Fans of a Dave Tippett coached team are not often treated to the type of offensive explosion seen in Saturday's matinee. The defensively-minded coach will take the two points earned by the Phoenix Coyotes in their 5-4 win over the Edmonton Oilers, but it's not the way he wants his team to play.
"Our game is not in very good shape," Tippett said. "I love scoring some goals, that's all great, but you can't give up four or five [goals] a night. That is a recipe for disaster."
The Coyotes have given up 11 goals in the past two games but have scored nine themselves.
"You can be a fun team, but if you're going to go out there and give away chances and give away four or five goals a night, you might be entertaining but you won't be winning," Tippett said. He added that his primary concern is long-term winning and even though his team came away with the victory on Saturday, their play is indicative of a team who will not have future success.
One area Tippett was happy with was his team's power play success. Phoenix went 2-for-6 with the man-advantage, scoring the game-tying and winning goals in the third period.
There were struggles in the back-end for the Coyotes but in the offensive zone, their defense thrived.
Phoenix defensemen were involved in all five Coyotes goals, scoring four of them. Michael Stone, David Schlemko, Keith Yandle and Oliver Ekman-Larsson combined to score the final four goals of the game for Phoenix.
Saturday's game also marked the return of a pair of Coyotes who left the team as free agents in the offseason. Both center Boyd Gordon and goaltender Jason LaBarbera started for Edmonton. Still friends with many in the Coyotes locker room, both sides had a little extra incentive to play well and get off to a good start.
Strong starts have not been a part of the Coyotes' repertoire this season. Saturday's start was no different as the Oilers controlled the flow of play throughout the first period en route to a 1-0 lead.
Tyler Pitlick scored his first career goal with a shot from the right half-boards. Pitlick settled down a bouncing puck after fanning on his first shot attempt. Smith never picked up the location of the puck as it slid right through his five-hole. The goal was Phoenix's 14th score allowed in the first period this season, third most in the NHL (behind Buffalo and Edmonton).
Phoenix came out strong to start the second period, tying the game just 47 seconds into the period. Martin Hanzal scored his fifth goal of the season after deflecting an Ekman-Larsson shot past LaBarbera.
It was the start of a Coyotes rally. A few minutes after Hanzal's goal, Phoenix scored two goals in the span of 27 seconds to take a 3-1 lead. Stone and Schlemko each scored with point-shots that found their way behind LaBarbera.
LaBarbera was pulled following the third Coyotes goal, but would return shortly after.
While it wasn't the third period yet, Phoenix continued their 2013 tradition of giving up multi-goal leads. Will Acton poked a rebound through Smith's pads to cut into Phoenix's lead. Edmonton would tie the game with a David Perron goal with less than a minute remaining in the second period. A failed pass in the offensive zone and an equally failed block in the defensive zone by Schlemko gave the Oilers all the room they needed to make two passes down low and beat Smith.
Edmonton scored its third consecutive goal to take a 4-3 lead after Ryan Jones deflected a Ryan Nugent-Hopkins shot.
The Yotes came back to tie the game with a Keith Yandle power play goal that rocketed past a screened LaBarbera. Yandle's power play prowess would ultimately give the Desert Dogs the victory.
Phoenix scored its second power play goal, in less than two minutes, to regain the lead. The second power play goal began with Yandle's diving stop at the blue line to keep the puck in the offensive zone. Ekman-Larsson scored his third goal of the season, the game-winning goal, seconds later.
"[I'm] a little bit of a short stop, I'd like to think," Yandle said.
- Coyotes are 22-15-5 since 2000 in afternoon home games.
- Devin Dubnyk replaced LaBarbera for 39 seconds and made one save.
- Tim Kennedy has three assists in five games this season.
- Phoenix leads the league with 17 second period goals.
- Jeff Halpern left the game with an upper-body injury (spasms).
- Attendance: 11,684.