The Phoenix Coyotes were clinging to a one-goal lead late in the second period when a game changing hit on defensemen Ed Jovanovski woke them up.
“I thought we were sleepy,” said Coyotes head coach Dave Tippett. “I feel bad for Jovo because it was a hard hit on him, but I think it woke the rest of the team up.”
The Coyotes woke up and responded for four third period goals (one an empty netter) after Toronto’s forward Mike Brown got away with a blatant elbow to the head of Jovanovski. The dominating 5-1 victory by the Yotes keeps them unbeaten in the month of January as they improve to 5-0-2 and have climbed to fourth place in the Western Conference.
Coyotes captain Shane Doan, who scored what turned out to be the game winning goal early in the third period on a one-timer from defensemen Keith Yandle, also acknowledged that the hit on Jovanovski really got his team going in the third period.
“We were not playing with a lot of emotion, obviously when you see it on the video (screen) it looks pretty bad. The refs said they didn’t see it, but it gave us some emotion for sure.”
The Coyotes went on to dominate the third period thanks in large part to the stellar goaltending of Coyotes goalie Ilya Bryzgalov. Bryzgalov stopped 28 of the 29 shots he faced, twelve of which came in the final period. His lone miscue came at the 16:08 mark of the third period when Toronto forward Colby Armstrong was able to get a meaningless goal.
Defensemen Keith Yandle, who leads the team in points, but was not selected to the NHL All-Star game tallied three points (two assists and a goal). Yandle now has seven goals and 27 assists to lead the Yotes with 34 points on the season.
The Coyotes now have three games in four days starting Saturday. All three games are at home and against conference opponents that are fighting to stay at the top of the Western Conference standings. Doan understands that these games before the All-Star break are pivotal in setting the team up for a solid second half of the season.
“We look now where we are at and we give ourselves a position to go into the All-Star break with a decent spot. We got to keep playing. We got seven more games until the All-Star break. We got some numbers (points) that we want to try and get to and we are trying to get there.”
Defensemen Michal Rozsival did not suit up in tonight’s game after being acquired on January 10th in a trade for forward Wojtek Wolski.
Bryzgalov is 4-0 in his career against Toronto.
About the Author
Written by Robb Patty