Three days after the struggling Vancouver Canucks ended their woes
with a visit to Edmonton, the Phoenix Coyotes got their game back on
track at the Oilers expense.
The Oilers made them work for it, rising from the ashes of a 4-0
deficit to make it 4-3 late with the goaltender pulled, but that's
where it ended — with the Coyotes hanging on for a 4-3 victory at
"Once the score got up 4-0, we made a couple of mistakes, we let
them back in the game and made it tight," said Coyotes coach Dave
Tippett. "I thought we played well for 30 minutes and for the next
30 minutes we hung on."
For dear life, as it turned out.
"We talked about after the first that they had the firepower to come
back in the game," said Coyotes right winger Radim Vrbata. "They
almost did. We have to learn from that. Even at 4-0 the game is not
over you have to play until the end."
The Coyotes were running through some rough waters before arriving
in Edmonton, having lost seven of 10 games (0-3-2 in their last
previous five road games), to fall out of a Western Conference
wildcard spot and into ninth place, five points out.
Then they dropped the puck. Three goals in four minutes late in the
first period and one more early in the second and, despite the third
period scare, everything is good again.
At least for Phoenix. For the Oilers, it was their sixth loss in a
row and 11th loss in the last 13 games. They remain last in the West
and 29th in the NHL at 15-32-6.
"It happens all too often that we have to be down before we put the
pressure on," said Edmonton winger Ryan Jones. "It seems like we put
ourselves in a position where we have nothing to lose and then we
start playing well.
"We have to come out like that right from the start, obviously."
The game got away from Edmonton in a big hurry, starting at 14:17 of
the opening period when Coyotes left winger Mikael Boedker,
streaking down the wing that Oilers defenceman Anton Belov was
supposed to be covering, put a wrist shot in off the far post.
Three minutes later, right winger Radim Vrbata put one in from the
uncontested slot on a power play, and a minute after that defenceman
Derek Morris took a couple of steps in from the blue line and put a
long over Oilers goalie Ilya Bryzgalov's shoulder.
Any thoughts of Edmonton cutting the lead to 3-1 and making a game
of it went out the window when the Oilers gassed a 43-second two-man
advantage (one shot) and gave up the 4-0 goal moments later when
center Mike Ribeiro scored for Phoenix.
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This, after the Oilers made a point of focusing on a good
"That was one of the things we talked about prior to the game,"
said left winger Matt Hendricks, who made it 4-1 late in the
second. "The way we finished hard (against Vancouver). We had a
lot of momentum with us and wanted to carry that into tonight
and we kind of fell flat on our face at the beginning of the
"It doesn't come down to Xs and Os ... it comes down to us
performing better and we didn't do that at the beginning of the
game and the result is us losing."
Edmonton made it somewhat interesting in the third when left
winger Ryan Jones scored 1:50 to make it 4-2, and set up a
dramatic final few minutes when center Ryan Nugent-Hopkins
closed it to 4-3 at 7:50, but they couldn't find the equalizer.
"They kept coming and we let them back into it," said Coyotes
captain Shane Doan, adding the Coyotes took their foot off the
gas when it was 4-0.
"Once we got the fourth one and then we kind of eased up. We
have to keep going, we can't afford to do that because they have
a good team that can score goals."
The Coyotes won all four meetings with the Oilers this season
and have won five straight and 10 of the last 12. They have also
won eight of their last nine in Edmonton.
NOTES: Phoenix C Antoine Vermette and D Keith Yandle now own the
third and fourth longest active ironman streaks in the NHL at
361 and 353 consecutive games. They each moved up a spot when
Henrik Sedin missed Tuesday's game in Edmonton to end is
679-game streak. ... C Martin Hanzal returned Friday after
missing two games with a lower body injury. ... Oilers LW Luke
Gazdic and D Nick Schultz were both healthy scratches Friday as
head coach Dallas Eakins begins rotating players in from the
press box to try and keep everyone somewhat active as they
approach the two-week Olympic break. ... Oilers RW Nail Yakupov
returned after missing two games with concussion symptoms. ...
Oilers D Andrew Ference left the game in the first period after
taking a head shot.
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