The slumping Phoenix Coyotes were saved by their third string goalie who shutout the Nashville Predators in just his seventh National Hockey League game. Coyotes' goalie Chad Johnson stopped all 21-shots from the visiting Predators and Phoenix shutdown Nashville 4-0.
"It was an easy game, and I had a lot of help. I wanted to help the team win and the opportunity was there tonight," Johnson said in a post game report. "I wasn't nervous, but I didn't know what to expect because it's been awhile since I've been in NHL action. Getting my feet wet in the first period was important.”
Johnson was originally drafted in fifth round, 125th overall, of the 2009 NHL Entry Draft by the Pittsburgh Penguins. He opted to attend the University of Alaska and the Penguins traded him to the New York Rangers in 2009 for a fifth round draft pick.
In six-games with the Rangers he posted a 1-2-1 record, with a .911 save percentage and a 2.59 goals against average. The Coyotes signed Johnson to a one-year contract last summer and he made his Coyotes debut last night. Phoenix is short on goalies because of health issues and lackluster play in the cage.
Starting goalie Mike Smith recently sustained a lower body injury and is listed as day to day. Backup goaltender Jason LaBarbera was benched due to his recent dismal goal keeping duties. In his two starts, replacing the injured Smith, LaBarbera gave up eight-goals and the Coyotes lost both contests.
Johnson was given an early cushion as Antoine Vermette put a wrist shot in the net within three-minutes of the first period. Vermette's third goal of the season was assisted by Nick Johnson and Keith Yandle.
In the second period the Coyotes extended their lead to 2-0 on Lauri Korpikoski's third goal of the season. In the third period Nick Johnson and Keith Yandle each scored a goal to ice the Coyotes' 4-0 win.
Chad Johnson wasn't the only recent Coyotes' call up to make an impact. Forward Nick Johnson was called up from the Portland Pirates, the Coyotes' American Hockey League affiliate, last week and scored his first goal of the season and also dished out an assist against the Predators.
The Coyotes' 4-0 victory ended their two-game losing streak and improved their record 2-4-0. The Coyotes' 2012-13 saga continues on Wednesday, January 30 when they host the Edmonton Oilers at Jobing.com Arena. The puck is scheduled to drop at 7:30 p.m. (MT)