The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Sports

February 2, 2014

Michalek marker helps Coyotes drop Penguins

GLENDALE, Ariz. — Zbynek Michalek scored against his former team, his first goal in 83 games, and the Phoenix Coyotes became the first Pacific Division team to beat the Eastern Conference-leading Pittsburgh Penguins in regulation this season with a 3-1 victory on Saturday night.

Mike Ribeiro had a goal and an assist for Phoenix. Radim Vrbata scored the third goal for the Coyotes, who were coming off perhaps their worst loss of the season, 3-2 at home to the East’s worst team, the Buffalo Sabres, on Thursday night.

Evgeni Malkin scored for the Penguins, who entered 8-0-1 against Pacific Division foes.

Michalek’s previous goal was scored on March 5, 2012, for Pittsburgh against Phoenix.

The Penguins, who had won three straight over the Coyotes, made their first appearance in Arizona in 3 1/2 years.

Mike Smith, back in goal after Phoenix had gone with Thomas Greiss the previous two games, made 23 saves. Pittsburgh’s Marc-Andre Fleury stopped 27 shots.

Playing in front 17,362, the Coyotes’ second-largest home crowd this season, Pittsburgh fell behind 2-0.

The Penguins made it a one-goal game before Vrbata’s shot on a 2-on-1 rush slipped through Fleury to make it 3-1 with 15:47 to play.

The Penguins fell to 2-10 in games in which NHL scoring leader Sidney Crosby fails to get a point.

Ribeiro put Phoenix ahead 1-0 with his 14th goal of the season and 200th of his career.

His wrist shot from the left circle got past Fleury’s left side and rattled in with 7:18 to play in the opening period. David Schlemnko and Antoine Vermette had assists. Vermette extended his career-high point streak to seven games.

Ribeiro’s goal came just after Pittsburgh killed a penalty.

After Pittsburgh’s prolific power play failed to score, Phoenix made it 2-0 on Michalek’s slap shot past Fleury with 9:50 left in the second. Oliver Ekman-Larsson and Ribeiro got the assists.

The Penguins made it one-goal game when Malkin scored his 16th of the season, from the right side of the net off a pass from James Neal.

Jussi Jokinen also got an assist on the goal.

 

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