By:_ Damon Markiewicz
In the game of hockey, a tie score can be classified as either a “good tie” or a “bad tie.”_ The Phoenix Coyotes 3-3 deadlock with the Vancouver Canucks on Sunday night definitely will be in the “good tie” category.
Coyotes center Krystofer Kolanos’ game-tying goal with 1:14 remaining in regulation time led Phoenix to a 3-3 draw against Vancouver on Sunday night in front of 18,630 at the General Motors Place._ Phoenix twice rallied to even the score, including erasing a two-goal deficit midway through the second period._ Despite playing in back-to-back contests, the Coyotes earned a point in each of their two road games this weekend and return home with a record of 3-3-2-0 on the season._
“We had the ultimate challenge against the Canucks and we responded very well,” said Coyotes head coach
Bob Francis._ “Vancouver hadn’t played in a while and they were sitting at home waiting for us._ We had a simple game plan
and we wanted to make the Canucks go through five people when they had the puck._ We received a timely goal from Krys (Kolanos) and earned a point.”
For Kolanos, it was his first goal since his memorable penalty shot tally against Patrick Roy on March 30, 2002._ Kolanos’ first goal of the 2003-04 season also came one night after being a healthy scratch against the San Jose Sharks on Saturday night.
“It was obviously a big goal for our team and it was nice to earn a point tonight,” said Kolanos, who had three shots on goal in 12:02 of ice time._ “I was obviously embarrassed being a healthy scratch for the first time in my career, but the only thing you can control in this game is how hard you work._ I want to make sure I don’t have to be put in that situation again and continue to help the team win games.”
For the second consecutive night, Phoenix faced a five-on-three disadvantage midway through the first period and once again successfully defended the shorthanded situation.__ The Canucks however continued their pressure and opened the scoring late in the first period when Trevor Linden_collected his second goal of the season with 2:22 remaining in the opening session.
Vancouver controlled the momentum early in the second period and expanded their lead to 2-0 when Ed Jovanovski one-timed a Markus Naslund pass behind Coyotes goaltender Sean Burke at 5:07 of the middle period.
Jovanovski’s goal only ignited the Coyotes as they responded with two goals of their own to even the score._ Phoenix captain Shane Doan started the comeback when he tallied his fourth goal of the season at 8:42 of the second period cutting the Coyotes’ deficit to 2-1._ Defenseman Radoslav Suchy pulled Phoenix even at 2-2 when his wrist shot beat Canucks goaltender Dan Cloutier at 10:09 of the middle period._
“I was actually looking to send a pass out front, but nobody was open,” said Suchy, who is second on the team in plus/minus with a +4 rating._ “I realized I had some time to skate out front and when I noticed the right side of the net was open, I aimed and fired.”
The game remained close_during the final 20 minutes of play and_Vancouver capitalized on a Phoenix turnover in the neutral zone to regain the advantage._ Canucks captain Markus Naslund collected a lose puck at the red line, skated down the left wing side_and slipped a shot past Burke at 8:51 of the third period giving Vancouver a 3-2 lead.
Naslund’s third marker of the season appeared it was going to hold up as the game-winner until Kolanos’ wrap-around attempt from behind the goal beat Cloutier with 1:14 left in the final period.
The Coyotes will return home for two games this week starting Tuesday, October 28 when they host the Chicago Blackhawks, followed by a rematch against Vancouver on Friday, October 31._
NEWS AND NOTES
BUSY SCHEDULE – The Coyotes continue their busy schedule with three games in the next six days beginning Tuesday night when they host the Chicago Blackhawks at AWA.
LEADING THE WAY – Phoenix captain Shane Doan has taken over the team lead in scoring with 4-6-10 totals in eight games._ Doan twice scored timely goals over the weekend igniting rallies and helping Phoenix to consecutive ties on the road._
OFFENSE FROM THE DEFENSE – For the second straight game, a Coyotes defenseman helped chip in with the offense._ Blueliner Radoslav Suchy scored his second goal of the season on Sunday night._ Phoenix defensemen have a combined total of five goals on the season with Suchy and David Tanabe each registering two apiece.
CLEARY BACK IN – A day after clearing waivers and being recalled from the Springfield Falcons, the Coyotes top minor league affiliate in the American Hockey League, right wing Daniel Cleary played in his second game of the season on Sunday._ Cleary ended the contest with 6:53 of ice time against the Canucks.
Phoenix – Brian Savage (Fractured Thumb), Andrei Nazarov (Healthy), Brad Ference (Healthy), Brian Boucher (Healthy)
Phoenix – Sean Burke (3-2-0, 2.38 gaa, .916 save percentage)
Vancouver – Dan Cloutier – (3-2-0, 2.01 gaa, .917 save percentage)