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Pittsburgh snaps 18-game winless streak

2/26/2004

GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) -- Andy Chiodo picked the perfect moment for
his first career win.

Chiodo made 28 saves and Ric Jackman scored with 3:12 left in
overtime as the Pittsburgh Penguins snapped an 18-game winless
streak with a 4-3 victory over Phoenix on Wednesday night.

"It's pretty exciting in light of how hard this team has worked
and suffered an unfortunate fate the last little while," said
Chiodo, who was recalled from the minors Feb. 17 and had lost his
two previous starts.

The Penguins rallied from a two-goal deficit in the Coyotes'
first game since making a coaching change.

Jackman redirected a shot by Dick Tarnstrom past goalie Brian Boucher and promptly was mobbed on the ice by his jubilant teammates.

"I almost messed it up," said Jackman, who had been positioned in the low
slot on the goal. "I was getting yelled at from the bench because
I was too low."

Ryan Malone and Aleksey Morozov scored second-period goals, the
latter coming with 26 seconds left in the period, and the Penguins
came back from a 3-1 deficit for their first win since Jan. 12 at
Philadelphia.

"We worked pretty hard considering we only had a couple of
chances," Malone said. "Our best chances came after good
defensive plays. That's where we need to make it happen. We know
we're not the most talented team."

The game was sloppy throughout, befitting a contest between two
teams with a combined two wins in their last 34 games. The teams
combined for multiple missed passes, some shaky goaltending and 11
minor penalties.

Pittsburgh twice found itself killing off a 5-on-3 power play, the second of which effectively became a three-man advantage when the Penguins' Mike Eastwood broke his stick and was left playing defense empty-handed for a dozen seconds. On another play, Josef Melichar bowled over Chiodo from behind, leaving the goalie scrambling as Phoenix played the puck behind the net.

The Penguins' rally spoiled the return of Phoenix interim coach
Rick Bowness, who took over the club after Bobby Francis was fired
Tuesday. Bowness previously coached the club for 28 games on an
interim basis in 1989 when the franchise was located in Winnipeg.

"One point is no way. It is unacceptable," said Phoenix's
Shane Doan.

Melichar also scored for the Penguins, who beat the Coyotes for
the first time since the team moved to Phoenix from Winnipeg before
the 1996-97 season, a span of seven games.

"We can all breathe now," Malone said. "We can smile. We
don't have to worry about anything."

Jan Hrdina scored a power-play goal and Cale Hulse and Mike Sillinger added goals for the Coyotes, 2-9-2-2 in their last 15.

Morozov tied the score with his ninth goal off a long rebound
after a two-on-one break. Malone had pulled the Penguins within
3-2 earlier in the second period, also scoring on a two-on-one
after a Coyotes breakdown.

"The two goals were obviously a major breakdown," Bowness
said. "When you cheat, you're going to get burned. It doesn't
matter who you play."

Melichar opened the scoring when he beat Boucher with a shot
flipped toward the net from outside the right faceoff circle.

Hrdina tied it when Chiodo was unable to control a rebound off
Paul Mara's shot.

Sillinger redirected Brad Ference's shot from the blue line to
give Phoenix a 2-1 lead. Hulse made it 3-1 in the second period on
a sharp wrist shot from between the circles.

"I definitely should have had that one," Chiodo said of
Hulse's goal. "It evened out. Boucher let in a bad one in the
first, and I let in that one. After that, it was important to try and
stay focused and not let that be a downfall in terms of
momentum."

Game notes
Although 18 straight losses has never been accomplished before in the NHL, it isn't counted as a league record because of an overtime loss Feb. 14 in St. Louis. ... LW Brian Savage, waived before the Coyotes' game Tuesday against Anaheim, cleared waivers and was back in uniform for Phoenix against the Penguins. ... Landon Wilson, traded to the Penguins from the Coyotes on Sunday, was in uniform but did not score. ... Pittsburgh last beat the Jets/Coyotes franchise on Feb. 16, 1996, winning 1-0 on a Jaromir Jagr goal.