Edmonton Oilers vs. Phoenix Coyotes recap: missing point

Christian Petersen

The Edmonton Oilers defeated the Phoenix Coyotes 3-2 in a shootout on Friday night.

The Phoenix Coyotes needed two points.

A mere 40.4 seconds stood between the Coyotes and those two points, yet Phoenix ended the night with just one as goaltender Thomas Greiss fumbled the puck behind the net allowing the Edmonton Oilers to tie the score late in the third period.

The Coyotes never recovered, surviving the five-minute overtime period, but falling 1-0 in the shootout to lose 3-2.

"We let a point slip away," Kyle Chipchura said. "It's 40 seconds left and even before that they had a few prime opportunities. Greiss made some big saves, then an unfortunate mix-up, and we let a point slip away again."

Phoenix lost more than just one point, they lost a golden opportunity to beat up on a Western Conference cellar dweller in the midst of a playoff run.

The one point was good enough to re-take eighth place in the Western Conference from the Dallas Stars, but the Stars remain firmly in control of their destiny with two games in hand.

For a team in desperate need of points, the Coyotes sure did not open the game like a team fighting for their playoff lives.

The Coyotes sleepwalked through the first period and found themselves trailing after 20 minutes of play. Justin Schultz scored his 10th goal of the season after the puck deflected off Oliver Ekman-Larsson right in front of Greiss with 45 seconds remaining in the opening period.

"First period I thought our execution was poor, we just couldn't get a handle on anything, didn't pass the puck well and I think our intentions were good, we just couldn't get anything done and when you feel like you're chasing the whole time, you look tired or you look like a slow team. We looked like a slow team in the first period," coach Dave Tippett said.

Late period goals allowed have become an unfortunate staple of Phoenix's game the last two seasons and would crop up again 40 minutes later.

It took the Coyotes a while to get started, but they broke their 139:13 scoreless streak and tied the game. With Jeff Petry in the box for hooking, Ekman-Larsson waited patiently in the right faceoff circle with the puck until the right moment. When that moment came, OEL ripped the puck past Ben Scrivens high blocker for his 14th goal of the season.

Phoenix picked up energy in the aftermath of the tying goal and carried over that intensity into the third period.

Chipchura was moved up in the line-up after Martin Hanzal left the game with a lower-body injury and he took full advantage of that opportunity. Chipchura broke the tie and put the Coyotes in front 2-1 after slapping home an Ekman-Larsson rebound for his fifth goal of the season.

But, the Coyotes could not hang on as they seem to find new and creative ways to squander leads.

Solid forechecking by Jordan Eberle helped cause Greiss to mishandle the puck behind his net in the dying seconds of regulation. Eberle stole the puck and found Sam Gagner in front of the net for the game-tying goal, Gagner's 10th of the season.

"It was a bad bounce, I mean stuff happens," Ekman-Larsson said. "I feel bad for Greiss, but you can't do anything about it now and it was just a bad bounce."

Phoenix made little noise in overtime and needed a shootout for the second consecutive home game. Unfortunately for the Coyotes, the results were the same from Tuesday.

The late-game hero Gagner scored the only goal of the shootout cementing Edmonton's successful night of playing spoiler.

The Coyotes have a couple days off until they head out East for a two-game trip. The men in Sedona Red will be watching the Stars quite closely this weekend hoping they at least split their two games in hand.

"I'm sure they're down a little bit because when you lose a game like that you're pushing hard to win and the way we gave up the second goal that's demoralizing, but it's no time to hang your head now, it's like losing a game in overtime in the playoffs, you've got to get right back at it and that's where we're at," Tippett said.

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