When three defensemen, two forwards and a goalie are on the list of scratches things may not be well. With Paul Bissonnette, Brandon Gormley, Derek Morris, Mike Ribeiro, David Schlemko and Mike Smith not even dressed, things may have looked a little grim; that didn't improve much when David Moss went to the locker room after a bad hit in the first period, but the Coyotes found a way to snag victory from the jaws of losing-a-two-goal-lead-itis in a game that will hopefully set the tone for the final eight games to come.
The Coyotes came out strong in the first as Kyle Chipchura scored what will possibly go down as one of the dirtiest goals of the season. In a flurry of action near the net the puck was everywhere, but somehow made it's way from Chris Summers to Lauri Korpikoski to Chipchura and finally behind Martin Brodeur.
It wasn't much later, that the Coyotes found themselves on the penalty kill as Summers went to the box for slashing New Jersey's Tuomo Ruutu. The PK looked pretty good, outside of a nasty bit in the last few seconds where the Devils nearly found a hole in the Yotes' defense, but still managed to not get a single shot off.
Most of the rest of the period was played in the Devils' zone as they fell prey to three consecutive penalties. Though the Coyote's power play looked good and managed five shots, they were unable to close the deal and ended the period up 1-0.
The second period was a good effort that ended in a strange way. Just over two minutes into the period, Korpikoski went to the box for hooking Adam Henrique. The Devils didn't score, despite some solid opportunities. However, the Coyotes gave them a second chance as Zbynek Michalek took a two minute break for tripping Henrique. Between the two penalties, New Jersey managed to get five shots on net but nothing broke through.
With the second period almost over the Coyotes had yet to pull further ahead, but then a slick pass from Chipchura to Summers, helped out by a screen from Brandon McMillan, slid through Brodeur's five-hole giving the Coyotes a 2-0 lead. Not to be undone, the Devils still had a trick up their sleeves.
With just seconds remaining in the period, a defensive breakdown led to a buzzer-beating goal from Ryane Clowe that slid past Greiss with just 0.2 seconds remaining, halving Phoenix's lead.
That goal set the tone for the third period. Cutting an opponent's lead in half is always a moral booster; doing it as you head to the locker room, even more so. The Devils came out hot and kept up the pressure. Oliver Ekman-Larsson losing two minutes for cross checking didn't help matters much either.
Though that PK was one of the best for the Coyotes with McMillan having a short handed breakaway opportunity, it also had a puck barely making its way through the crease into no-goal territory. But puck luck is a crazy thing, with Adam Henrique putting a wraparound in on Greiss and tying up the game halfway through the third.
Once again, another two-goal lead blown.
Henrique's goal gave the Devils' more momentum, but after 10 more minutes, the Coyotes held strong forcing the five-minute overtime. New Jersey kept trying, but Greiss and the Yotes' defense held on just long enough. The Devils managed three shots but it would be their three failed attempts in the shootout that would make the difference.
- David Moss played a few shifts after being hit by Eric Gelinas but ended up leaving the game with a lower-body injury.
- The New Jersey Devils are one of the better teams in the league on the power play yet went 0-for-4 against Thomas Greiss and the Coyotes defense.
- This is the Yotes' first game without a power play goal since the March 13 game against the Boston Bruins at TD Gardens.
- Michael Stone would be the fourth star of the game if such a thing existed. He tied Chris Summers for hits, he lead the team in blocked shots and was second to only Keith Yandle is ice time. With a goal or an assist this guy would have been golden.
- The Coyotes are now 23-9-4 when outshot by their opponent.
Our Three Stars
- Chris Summers-- Summers proved his case for first star with a goal, an assist and a team tying three hits. Sounds like somebody wants some more ice time.
- Thomas Greiss-- Having the backup in goal can sometimes be worrisome but when the backup makes 26 saves on 28 shots and stops every attempt on him in the shootout, he might just find himself in a starting job come unrestricted free agency at the end of this season.
- Kyle Chipchura-- He scored a goal, he made an assist, he lead the team in the circle. Chipchura may have had the least amount of time on the ice but he did his best with what he had.
Having beaten the New Jersey Devils, the Coyotes are now within one point of taking the first wild card spot which the Minnesota Wild currently hold. Puck drop is at 6 p.m. at Jobing.com Arena and can be seen on Fox Sports Arizona or heard on KMVP 860 AM.