PHOENIX (AP) -- David Tanabe didn't take long to make his mark
The 23-year-old defenseman, acquired June 21 in a trade with
Carolina, put a backhander past Chris Osgood with 21.5 seconds left
in overtime as the Coyotes beat the St. Louis Blues 2-1 Friday
night in the opener for both.
"I can't breathe," said Tanabe, who was pummeled by teammates
after netting the 16th goal of his four-year career. "I think I've
got a headache from getting hit in the head so much, but it's a
great way to get our first win, and that's the biggest thing -- to
Osgood was screened on the play.
"I didn't know where the guy shot it from," Osgood said. "It
was on the side of the boards, just came right across, and a bunch
of guys just came right in front of me. I felt it nick me; I didn't
Coach Bob Francis said his team practiced since finishing the
exhibition schedule 2-4-0-1.
"We addressed and corrected some issues from the last few
exhibition games," Francis said. "In order for us to be
successful, that's the way we're going to have to play."
Keith Tkachuk scored the St. Louis goal on a trademark
short-range shot from the crease.
The Coyotes' young group of defensemen -- all under 25 --
acquitted themselves well against the powerful Blues, helping
Phoenix kill six of seven St. Louis power plays, including one that
began with 3:01 left in regulation.
"We hustled, beat them to loose pucks, and we limited (Al)
MacInnis and (Chris) Pronger at the point," Burke said. "That's a
big part of their power play when those guys are shooting it."
Burke, who said going in the best way to dispel persistent trade
speculation was to prove invaluable to the team, was unyielding
until Cale Hulse was whistled for roughing Eric Nickulas, setting
up the Blue's third power play of the second period.
Tkachuk tied it at 1 when he bunted the puck netward with 4:25
left in the period after Pavol Demitra's shot glanced to him off
Burke and the crossbar.
"It was an ugly goal," Tkachuk said. "I just tried to get a
piece of it, and fortunately it was counted."
The Coyotes, who were 22nd on the power play last season, scored
on the first of four advantages when Langkow deflected Shane Doan's
slap shot past Osgood's left arm 8:43 into the game.
"They crash the net hard," Blues coach Joel Quenneville said.
"Osgood kept his composure in that regard; he stood his ground and
made some key saves."
Phoenix got another chance 26 seconds later when Tkachuk, the
Coyotes' captain until his acrimonious trade to St. Louis in March
2001, threw an elbow to Krys Kolanos' jaw. But the Coyotes couldn't
Kolanos missed the first 80 games last season because of a
concussion, and the incident triggered a series of attempts to
retaliate. Two resulted in Blues power plays, one after Chris
Gratton's interference move that leveled Tkachuk at the end of the
Burke rejected the Blues' only shot of the power play -- a
slapper by MacInnis -- 55 seconds into the second.
"He gives us such a chance to win every night, and that's what
we need," Doan said. "Tonight he was the better goalie on the
ice, and when you have that you always have a chance."
Osgood made 19 saves.
The Coyotes were 14-6-2 in Burke's starts during his
injury-plagued 2002-03 season. ... Blues RW Dallas Drake sat out
the first of two games he will miss because of a broken cheekbone.
LW SCott Mellanby (ribs) also was scratched for an injury, and D
Jeff Finley was a healthy scratch. ... The game was Hulse's 499th.
... Tkachuk has 399 points. ... The Coyotes allowed an NHL-high 77
power-play goals last season.