Coyotes split Prague miniseries
Both the Boston Bruins and Phoenix Coyotes came away from their Premiere experience with a 1-1-0 record, with Phoenix using aggressive forechecking to wear away at their opponents to come out on top of a 5-2 score on Saturday and being unable to duplicate the result--or mustering any offense at all--on Sunday in a 3-0 loss.
Photo credit: B. Babineau/bruins.nhl.com
It was to be expected that the Bruins would make changes following Saturday afternoon's result. Where they had been lacking in puck control and flawless defensive play, they more than made up for that on Sunday, as they made notable switch-a-roos in their starting roster and bolstered their experienced playmakers with the energy of their youth. Rookie Tyler Seguin scored his first goal in the NHL, while Nathan Horton proved why he is one of the Bruins' most valuable offensive threats. In all, the Bruins won their battles and frustrated the Coyotes by limiting them to few shots on goal, also forcing Ilya Bryzgalov to stand on his head. And once he let in the first goal midway through the second, frustrations became more evident on the Phoenix side of things that they weren't getting anything through.
They didn't play terribly, but there was a sense in the third period that they had let the reins go, manifested notably in the amount and nature of their penalties near the end of the game. Ed Jovanovski and Milan Lucic were each sent off for slashing and roughing with less than three minutes to go, at which point the final score was already determined. However, seasoned veteran defenseman Jovanovski had less to gain from it than Lucic. Thankfully it's early yet for those little things to make a difference in a season.
It was certainly not the happy birthday that captain Shane Doan would have hoped for, but the Coyotes come back to Arizona having more of a sense of how to handle the rest of the season. Saturday's being the formula that worked, and adversely, Sunday's the one necessary to avoid, especially in the face of fellow Western teams that no doubt were taking notes early on while watching these games.
Scoring summaries for both games:
Saturday, October 9th
1st: Coyotes: Radim Vrbata (1) (Adrian Aucoin (1), Ed. Jovanovski (1)) - 7:59
2nd: Coyotes: Taylor Pyatt (1) (Vernon Fiddler (1), Lee Stempniak (1)) - 1:58
Coyotes: Scottie Upshall (1) (unassisted) -15:02
Coyotes: Eric Belanger (1) (Keith Yandle (1), Ray Whitney (1)) - 19:43 (PP)
3rd: Bruins: Nathan Horton (1) (Milan Lucic (1), David Krejci (1)) - 3:33
Bruins: Nathan Horton (2) (Zdeno Chara (1), Michael Ryder (1)) - 9:03 (PP)
Coyotes: Radim Vrbata (2) (Ed Jovanovski (2)) - 18:13 (EN)
Sunday, October 10th
1st: No scoring.
2nd: Bruins: Milan Lucic (1) (Nathan Horton (1), David Krejci (2)) - 12:11
Bruins: Nathan Horton (3) (Mark Recchi (1), David Krejci (3)) - 19:27
3rd: Bruins: Tyler Seguin (1) (Michael Ryder (2), Tim Thomas (1)) - 9:14
Notable Coyotes' stats:
Keith Yandle led the team once again with 9 shots over the two games.
Oliver Ekman-Larsson registered 23:47 in ice-time the first game and 18:38 in the second.
Sami Lepisto blocked the most shots in both games (4 for each contest).