Phoenix Coyotes defenseman Radoslav Suchy entered the 2003-04 season with five goals in his first 290 games in the National Hockey League._ Saturday night he notched his fourth marker in his first 13 games this year.
Suchy’s goal 1:20 into overtime snapped the Coyotes nine game winless streak (0-6-3) and earned the team a 4-3 win over the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim_in front of 15,117 at AWA._ Suchy has now tied his career high for goals in a season with four and improved Phoenix’s record to 4-6-3-0 on the season._ The Coyotes and Ducks will conclude their home and home series on Sunday at the Arrowhead Pond.
“It felt good to get the win and get back on the winning track,” said Suchy, who is tied for third on the club in goals on the season._ “I just tried to get the puck on net and fortunate for the team it went in._ I have been the recipient of some good luck so far this year, but more importantly, the team got the win.”
It was the Coyotes first victory since October 15 at Florida, a game in which Suchy also had the game-winning tally._ The 27-year-old blueliner now has two career game-winning goals and is tied for the NHL lead in goals among defensemen.
“It is not an accident that Suchy has produced some clutch goals for our team,” said Coyotes head coach
Bob Francis._ “He is such a smart player and has tremendous hockey sense in knowing when to jump into the play and not get caught out of position._ When he first entered the NHL, he was a little tentative in his offense, but this year we have placed him on the power play and his confidence in his offense has grown.”
The rivalry between Phoenix and Anaheim has also developed over the years and Saturday night’s game was the front end of a home and home series between the two Pacific Division rivals._ The game featured a spirited first period, including plenty of hitting and a lot of passion.
“Both teams were hungry for a win and looking to get their games back on track,” said Francis._ “We wanted to come out and have a strong first period and we accomplished that tonight._ We played with good intensity and did what we needed to do to earn two points.”
After the Coyotes witnessed the Ducks take a 1-0 lead when Rob Niedermayer’s wrist shot beat Coyotes goaltender Sean Burke just 1:34 into the opening period, Phoenix responded with two goals of their own.
Immediately following Niedermayer’s goal, the Coyotes applied pressure in the Anaheim zone and their hard work paid off, and were rewarded with a five-on-three power play just a little over three minutes in the first period.
The Coyotes capitalized on their opportunity when Shane Doan scored on the man advantage at 4:02 of the first period tying the score at 1-1._ Phoenix took a 2-1 lead when Ladislav Nagy scored his team leading sixth marker of the season at 6:54 of the opening frame.
“I like the way we responded after we got down early in the game,” said Francis._ “We kept playing hard and took advantage of the early power play we had._ We have shown perseverance all season and tonight was no different.”
The Mighty Ducks used back-to-back power play goals from their captain Steve Rucchin late in the first and early in the second period to regain momentum._ Rucchin tied the contest with 5:33 remaining in the first period on the power play and tallied his second marker on the man advantage at 7:22 of the middle session regaining the Ducks lead at 3-2.
Nagy answered Rucchin’s performance with his second goal of the game with 1:20 remaining in the second period tying the score at 3-3 and eventually sending the game into overtime.
The two teams conclude their home and home series on Sunday at the Arrowhead Pond in Anaheim._ The game will not be seen on local television, but can be heard on KDKB 93.3 (FM) and KDUS 1060 (AM).
NEWS AND NOTES
PLAYER OF THE MONTH – Captain Shane Doan was named the Coyotes “Player of the Month” for October and was honored prior to the start of the game._ Doan recorded
4-6-10 totals in 10 games in October, including three multi-point games.
JOHNSON OUT – Prior to the start of Saturday’s game, it was announced that Phoenix right wing Mike Johnson will have shoulder surgery this coming Tuesday and will be out of the lineup between 3-5 months._ Johnson was tied for second on the team in scoring with 1-9-10 totals in 11 games at the time of his injury.__
WORKING OVERTIME – With the overtime win against Anaheim on Saturday, the Coyotes snapped a four-game home winless streak (0-3-1) and it was their first win at AWA since opening night._ Phoenix currently has a home record of 2-3-1-0 with both victories coming in the extra session._ For the season, the Coyotes are undefeated in overtime at 2-0-3.
WHITE JERSEYS – In an effort to allow their fans to view their new uniforms, the Coyotes wore their white jerseys at home on Saturday night instead of the brick red uniforms.
GLASS BREAK – Late in the third period, Coyotes defenseman David Tanabe was hit by Ducks center Samuel Pahlsson and the glass at the zamboni entrance shattered._ The crew at AWA did a good job of making the change in less than five minutes.
Phoenix – Sean Burke (9 games, 3-4-1, 2.72 gaa, .905 save percentage)
Anaheim – Jean-Sebastien Giguere (9 games, 1-7-0, 2.88 gaa, .899 save percentage)
Phoenix – Mike Johnson (Shoulder), Andrei Nazarov (Healthy), Brad Ference (Healthy), Brian Boucher (Healthy)
Anaheim – Mike Leclerc (Knee), Dan Bylsma (Knee), Vitaly Vishnevski (Healthy), Garrett Burnett (Healthy)