Ten times, the Phoenix Coyotes went to a shootout seeking an extra point in the standings; more often than not, they failed.
Friday's 5-4 shootout loss to the Colorado Avalanche was Phoenix's sixth loss in 10 shootout tries, and its ninth overtime defeat of the season.
Coyotes Head Coach Dave Tippett has said time and time again and reiterated it after Friday's loss that if the team won a few more of these shootouts, they would be playing meaningful games to end the season.
The lack of meaningful games is not how Tippett would like any season to end. "I didn't like that whole game," Tippett said, "Even (in) an exhibition game you're evaluating players. Here, you're just playing."
With both teams eliminated from playoff contention, the game had a much looser feel than normal. Goals were aplenty for each team as having a shootout to decide the game was very apropos for the way the game played out.
The first period was a tale of two halves. The Coyotes scored on the first shot of the game in what was a near carbon copy of the opening goal against the San Jose Sharks. Kyle Chipchura found an open defenseman with the entire right side of the ice to work with. Michael Stone was the man on Wednesday; David Schlemko was the man this time as once again the Yotes were able to take the 1-0 lead. Antoine Vermette gave the Coyotes a 2-0 lead wristing a Keith Yandle pass behind a screened Jean-Sebastien Giguere.
Things were looking up for Phoenix with the early 2-0 lead but then came the second half of the opening period. Phoenix's lead was cut in half with a four-on-four goal by Stefan Elliott, his first of the season. The lead was gone shortly thereafter as P.A. Parenteau scored on the power play to erase the remainder of the Coyotes' lead. Exactly one minute later, the Avs took the lead after Patrick Bordeleau poked the puck past Mike Smith as he lay on the ice in the butterfly position.
Rob Klinkhammer tied the game late in the second period after his shot hit the stick of Colorado defenseman Greg Zanon, and into the net. It was an odd end to a power play that saw Michael Stone make a diving glove save to swat away a potential short-handed goal. A perfectly placed far-side wrist shot by Ryan O'Reilly, with 33.2 seconds remaining in the period, gave Colorado the lead with yet another power play goal.
Power play goals were coming fast and often as Vermette tied the game at four with the game's third consecutive power play goal. The goal was the only tally of the period sending fan appreciation night into extra time.
For the sixth time in 2013, the Desert Dogs were unable to pick up the extra point in the shootout. Coyotes shooters (Vrbata, Boedker) went 0-2 in the shootout while both of Colorado's shooters (Duchene, Parenteau) scored.
Paw Prints (Season Awards Edition)
- MVP: Oliver Ekman-Larsson
- 3 Star award: Mike Smith
- Leading scorer: Shane Doan
- Man of the Year: Paul Bissonnette
- Hardest working player: Boyd Gordon
- The fans in attendance sang the national anthem before the game.
- Attendance: 16,011
Five For Winning
1. Put On a Show. It's the final home game of the season, so it would be nice to go out with a bang...like a 7 goal outpouring or something. The game was definitely fun to watch as each team put on an offensive show.
2. Get a #1? Despite the general disappointment of the season, Mike Smith is actually tied for first in the league with 5 shutouts; adding a 6th for the top spot would be pretty sweet. Poor game for Smith, allowed four goals on 28 shots.
3. Who is the scoring leader? Shane Doan leads the team with 26 points, but Keith Yandle and Mikkel Boedker are right behind him with 25 each, Radim Vrbata has 24, and Oliver Ekman-Larsson has 23. Can Doan hold off the younger guys through the final two games? Doan was held pointless and Yandle recorded three assists of his own to take over the team lead in points.
4. Play For a Spot. Chris Conner, Alexandre Bolduc, and Rob Klinkhammer (maybe to a lesser degree) are each trying to show the management that they deserve to be here in the fall. Conner's been the most impressive recently, but whether they will be this year's Gilbert Brule remains to be seen. Klinkhammer scored a goal and Conner was solid. Both guys have a shot to make the roster next season, Klinkhammer more so than Connor.
5. Win. For the fans, just because. The Coyotes could not win and their fans will have to wait until October to see another Coyotes victory.
Our Three Stars Of The Game
1. Keith Yandle: Three assists and a +1 on the night
2. Matt Duchene: Same as above, three assists and a +1.
3. Semyon Varlamov: May be controversial here but Varlamov came off the bench to play the final four minutes of regulation and all five overtime minutes with the game tied. He stopped both shootout attempts to earn his only road win of the season.
Michael Stone's short handed save
There is one more game left in the season for the Coyotes and it takes place Saturday night in Anaheim. While no playoff seeding will be at stake, final positioning in the Western Conference (10th or 11th) will be.