yet to find the back of the net this season. He skated off with his first career hat trick and the Coyotes skated off with their second consecutive win over a conference opponent 5-4.

Fiddler’s final goal came on an empty netter to put the Coyotes up 5-2 with just over a minute left to play in the game. Little did he know that goal would prove to be the game winner as the Flames scored twice in the final minute of play to make it closer then Phoenix would have liked.

Forward Scottie Upshall, who scored his fourth goal of the season in the second period talked about not letting up late in games.

“That’s a learning experience,” said Upshall. “It’s a lesson that is definitely not going to go unnoticed. The last two minutes of the game can throw a dagger in your heart if you’re not ready for it.”

The Yotes look to make it three conference wins in a row as they host the St. Louis Blues tomorrow night at Jobing.Com Arena.

Before last nights game the Coyotes were tied for second in the league in defensemen goal scoring with nine. Some might see this as a good thing, however, in the Yotes case the forwards and wingers were struggling to put the puck in the back of the net. You love to see point production out of your blue liners, but it comes to a point where the goal scores (wingers and centers) need to start producing if this team is going to get back to the playoffs. Coyotes captain Shane Doan, who has missed the last four games with a lower-back injury is scheduled to skate tomorrow and should get back into the lineup next week.

While the offense isn’t quite where it needs to be the goaltending by both starter Ilya Bryzgalov and backup Jason Labarbera has been great, and a major reason why the Coyotes have been able to weather the storm and contend in the Western Conference. Bryzagalov is 5-2-5 and has a save percentage of .914 this season. He might not be the leading candidate for the Vezina trophy so far this year, but he would be on my list through the first month of the season. Labarbera, though just 1-3 this season has played well when called upon, including his first win, 2-1 on Thursday against the defending champion Chicago Blackhawks.

Though early it is doubtful that the Yotes will surpass 100 points as they did last season, but if this team continues to grow they could pose fits for teams come playoff time. Bryzagalov is playing great and having a veteran, tested goalie come playoff time is invaluable in postseason play. If and that’s a big IF they are able to make the postseason.

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