After several tough losses in a row, the Phoenix Coyotes needed to start the road trip off on the right note.
They did that and so much more tonight.
Phoenix scored first and never looked back as they put away the Edmonton Oilers 6-2 in Rexall Place in a game marked by timely scoring, solid execution, and much better fundamental play. Though they did not play perfect hockey, the Coyotes kept their foot on the gas and beat a team they were supposed to beat in regulation.
At last, the Desert Dogs remembered that they play better when scoring first. Mikkel Boedker put home a rebound on a power play shot by David Schlemko to give the Coyotes an early 1-0 lead. Unfortunately, Schlemko would end up factoring in on Edmonton's equalizer eight minutes later when his soft outlet pass was easily intercepted by Mark Arcobello, who promptly found a streaking David Perron to tie the game.
Going into the second, the Coyotes' major point producers came alive. Radim Vrbata capitalized on a beautiful cross-ice pass from Mike Ribeiro, and less than a minute later Shane Doan would get credited for a point shot off of Ribeiro's stick that somehow fluttered its way past Devan Dubnyk.
While Edmonton would score a late second period power play goal to make it 3-2, it was the Coyotes who seized the momentum in the third and delivered the knockout blow. David Moss and Shane Doan both battled for the puck behind the Edmonton net, and Doan would find Ribeiro as wide open in the slot as a player could possibly be for the fourth goal of the night.
Five minutes later, Keith Yandle joined in on the fun with one of the sickest goals the stalwart defenseman has ever tallied. He absolutely embarrased Jeff Petry on a deke and beat Dubnyk high for an unassisted goal that will stay on the highlight reels for a while. David Moss would round out the scoring with a terrific diving effort less than a minute later to make the game 6-2.
- Edmonton's Reaction
- Former Coyote Ilya Bryzgalov did not play after being injured in Edmonton's previous game against Dallas.
- This Sarah McLellan tweet should tell you everything you need to know about the Coyotes' offense tonight:
Five #Coyotes with multi-point efforts. Boedker (3), Ribeiro (3), Vrbata (2), Doan (2) and Moss (2).— Sarah McLellan (@azc_mclellan) December 4, 2013
- Mike Smith made 31 saves in a solid bounce-back effort, though he did not need to be lights out tonight.
- The Oilers' power play goal came on a too many men penalty by Phoenix, their second in the past two games.
- The Coyotes won the faceoff battle 36-28; Antoine Vermette and Martin Hanzal led the way going 17 for 23 (74%) and 12 for 18 (67%), respectively.
- Yandle's tally tonight was only his second on the season.
Our Three Stars of the Game
- 3rd Star - Keith Yandle. A big goal, and an overall solid performance from the oft-maligned defenseman
- 2nd Star - Radim Vrbata. Assisted on the first Coyotes' goal, and scored the second one.
- 1st Star - Mike Ribeiro. A goal and two assists on the night, Ribeiro has been a solid pickup for the Phoenix offense.
The Coyotes will have little time to celebrate their win, as they are right back in action tomorrow against the Calgary Flames. Check back here at Five For Howling throughout the day for coverage of tomorrow's action.