Oilers come up dry, lose 6-1 in Phoenix
|Edmonton's Dustin Penner and Phoenix's Radim Vrbata battle for the puck Monday night at Jobing.com Arena. The Coyotes went on to win 6-1. (Photo courtesy of Getty Images)
Although Edmonton kept pace with Phoenix in shots throughout the game, the home team did a much better job of making theirs count. The Coyotes scored two goals in each period, and while Dustin Penner
ruined Ilya Bryzgalov's perfect game with a late Oilers marker, it wasn't enough to challenge for the win. As a result, the Coyotes trotted away with a 6-1 victory Monday night.
The Oilers and Coyotes eased themselves into the game, with both clubs totalling only three shots on net in the first five minutes. The home team then found some momentum and tested Jeff Deslauriers
with a few more shots, but the goalie drew an interference minor from Paul Bissonnette to give the visitors the opening powerplay.
In turn, the Oilers got a few pucks on Bryzgalov, and then a few more when Zbynek Michalek joined Bissonnette in the penalty box for 1:08. The powerplays enabled Edmonton to go up seven shots to four, but Bryzgalov limited the lead to the shot-clock.
Unfortunately, Deslauriers couldn't do the same at the period's midway point. With a crowd of players in front of him and an Oilers penalty pending, the goalie was fooled by Ed Jovanovski's slapshot from the point, giving Phoenix a 1-0 lead.
With exactly four minutes left on the clock, Adrian Aucoin gifted the Oilers their third powerplay, but his teammates smothered the man-advantage and prevented Edmonton from adding another attempt.
Phoenix followed up the penalty kill by skating in on Deslauriers and eventually doubling their lead. On a slick set-up from Shane Doan, Matthew Lombardi patiently skirted Deslauriers and tucked the puck under the crossbar to make it 2-0 heading into the third period.
Only 1:42 (plus intermission time) after his first goal, Lombardi added goal number two and point number three. From the left face-off circle, the Coyotes center slapped the puck past Deslauriers' glove for a 3-0 home lead.
Less than five minutes later, Phoenix made it 4-0. Like Jovanovski's first-period marker, defenceman James Vandermeer
capitalized on a screen and saw his shot fly into the net. With the primary assist, Lombardi made it four points on the game.
At the game's midway point, backchecking Dustin Penner
clipped Martin Hanzal with his stick, resulting in a double minor for high-sticking and Phoenix's first powerplay of the game. But while the Oilers struggled during five-on-five so far in the game, they excelled on the penalty kill and prevented the Coyotes from increasing their lead.
After 40 minutes, both teams were even at 22 shots but Phoenix held a dominant 4-0 lead.
The Oilers came out strong in the final frame, hitting 25 shots thanks to another powerplay, but Bryzgalov and his post kept the visitors off the board. As Robert Lang's hooking minor came to an end, Lombardi kept his team rolling by setting up Radim Vrbata for a partial breakaway and his team-leading 19th goal of the season.
After the goal, Edmonton's frustrations were funnelled through Jason Strudwick
, who picked a fight with Bissonnette in the Oilers zone. The slow brawl netted a few solid rights on both sides, and both players skated away with fighting majors.
The fight was a short distraction for the Oilers, but at 11:40 Lang brought them back to reality by surprising Deslauriers with a backhand to make it 6-0.
The fisticuffs weren't over, however, and Mike Comrie stepped up to take on Petr Prucha in the neutral zone. A coincidental hooking minor to Horcoff put the Coyotes on the powerplay after the fight, but the Oil stopped the bleeding for the two minutes.
nipped back with his 23rd goal of the season in the final five minutes, but it was too little, too late: The Oilers limped out of the desert with a 6-1 loss Monday night.
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