Back-and-forth, back-and-forth, the heads of the Jobing.com Arena faithful swung as a hockey game between two poorly rated defensive teams lived up to the season rankings.
Six of the games' nine total goals came in a wild second period that saw five different goal scorers.
The Phoenix Coyotes ended their home losing streak after a pair of goals from Mikkel Boedker, a pair of goals from Rob Klinkhammer and a perfect penalty kill lifted them over the New York Islanders by a score of 6-3.
In the end, eight different Coyotes recorded a point including four multi-point scorers.
"We're doing it together - everyone is chipping in," said Mike Ribeiro, who scored the game-winning goal and had three points.
Coyotes Head Coach Dave Tippett characterized Thursday's game as a "good team win," adding that he liked the poise his team showed to come back from an early one-goal deficit.
Phoenix has now won two games in a row and extended their point streak to three. A big reason for the Coyotes' recent success has been their turnaround on the penalty kill. Phoenix has killed off six consecutive penalties, including three on Thursday.
The Coyotes spent this week in an unfamiliar position - out of a playoff spot for the first time since early October. Thursday's win puts the Coyotes fourth in the Pacific Division and seventh in the Western Conference.
Starts have not been the Coyotes' strong suit this season and it was apparent yet again early on. However, they rebounded from a shaky start that saw New York control possession for the first few minutes of the game, and began to take control. Or so they thought.
The Coyotes rallied from an unsuccessful power play while controlling the puck and piling up the shots. Mike Ribeiro had a golden opportunity to open the scoring, but couldn't get the puck to settle down for the easy tap-in goal.
As is often the case, early dominance didn't yield the Yotes a lead as the Islanders struck first. Eric Boulton deflected an Andrew MacDonald shot into the net mere inches from the goal line.
Phoenix continued to pressure and they equalized the score with Thomas Vanek in the box for slashing. Keith Yandle scored his fourth of the season on a point shot that appeared to glance off an Islanders defender. In the end, the Coyotes outshot the Islanders 17-6 in the first period.
The flood gates opened for the Coyotes in the second period as they put up three goals before the first TV timeout.
Klinkhammer opened the second period scoring when a cross-crease pass was deflected off the stick of Islanders defenseman Aaron Ness and into the net.
Not even an in-crease pile up and two New York defensemen sprawled on the goal line could prevent Phoenix from taking a two-goal lead. Boedker plotted his eighth of the season to give the Coyotes a 3-1 lead.
Ribeiro finally scored the goal he came oh so close to scoring on two separate occasions in the opening period. Klinkhammer created a turnover behind the Islanders net before centering the puck to a waiting Ribeiro who swatted it past Kevin Poulin.
New York pushed back, scoring a pair of goals to pull within one on a couple of fortuitous bounces. A John Tavares pass glanced off Zbynek Michalek and past Mike Smith. Shortly after, Kyle Okposo scored his 10th of the season by tipping the puck with the blade of his stick as he fell to the ice.
With just over a minute remaining in the high-scoring second period, Boedker scored his second of the night, wristing the puck top shelf, after creating a neutral zone turnover. It was his first two goals at home this season.
"It's nice to score on the road, but it's always good to come home and get some confidence," Boedker said.
Six goals were scored in an action-packed middle period.
Klinkhammer found the score sheet yet again with his second goal of the night to give the Desert Dogs a 6-3 lead. The 27-year-old skated into the Islanders zone on a two-on-one and waited until Poulin guessed pass and ripped a shot into the back of the net.
Their three-goal lead would hold as the Coyotes ended their three-game home losing streak.
- Islanders perspective
- Antoine Vermette's point streak was extended to five games.
- Connor Murphy picked up his first career assist on Klinkhammer's goal.
- For the second game in a row, the defensive pairing of Yandle and Murphy led all Coyotes in ice time.
- Attendance: 10,996
Our Three Stars of the Game
1. Rob Klinkhammer: Two goals and three points for the Colonel.
2. Mike Ribeiro: The puck found its way on Ribs' stick to the tune of three points and almost a couple more.
3. Mikkel Boedker: A pair of goals to break his home scoreless streak.
The Coyotes will stay in Arizona and host the Carolina Hurricanes on Saturday night. Puck drop is scheduled for 6 p.m.