Call them the Cardiac Coyotes, the say nay kids, or any other rhythmically pleasing phrase, this is for sure: the Phoenix Coyotes find a way to win. For the third time this season, the Coyotes found a way to win after being down multiple goals in the third period.
"We can't lose on bobblehead night," Goaltender Mike Smith joked, quoting Keith Yandle's intermission speech. Smith stopped 29 of 32 shots on the night 10,000 bobbleheads of his likeness were handed out.
Phoenix scored two goals in the final 3:26 of the game to send the game into overtime and won it by going 2-for-2 in the shootout. The Coyotes' 4-3 win in the shootout leaves the Yotes with 26 points and a record of 12-4-2, three points behind the first place Anaheim Ducks. They ended the night in second place in the Pacific Division and tied for second place in the Western Conference.
The path to the penalty box was well-beaten on Saturday night when the Coyotes hosted the Washington Capitals. The two teams combined to take 17 penalties including seven in the second period, a period where less than 11 minutes were played at 5-on-5. Eleven different players made the trek to the sin bin before the night was through. Coach Dave Tippett characterized the game as "really weird" adding, "(We'll) take the points and take Sunday off."
Phoenix's penalty woes appeared to doom the Coyotes from the start, as their early one-goal lead evaporated with one of their own sitting on the penalty bench. Washington's power play has been red hot as of late, scoring on 35 percent of its power plays in November, including two on Saturday. Despite the high volume of power play opportunities for Washington, Alexander Ovechkin was held relatively quiet in the game. Ovechkin finished the game with one secondary assist. Phoenix employed an anti-Ovechkin penalty kill for most of the game. A Coyote forward, typically Jeff Halpern, was assigned the task of preventing the Russian from getting the puck on the power play.
The Coyotes drew first blood with an early power play goal. Shane Doan corralled a rebound off a Yandle point shot, dragged it around a fallen Michal Neuvirth and into the open net. Minutes later, the Capitals were awarded a power play, but failed to score. Phoenix kept tabs on the dangerous Ovechkin, allowing only one shot attempt by the Great Eight on the Caps' power play. Kyle Chipchura and Aaron Volpatti dropped the mitts toward the end of the opening period. Each player exchanged a few haymakers and jersey tugs before Chipchura drove a now jersey-less Volpatti to the ice.
Washington tied the game with a power goal of their own 38 seconds into the second period. Troy Brouwer was left all alone at the Phoenix blueline before shooting a slap shot past Smith short-side. The Capitals would add another power play tally 3:10 later to take the 2-1 lead. John Carlson scored his third goal of the season on a point shot that weaved through traffic to beat Smith.
Things looked positive at first for the Coyotes when Brouwer received two penalties (one for illegal face-off win and the other for unsportsmanlike conduct) while Washington was already on the penalty kill. The Caps killed off the 5-on-3 but a too many men on the ice penalty was set to put the Yotes on a 5-on-3 for a full two minutes.
On his way to the bench, Smith played the puck on the far side of center ice which is illegal for goaltenders. Smith's penalty negated the 5-on-3 opportunity. Smith said he was unaware that rule existed. Phoenix was on some sort of man advantage for more than six minutes but could not score.
After failing to score on a plethora of power play chances, the Coyotes found themselves down two goals when Joel Ward wristed a puck from the side of the net past Smith for a 3-1 Capitals lead. Lauri Korpikoski cut the Capitals' lead in half late in the third period after swatting the puck past Neuvirth as he was falling down.
Washington took a delay of game penalty with 2:01 remaining in the third period to put Phoenix on a power play with a chance to tie the game. Doan made them pay with his second goal of the night that tied the game at three to send the game into overtime. The Coyotes would remain unbeaten in regulation at home for another game. "In the third period we started to skate, started to work," Tippett said.
A scoreless overtime send the game to a shootout, an event the Coyotes are very familiar with this season. Phoenix had to kill the first two minutes of overtime after Zbynek Michalek was called for a delay of game as regulation time expired for closing his hand over the puck."Our kill at the start of over time was a heck of a job," Tippett said. "(It) gave us a chance at the extra point." The Coyotes grabbed that extra point with shootout goals from Vermette and Mikkel Boedker. Both Capitals shooters failed to get a shot on net. It was a sweet ending to the night for Boedker who took three penalties in the game. "Boedker must have had wax in his ears or something," Tippett joked referring to his conversation with the team about limiting penalties.
- Capitals perspective
- Phoenix is now 8-0-1 on home ice this season.
- Derek Morris and Radim Vrbata missed the game with lower-body injuries.
- Jordan Szwarz took Vrbata's place in the top-six while David Schlemko took Morris' place in the line-up.
- Doan leads all Coyotes with eight goals.
- Attendance: 16,106
Our Three Stars of the Game
1. Shane Doan: Two goals including the game-tying goal in the final two minutes.
2. Keith Yandle: A pair of assists and was second on the team in ice time.
3. Penalty time keeper: Holy cow!
The Coyotes head out on the road for a two-game trip beginning in St. Louis on Tuesday. Puck drop is scheduled for 6 p.m.