Much Like Vegas, We'll Never Speak of it Again
Tuesday night's last featured NHL game was more than a timely reminder that the All-Star break is indeed over.
The Phoenix Coyotes were well on their way to opening the month of February with a bang--or better yet, with a BOOM--but after seeing their 3-0 lead evaporate with five unanswered opposition goals, including one by a familiar face last seen packing his bags on his way out of training camp's Battle of the Kyles, they were stunned by their rival San Jose Sharks in a 5-3 loss.
Not long after Ed Jovanovski was boarded by Dany Heatley and forced to leave the first period, Radim Vrbata opened the scoring by deflecting in a Shane Doan point shot on the power play at the 16:11 mark, followed up almost three minutes later by a Keith Yandle slapshot as the Sharks were struggling to make a line change. The opening frame saw a combined thirty shots, 18 of them belonging to Phoenix.
The feel-good moment of the night for Coyotes fans (aside from heaving a sigh of relief when Jovanovski returned) was when Paul Bissonnette, affectionately known as BizNasty by his Twitter followers, scored his first goal and point of the season simply by being in the right place at the right time, letting go of a shot that was the last one faced by Antti Niemi before Sharks' coach Todd McLellan decided that was enough action for the twenty-seven year old goaltender and replaced him with first-timer Alex Stalock.
That's when this....
An indicator that three goals were not enough for the Coyotes came with eight seconds left in the period, when San Jose's Joe Pavelski jumped on the board with his tenth goal of the season. The two teams headed into the dressing room with a frail two-goal margin separating them, one that would shrink even further as Pavelski came roaring into the third with a vengeance and scored his second of the game just 1:24 in.
After yet another defensive breakdown by the Coyotes, Kyle Wellwood was the next to strike. Parked right out in front of Ilya Bryzgalov, he scored his first goal of the season for the Sharks--against the team that let him go just about four months earlier. As fellow newcomer Ben Eager took a hooking penalty against Oliver Ekman-Larsson moments later, Phoenix's power play became their downfall as Keith Yandle's giveaway led to a shorthanded Patrick Marleau goal that sealed the deal on the Sharks' comeback. Joe Thornton would pot an empty netter in for the final score of 5-3.
All-Star defenseman Keith Yandle, named January's second star of the month by the NHL, saw his point streak jump to ten games in the loss, as Radim Vrbata scored (and logged a point) for the first time since January 18th against Nashville. But there is no rest for the weary as the Coyotes' ride home is a brutal reminder that the Canucks, winners of three straight at Jobing.com Arena, are their next opponent on Wednesday night, at 6:30 p.m. PST.