On the eve of his possible selection to the US Olympic hockey team, Keith Yandle made one final push to earn a roster spot.
Yandle's three points, including the game-winning goal in overtime, propelled the Phoenix Coyotes to a 4-3 victory over the Edmonton Oilers in front of a sold-out crowd, for the second game in a row, on New Year's Eve.
"It would mean everything," Yandle said about making the Olympic roster.
It's hard to imagine a better final impression than what the Boston native did on Tuesday.
"If there's a way to put a last minute push on, that's a great last minute push," coach Dave Tippett said. "I certainly think he deserves to be (in the Olympics)."
Tuesday's game marked the sixth consecutive game the Coyotes needed overtime to complete.
In relief, Thomas Greiss saved all 15 shots he faced en route to his fifth victory of the season. The German goaltender kept the team in the game after it looked like they would run away with it early on.
Keith Yandle opened the scoring midway through the first period. Yandle recovered a poor pass of his, that was blocked by Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, and spun around in the slot before wristing the puck past Bryzgalov high blocker.
Despite being quadrupled on the shot clock, the Oilers tied the score at 1 on their fifth shot. Taylor Hall pushed the puck into a pile in front of Mike Smith and Nugent-Hopkins swatted it in. Smith appeared to lose site of the puck in the pile.
The goal was Edmonton's first shot in more than 14 minutes.
Phoenix ended the first period with a 21-6 shot advantage but a tie score.
The Oilers picked up where they left off in the second period, taking the lead 25 seconds into the second period. David Perron scored his 17th of the season on a breakaway. Hall fed Perron in the middle of the ice between two Coyotes defensemen for his second assist of the night. Hall wasn't done.
Justin Schultz gave the Oilers a 3-1 lead off of Hall's third primary assist of the night.
Schultz's goal gave Smith an early exit as he was pulled in favor to Thomas Greiss. Smith stopped only seven of the first 10 shots before being pulled.
The Coyotes found some luck in the latter half of the second period. Tim Kennedy scored his second of the season on a bad angle shot that hit off the back of Bryzgalov's skate and just trickled over the goal line.
Phoenix entered the third period with an 18 shots advantage but trailing by one on the scoreboard.
Bryzgalov made a huge save on Yandle with 1:19 remaining in the game and Phoenix's goalie pulled. In the end, it was for naught as Mikkel Boedker tied the game nine seconds later. The puck found its way on to Boedker's stick in front of the net before passing to Yandle who passed it right back for the game-tying goal.
After being robbed at the end of regulation, Yandle exacted his revenge by scoring the overtime winner, on a break away, with 6.5 seconds remaining in OT.
The Coyotes finally won an overtime game after dropping four of their last five in the extra frame.
- Oilers perspective
- Two of the loudest ovations of the night came with the announcements of the opening of Tim Horton's and the score of the USA vs. Canada game in the World Junior Championship.
- Phoenix's 21-shot first period was the most in a period by the Yotes since they registered 20 on April 4.
- Perron's goal was his fourth in his last three games against the Coyotes.
- The Coyotes had 33 shots through two periods, the most at that point in the game this season.
- Attendance: 17,416
Our Three Stars of the Game
1. Keith Yandle: Two goals and an assist including the game-winner.
2. Taylor Hall: Three primary assists.
3. Thomas Greiss: Stopped all 15 shots in relief of Mike Smith.
The Coyotes will continue their six-game home stand on Thursday night against the Columbus Blue Jackets. Puck drop is scheduled for 7 p.m. as the Yotes look for their third consecutive sell out crowd.