Oct. 24, 2003
© The Arizona Republic
Earlier this week, Coyotes coach Bobby Francis said this about feisty left wing Tyson Nash: "Tyson has the ability to change the complexion of a game with every shift he takes."
Get used to hearing that, and seeing it, all season long.
Nash spent only four minutes on the ice in the first period Thursday night, but every one of his shifts brought potential game-changing elements for the Coyotes.
He bowled over puck carriers, had a golden scoring chance, and most importantly, made the Toronto Maple Leafs want to pull their hair out.
The Coyotes went on the power play five times in the opening 20 minutes and Nash was directly responsible for four of them, drawing penalty after penalty with his agitating play and refusal to retaliate.
The Coyotes' inability to take advantage of 10 minutes' worth of man-advantage time in the first period, as much as anything, was their downfall Thursday night.
Taking three penalties in the final 10 minutes didn't help.
"We kept going to the box again ...," Nash said, taking a break from lifting weights after the game. "You get so upset, you start yelling at the referees, but they're not going to give us a call when you're yelling at them."
The back-breaker, though, might have been failing to score on a two-minute, five-on-three situation late in the opening period, when Nash simultaneously provoked Mats Sundin into a slashing minor and Tie Domi into a roughing minor. The Coyotes, trailing 1-0 at the time, put seven shots on Toronto goalie Mikael Tellqvist, but fired only blanks.
"He's been playing great," Shane Doan said of Nash. "He's getting smacked in the face and doing whatever it takes draw penalties for our team and we've got to find a way to bury them."