The Phoenix Coyotes have been the beneficiaries of victories in games in which they were clearly outplayed. Unfortunately for them on Thursday, fate flipped the script.
Phoenix controlled much of the game and played the majority of the time in the Colorado Avalanche's zone. Despite outshooting Colorado 44-30 and a strong Corsi for percentage, late penalties and disallowed goals cost the Coyotes the game.
Colorado's 4-3 overtime victory was only the second loss on home ice for Phoenix this season, both in overtime, but they remained undefeated at home in regulation with a record of 9-0-2.
"I thought we did a lot of things very well in the game," Coach Dave Tippett said. "There's a lot of good things, but in a tight game mistakes matter."
One of the mistakes Tippett referred to was a slash by Keith Yandle late in overtime.
"When you put a team on the power play twice in overtime, that usually comes back to bite you, and it did," Tippett said.
After falling down 2-0 midway through the second period, the Coyotes cut Colorado's lead to one entering the third period. A one-goal deficit the Coyotes thought was erased after putting the puck in the net on two separate occasions, only to have them disallowed.
"Those are calls that sometimes go for you, sometimes go against you," Tippett said. He added that he was told the referee had lost sight of the puck and blew the whistle on the first disallowed goal but appeared frustrated about the second disallowed goal caused by incidental goaltender interference.
Phoenix rallied back despite the two disallowed goals to eventually tie the game, then take the lead late in the third period. The Coyotes could not close, however, allowing the tying goal with a little over three minutes remaining in regulation and the losing goal in the waning seconds of overtime.
"Anytime you lose it's disappointing. They way we lost hurts a little more," Michael Stone said.
The Coyotes controlled a scoreless first period where they had several quality chances but could not solve Semyon Varlamov. Phoenix put the puck on the net 15 times in the opening period despite a pair of anemic power plays.
Phoenix continued its recent trend of possessing the puck more to begin the game, a big reason why they haven't allowed a first period goal for the second consecutive game. It was a good start considering the team had four days off preceding Thursday's contest.
John Mitchell and the Avalanche showed the Coyotes how to take advantage of a power play early in the second period. Mitchell picked up the puck off a tied-up faceoff and passed the puck to P.A. Parenteau before getting it back and ripping the puck past Mike Smith. The entire power play time needed by Colorado -- six seconds.
After a lackluster offensive start for both teams that saw no even-strength goals (and the lone Colorado power play goal) in the first half of the game, things got weird. First, Andre Benoit slapped a puck off the crossbar that bounced off Smith's back and into the net to give the Avalanche a 2-0 lead. It was Benoit's first goal of the season on a pass that Ryan O'Reilly makes from his stomach.
Stone then cut Colorado's lead in half, scoring from just inside the center ice red line. Stone has scored in three consecutive games and leads all NHL defensemen with seven goals (tied with Erik Karlsson).
"That one had eyes," Stone said after crediting his strong golf swing from the team's charity tournament on Monday.
Phoenix believed they had tied the game two different times in the third period only to be disappointed as each goal was waived off. The first, referee's whistle had blown; the second was washed away by goalie interference.
Fans in attendance were none too pleased with the efforts of Thursday's officials as they rained chants of "ref you suck" down from the stands.
The Coyotes would eventually tie the game, however. After maintaining the puck in the Avalanche zone for what seemed like an eternity, Martin Hanzal tied the game with a wrist shot just under the bar and just inside the post.
Minutes later, the Coyotes went on the power play with a chance to take their first lead of the game. With seconds remaining, Antoine Vermette smacked a rebound into the open net to give Phoenix a 3-2 lead.
Colorado wouldn't quit despite giving up the multi-goal lead. Cody McLeod, with his back to Smith, faked a pass to the side of the net before shooting backhand to the other side. Smith played the pass and left the left side of the net wide open for the shot.
The Avalanche ended the third and started overtime on a power play courtesy of a charging penalty on Hanzal. A call Tippett did not agree with. "I think Hanz gets penalties because he's a great big guy...If that's a penalty, the game is going to be no hitting soon," Tippett said.
While the Coyotes killed that penalty off, that ill advised slash by Yandle after a neutral zone turnover, gave Colorado its second power play of overtime. O'Reilly took advantage, beating Smith to win the game for the Avs.
Phoenix took home a point but dropped to third in the Pacific Division with 32 points and a record of 14-4-4.
- Colorado's perspective
- Lauri Korpikoski missed the game with an upper-body injury. Zbynek Michalek was placed on IR earlier in the day.
- Colorado is now 14-0-0 when scoring first.
- Oliver Ekman-Larsson played in his 200th NHL game on Thursday.
- Attendance: 12,285
Our Three Stars of the Game
1. Andre Benoit: Three points (1-2-3) and an overall solid game for the defnesman.
2. Ryan O'Reilly: Game-winning OT goal.
3. Antoine Vermette: A goal and won 73 percent of his faceoffs.
The Coyotes cap off their three-game home stand against the Anaheim Ducks on Saturday night. Puck drop is scheduled for 6 p.m. and tailgating begins at 2 p.m. in Lot G.