What was once a joke is now starting to become an expectation. Adrian Aucoin has gone form the guy who the coaching staff just took a chance on in the shootout to the guy that's being sent out to win them now. He's not only 4 for 4 in the shootout, but each of those four have been the deciding goal each time. He's not doing anything fancy. He typically just skates in and blasts it from about the hash marks right past the opposing goaltender.
The Coyotes though were lucky to get the game to a point where they were going in the shootout though as this was a quick turn around for a team that played last night and lost an hour to daylight savings. They looked like a team that was tired for the majority of the game. Matthew Lombardi was able to find a goal in the second period getting a tip in off a Keith Yandle shot from the point. The puck just seemed to be pinballing all over but found it's way in. It was a bit of luck that the Coyotes needed with how asleep everyone seemed to be. Well, everyone except Jason LaBarbera. He was outstanding. He made a ton of big saves and really saved this game for the coyotes making 39 stops on 41 shots.
Business picked up in the third though as the team looked like they had finally woken up. They may have, but Atlanta was playing well and controlling play too. Maxim Afinegenov would tie things up less than a minute in with a shot just below the circle to make it 1-1 with a power play goal. The Coyotes scrambled a little bit to try and answer, and 10 minutes later they did. Lee Stempniak once again was the hero driving to the net on a Coyotes power play that has now scored in each of the last 2 games after being practically dead. "The Ninja" as people are now calling him :D, is now 6-1-7 and a +7 over his 5 games with the team. After another penalty on the Coyotes just minutes later though, the Thrashers' Nik Antropov tied things back up streaking toward the net and put it in practically the same way as Atlanta's previous goal over LaBarbera's blocker side.
Neither team could find a way to close things out in regulation or the extra 5 minutes which sent us to the shootout. Neither side could put the puck in the net in the first two rounds. Rich Peverley got one in by attacking the same blocker side on Jason LaBarbera that had been successful earlier. That put Radim Vrbata on the hot seat to get it to extra rounds which he did with a sick back handed move to lift it over Ondrej Pavelec. LaBarbera would stop Clarke MacArthur at the top of round four giving the Coyotes a chance to win it. Dave Tippett was ready to go home so shootout win specialist Adrian Aucoin went out there and worked his magic blasting is from the circle to beat Pavelec to end it and get the Coyotes back to the hotel for a rest.
The Coyotes will play the Tampa Bay Lightning on Tuesday in the third game of this Southeast division roadtrip.