Coyotes dodge Oil assault, trot away with two points
|Phoenix's Lee Stempniak and Edmonton's Tom Gilbert keep keen eyes on the puck Thursday, March 17 at Rexall Place. The Coyotes won the game 3-1. (Photo by Andy Devlin / Edmonton Oilers Hockey Club)
Despite out-shooting their opponents 36-17, the Oilers scored only one goal and surrendered three, resulting in a frustrating loss to the Coyotes Thursday night.
The Oilers registered the game's first shot and then benefited from the first two power-plays when Rostislav Klesla and Lee Stempniak took consecutive penalties. Edmonton crafted a 5-1 shot lead on the man-advantages but was unable to get one past Ilya Bryzgalov.
The Coyotes got a power-play of their own when Ryan Jones
was called for slashing near the 12-minute mark, only to watch Nikolai Khabibulin
match Bryzgalov's save-making performance.
Another power-play for each team added to the shot totals, but the opening goal stayed off the clock until both teams were back at even strength. Only 10 seconds after Alex Giroux completed a slashing minor, Stempniak fired a wrist-shot past Khabibulin to give the visitors a 1-0 lead heading into the second period.
Despite taking another two penalties early in the middle frame, the Coyotes managed to tie-up the shot clock. Shortly after he concluded his high-sticking minor, Ray Whitney powered to the net and forced the puck on Khabibulin. Officials ruled it crossed the line, and although video replay was inconclusive, the call on the ice stood and the Coyotes went up 2-0.
Edmonton's power-play continued to struggle and Phoenix's goaltending continued to excel, resulting in no scoring changes through the rest of the period. After 40 minutes, the Oilers held a 17-15 shot lead but were down 2-0.
Penalty box doors kept swinging early in the third, with the Oilers taking two infractions and the Coyotes one. Midway through Liam Reddox
's slashing minor (Edmonton's fourth consecutive slashing minor), Jones spotted Andrew Cogliano
on the left wing and sent him flying on a breakaway.
Before reaching the net, the speedy centre was tripped up by Keith Yandle, resulting in a penalty shot. Bryzgalov came up with another big save, however, and the Oilers were kept off the clock.
But the home team's scorelessness didn't last much longer: While on the power-play 2:19 later, Magnus Paajarvi
tucked a long-distance wrist-shot under Bryzgalov's crossbar to get his club back within one. With the second assist on the play, Teemu Hartikainen
picked up his first NHL point.
Later in the period, Linus Omark
took a diving minor and the Oilers went back on the penalty kill. Only 34 seconds into the infraction, Radim Vrbata ended the suspense by scoring the third visiting goal of the game.
Edmonton attained 30 shots with five minutes remaining in regulation; Phoenix, by comparison, had 17.
A late power-play (the Oilers' ninth of the game) and sixth skater helped the club more than double their opponents in attempts, but Bryzgalov rose to the challenge, resulting in a 3-1 loss for Edmonton.
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