Welcome back, offense.
And hello Tobias Rieder, who scored two short-handed goals in 58 seconds to ignite the Arizona Coyotes past the struggling Edmonton Oilers for a 5-2 victory Monday night. The Coyotes snapped a three-game losing streak while subsequently handing the Oilers their tenth consecutive loss.
The first period started with much of the same unimpressive and uninspired play that has defined most of the Coyotes' season. Jordan Eberle abused Oliver Ekman-Larsson on the rebound to give the Oilers the 1-0 lead heading into the first intermission.
But hockey consists of three periods, and the Coyotes turned the heat up and didn't look back. The Coyotes started the second period on the penalty kill after a Shane Doan roughing call. It was there that Rieder made his mark. Thirty-six seconds into the period, Rieder forced a neutral zone turnover off of Taylor Hall and flew untouched for the tying goal. Fifty-eight seconds later in that same penalty kill, Rieder received the Martin Hanzal outlet pass and once again had space. This time, an Edmonton defender was there to contest it but it is not enough as Rieder scored as he was falling down.
From there, the momentum shift was clear. Later in the period, Oliver Ekman-Larsson beat Edmonton goaltender Viktor Fasth high stick-side with a slapshot from the point to make it 3-1, and Mikkel Boedker added another off a rebound. Fasth had a night to forget; he allowed five goals on 24 shots for a measly .792 save percentage.
On the other end, Mike Smith put forth a solid effort. With the offense scoring five goals, he didn't have to be Superman, but he did make some incredibly nice saves to earn his win. At the 11:49 mark in the second period, Nail Yakupov had a point blank look but Smith robbed him with a tremendous glove save, causing the young Russian to let out a sigh. Smith was 25 of 27 for a .926 save percentage.
Martin Erat scored a power play goal and Edmonton's Jeff Petry scored a slapshot through traffic early on to make it interesting, but the Coyotes would cruise from there to secure the victory.
It's a shame that Arizona can't play Edmonton every game of the season; the Coyotes have scored 14 goals in three contests against their Pacific Division rivals. But it should go without saying that this Oiler team has lost 10 straight for a reason and a win is all but expected against them. Even with all their flash and flair, this is still just not a very good hockey club.
But in the meantime, Arizona should feel great about a win and a young gun once again stealing the show.
- Edmonton's perspective: The Copper & Blue
- Scoreless streak ends at 132:59.
- Scratches: Klinkhammer, Shinnimin, Summers
- Shots on goal: 27-24 favoring Edmonton.
- Special teams: Arizona was 2-3 on the power play and 4-5 on the penalty kill (with the two shorties)
- Rieder shorty trivia! It is the second time in franchise history (first as the Coyotes) someone has scored two short-handed goals in a game. First time a rookie has done it. The last time in the NHL a rookie accomplished the feat: Ryan O'Reilly in 2010.
- Under Dave Tippett, the Coyotes are 10-1-1 against the Edmonton Oilers.
- Erat's goal ends a 12-game goalless streak.
- Early on in the game, Connor Murphy was forced to leave due to injury. He didn't return, forcing Arizona to use a five-man defenseman rotation for the rest of the game.
- Boedker continues his dominance of the Oilers. He has eight goals in his last eight games against the Oilers, and 13 points in that span.
- Rieder actually came up through the Edmonton system. Arizona acquired him via a trade for tough-man Kale Kessy.
- Tobias Rieder - Two shorties in the same shift. The clear catalyst for the Coyotes explosion
- Mikkel Boedker - Goal and assist
- Mike Smith - Gets his first win in seven starts. He definitely earned it, though, with some flashy saves strewn throughout