GLENDALE, AZ - FEBRUARY 18: Radim Vrbata #17 of the Phoenix Coyotes awaits a face off against the Dallas Stars during the NHL game at Jobing.com Arena on February 18, 2012 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Radim Vrbata didn't waste a lot of time in overtime tonight, just a bit over a minute before he potted his 10th GWG of the season to lift the Phoenix Coyotes over the Dallas Stars, 2-1. For the Coyotes it was their 7th win in their past 8 games. Mikkel Boedker was your other goal scorer, breaking a 21-game goal drought in the first period scoring on a 2-on-1 rush. Mike Smith and Kari Lehtonen were both spectacular in their respective nets and it was the type of battle that we've become plenty accustomed to watching these past few weeks.
For a team that is pushing for a playoff spot, the points are all the Coyotes are concerned with (even allowing Dallas that extra point), but it certainly wasn't as good an effort as we saw from the Coyotes against the Kings on Thursday. Getting points when you don't play your best game (or you are dealing with injuries) is important and the Desert Dogs found a way to get the job done tonight. Whether Martin Hanzal, Taylor Pyatt, Kyle Chipchura, Derek Morris or Rostislav Klesla is back for the next game remains to be seen, but the Coyotes just need to keep this roll going at all costs.
Lots more after the jump...Bullet Point Notes from the Game:
- Dallas Stars are without All Star Jamie Benn, defenseman Sheldon Souray and Toby Petersen; Coyotes scratch Derek Morris and Rostislav Klesla and Taylor Pyatt also is out.
- Mike Smith and Kari Lehtonen are in net.
- Smith with the first great save of the game as Michael Ryder was fed on a great pass by Mike Ribeiro, but he couldn't get it over Smith's glove.
- Coyotes will get the first power play of the game as Steve Ott goes to the box for slashing the stick out of Raffi Torres' hands.
- Martin Hanzal has 3 great opportunities early on the power play including one that ends up in the net, but well after referee Chris Rooney loses sight of the puck.
- Eric Nystrom gets a shorthanded breakaway that Keith Yandle does a good job coming back to take away the shot opportunity.
- Coyotes are bringing a ton of pressure and Lehtonen is standing on his head right now. Coyotes outshooting Stars 8-3 midway through the first.
- Another powerplay as Jake Dowell is called for a charge. Coyotes continue to bring good pressure and send people right across the goal mouth, but can't seem to cash one in.
- After the power play, Mikkel Boedker gets sprung and charges hard up the right wing, firing a puck off of Lehtonen and in. Lauri Korpikoski and Keith Yandle with the assists. 1-0 Coyotes!
- And on the ensuing shift, Mike Smith makes some great saves to hold off Dallas' charge.
- Kyle Chipchura is called for interference with 3:33 to go in the period. Dallas getting their first power play opportunity.
- Right at the end of the period, Hanzal takes a retaliatory penalty (cross checking) after getting goaded a bit by Ott.
- End of one period, Coyotes lead 1-0; shots are even at 13.
- 4-on-4 hockey to start this second period; should see some more open ice out there, wonder if Tippett will let guys like Boedker and Gilbert Brule get out there.
- A good shortened kill by the Coyotes and Smith makes another great save shortly thereafter - that rest is looking like a great idea by Tippett as he looks as sharp as I've ever seen him.
- Korpikoski shoots one right in Lehtonen's glove on a mini 2-on-1 set up by Shane Doan.
- Tom Wandell takes a puck right to the face as he is sliding over the blue line and there is a good bit of blood on the ice...he'll be getting a few stitches.
- Stars look like they may have knotted it up, but the refs immediately waive off the apparent goal as Adam Burish touched the puck with a high stick. Apparently this is a non-reviewable call, so the no goal call on the ice will stand.
- Chris Summers is going to the box midway through the second on an interference call - he stepped into the lane, but this is a pretty iffy call.
- And Michal Rozsival gets called for tripping just 40 seconds into the kill. A HUGE 5-on-3 upcoming for the Coyotes.
- Coyotes have a pretty great effort, but with 21 seconds remaining on the second penalty a shot from the point gets tipped into mid air and Ryder bats it in over Smith. Loui Eriksson and Ribeiro get the assists. Shutout streak over, tie game. 1-1.
- Dallas takes a too many men on the ice bench minor with about 5 minutes to play in the second. Coyotes back on the power play looking to regain the lead.
- Not a lot doing on the power play although a good point shot from Yandle is deflected by Korpikoski and it squirts just wide of the net off of Lehtonen.
- Torres gets the gate late in the second on a hooking penalty against Ribeiro. Coyotes kill the rest of the second period, but Dallas will have 1:42 of power play time to start the third.
- After two periods, it's all knotted up at 1; Coyotes lead in shots 22-21.
- Lots of Stars turnovers early in the third period, couple of good scoring chances, but most of the shots don't seem to be getting through to Lehtonen.
- Bad news for the Coyotes as it is announced that Hanzal has a lower body injury and is doubtful to return. He hasn't had a shift since the halfway mark of the second period.
- Now it's tons of pressure by the muckers and grinders for Dallas and the Coyotes just can't clear the zone. Not a lot of good shots getting through and the Coyotes survive as Doan clears it from just over the red line.
- With just under 9 minutes to play, the Coyotes are going to get a power play as Philip Larsen gets whistled for hooking.
- Coyotes can't really get much going or take advantage of Dallas' sloppiness in clearing the puck around.
- Tight game, and an awkward pass between Adrian Aucoin and Yandle almost leads to a great scoring chance for Dallas.
- Shane Doan gets through the neutral zone before being taken out from the side on a well executed hip check; good continuation of the play by Boedker, but Lehtonen snaps his mask off and play is stopped. 3 minutes left, still tied at 1.
- Coyotes put some decent pressure on late, but we are heading to OT tied at 1. Shots also are even at 31.
- It doesn't take long...Ray Whitney somehow finds Radim Vrbata all alone in the slot and he jukes Lehtonen out of his pants and lifts one up and over and in - Coyotes WIN! 2-1 (OT)
Five For Winning
1. Win in regulation. We don't want three point games against Western Conference teams, especially against a Pacific Division team, and especially against a team who has managed to beat them twice in a shoot out. Nyet
2. Score first and keep the lead. So far the Yotes are 2-0-2 against the Stars when they score first. Scoring first is definitely doing something for the Coyotes, so lets not change what is working. Coyotes took the lead early, but couldn't hold it after making too many trips to the penalty box.
3. Play off the home crowd. Since the Desert Dogs have yet to beat the Stars at home they really need to work to give something for the fans at home. The crowd was good, but it wasn't that loud in the arena - Stars fans also surprisingly loud from where I was sitting.
4. Strong Defense. There is a reason that Smith has back to back shutouts. Well 2 reasons: 1) he is very good and 2) the defense is really helping him out. Hopefully they can continue this streak against a team that has not had the best offense against the Yotes. Defense was spectacular throughout the night, coming back to break up some odd man rushes and generally keep people out of the slot.
5. Discipline. It was crazy the amount of penalties that were happening in the LA/Phoenix game on Thursday, but the Coyotes may not want to play that way again. Dallas only has 1 power play goal against Phoenix, lets keep it that way. Not sure the final number, but too many penalties for the Coyotes including that unfortunate 5-on-3 situation.
Our Three Best Players on the Ice
1. Mike Smith - he's on a roll; 30 more saves tonight
2. Mikkel Boedker - had a lot of jump all night and made a great play on the opening goal
3. Radim Vrbata - sets a career high of 28 goals with his OT winner which was a thing of beauty.
Comment of the Night
please don’t ever retire. We like it when Vrbata scores goals.
Sincerely, Coyotes fans everywhere.
Rematch against Los Angeles on Tuesday night from Glendale (Kings currently trail the Flames 1-0). I expect a similarly physical affair, even though the Coyotes are quickly becoming the walking wounded. Regardless of the outcome of the Kings game tonight, the Coyotes are solidly in 7th going into that one. For your cheering purposes tomorrow, the best results for the Coyotes are Winnipeg over Colorado, Nashville over Dallas, St. Louis over Chicago and Boston over Minnesota...just saying.