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LeNeveu sparks slumping Coyotes to third win in 11 games

Oct 27, 2006 - 4:46 AM GLENDALE, Arizona (Ticker) -- Phoenix Coyotes coach Wayne Gretzky made a goaltending change, which seemed to spark his offense.

David LeNeveu made 32 saves in his season debut and the Coyotes received goals from six different players to snap a four-game losing streak with a 6-2 victory over the Edmonton Oilers.

Having dropped eight of its previous nine games, Phoenix entered by allowing a league-high 44 goals and scoring just 19. However, the Coyotes tied their season high in goals to avenge Monday's 5-2 defeat in Edmonton.

"We were an organization pretty much at a low point so we had to get back to basics," Gretzky said. "I was really proud of the fact that we did much more puck handling, less time defending and chasing the puck, and we took fewer penalties."

The 23-year-old LeNeveu, who was 3-8-2 in 15 games with Phoenix last season, was recalled from San Antonio of the American Hockey League earlier Thursday. He twice stopped Ales Hemsky on first-period breakaways before Ferando Pisani tied the score for Edmonton.

"I didn't put any pressure on myself," LeNeveu said. "Why put pressure on yourself when you don't need to? I just came in with all the confidence and tried to play my game and give the team a chance."

"Two things happened tonight," Gretzky said. "David made a couple of really good saves at the beginning of the game. That seemed to give our guys on the bench a sigh of relief. Then getting the goal that gave us a 1-0 lead you could feel a sense of relief."

Phoenix took the lead for good on a power play with 8:53 remaining in the opening period with Ladislav Nagy's wrister from the right faceoff circle that found the top-right corner of the net past goaltender Jussi Markannen.

"When you watch him play, you know he has more to offer and the last three games, he has turned his game to another level," Gretzky said about Nagy, who had not scored since the season opener against the New York Islanders. "When you are an elite player in the league, your team counts on him every night and we count on him every single night."

Roughly 3 1/2 minutes later, Oleg Saprykin netted his first of the season on a rebound of Patrick Fischer's quick shot from the right faceoff circle for a 3-1 advantage.

After helping the Oilers reach the Stanley Cup final last spring, Georges Laraque scored his first goal with the Coyotes at 2:56 of the second session, which prompted Edmonton to replace Markannen with Dwayne Roloson.

"They got the first one pretty early and it went from there," Markannen said. "They got a couple of lucky bounces but the first one, I would like to have back. It was one of those nights where you don't do the basics good and the bounces weren't on your side either."

"We just got off to a bad start," Oilers coach Craig MacTavish said. "We took some penalties and couldn't kill them. Everything gets so fanatic when get we get behind. We need to learn to start from a foundation and play good, responsible hockey. Keep them at three goals instead of letting them get to six."

Owen Nolan added his third goal in the second period, Donald MacLean netted his first in the third session of his season debut and Mike Comrie collected three assists for Phoenix.

"That was long overdue," Nolan said. "We finally put together a decent game on the ice. We have been struggling the last couple of weeks, so hopefully this is the start of something good. We really needed it.

"I don't even know if we had gotten the first goal this year. It seems like we are always behind."

Petr Sykora scored his seventh goal on a power play at 3:39 of the third period for the Oilers, who have dropped four of five road games.

"We are playing stupid," Edmonton center Shawn Horcoff said. "We are turning the puck over in all the zones on offense which resulted in easy offense for them. We were successful last year for a reason. We kept it simple. ... This year, we have gotten away from that."






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