Phoenix's Boyd Gordon collects a loose puck as he battles with Edmonton's Anton Lander & Ben Eager during second period action at Jobing.com Arena on Dec. 15, 2011 in Glendale, AZ. (Photo by Getty Images)
With the loss, the Oilers' record falls to 14-14-3 as the orange and blue remain in 10th spot in the West.
The Oilers' quick two-game road trip wraps up on Saturday night in San Jose. Game time is 8:00 p.m. MST and it can be seen on CBC's Hockey Night in Canada.
Taylor Hall made a triumphant return to the lineup, scoring a pair to give the Oilers a chance, but it wasn't enough as Shane Doan and Oliver Ekman-Larsson each scored in the third period in a span of 2:52 to down the Oilers 4-2 Thursday night in Glendale, AZ.
The Oilers got the game's best scoring chance 2:30 in when Ryan Jones located Eric Belanger with a heads-up seeing-eye pass through Keith Yandle's legs at the doorstep, but No. 20's cross-crease connection dribbled wide.
Goalies were scarcely challenged as the period's 10-minute mark came and went, with the home side registering six shots on Devan Dubnyk while the Oilers countered with only three on Phoenix's Mike Smith.
With 6:38 on the clock, the Coyotes pressed for the icebreaker, notching another three shots on Dubnyk within a hectic 10-second sequence, but the sophomore 'tender turned them all aside, losing his mask and stopping play in the process.
At 15:18, Phoenix's hard work paid dividends. Lauri Korpikoski scooted across the Oilers' line, snapping a shot but fanning on his attempt; the 25-year-old continued on, chasing his rebound into the low slot where he beat a charging Belanger to tap home his seventh goal of the season, putting the home side up 1-0 on his team's 12th shot.
A hooking minor to Ray Whitney (who was honoured prior to puck drop for reaching the 600-career assist milestone) put the Oilers' 19.8-percent power-play to work late in the stanza, but the orange and blue came up empty. As the period came to a close, the Coyotes continued to lead 1-0 and were in possession of a commanding 14-6 lead in shots.
In need of a spark, the Oilers' veterans provided one only 20 seconds into the period. Ryan Smyth broke in on a partial 2-on-1 with Belanger; and while the ex-Coyote got better wood on his attempt this time, Smith was up the task, making a dazzling save to preserve his team's one-goal advantage.
Smyth was later assessed a hooking minor at 3:54, putting the Coyotes on the PP. Phoenix's already dismal 11.6-percent success rate took a proverbial hit when Martin Hanzal picked up a boarding minor; he violenty crunched Theo Peckham in the numbers 1:10 into the power-play.
The penalty box doors kept swinging at 5:33 when Anton Lander was charged with holding, putting the Coyotes back to the man-advantage; an extended 4-on-3 chance, too, as the previous infractions were still on the clock.
That chance expired, but another came in an instant. Eric Belanger's delay of game minor put the Oilers down in a 4-on-3 situation once more at 7:02. Dubnyk was called upon to make another brilliant stop, this time when Shane Doan received a cross-crease dart, but No. 40 made a spectacular push to rob the 16-year veteran with his right pad.
Although much of the period had been spent on the PK, the Oilers had succombed to an even greater discrepancy on the shot clock, as Phoenix had climbed to an 18-8 advantage at the midway mark.
Boyd Gordon was assessed a slashing minor at 15:01, which put the Oilers' 0-for-1 power-play to work. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Jordan Eberle and Taylor Hall controlled the pace, orchestrating a beauty passing play to set up No. 4 for his eighth of the season; at the goal line, Hall made a subtle move to the slot, opening up Smith as he slid the puck through the goalie's wickets and into the cage to make it a 1-1 game.
With 1:07 on the clock, the Coyotes appeared to score the 2-1 goal, but it was ruled that Ray Whitney had interupted Dubnyk's ability to make the save; the Oilers did catch a break, mind you, as Corey Potter cross-checked the veteran into the crease and netminder.
Phoenix made amends 27 seconds later when Radim Vrbata pounced on a rebound at the hashmarks, depositing the go-ahead goal with a slick backhand shot over a diving Dubnyk.
With 40 minutes in the books, the Coyotes led 2-1 and were up 29-13 in shots.
The Oilers got a chance to equalize at 4:51 when Keith Yandle was assessed a boarding minor. Continuing his triumphant return to the lineup, Hall scored once again. Ryan Whitney spotted Ryan Smyth down near the crease, who made a splendid no-look pass to No. 4 on the wing. Hall released a bullet, cracking the gaping cage and making it a 2-2 game.
On the Coyotes' 34th shot at 11:45 and with Corey Potter and Sam Gagner sprawling in the crease, Shane Doan curled around Dubnyk and slid the puck along the ice and past the netminder to secure a 3-2 Phoenix lead.
The Coyotes didn't waste any time extending that advantage, too. With 5:24 on the clock, Oliver Ekman-Larsson broke down the near side and released a wrister on goal; normally a routine stop, Dubnyk had it squeak through his pads along the ice, putting the home side up 4-2 late in the game.
Dubnyk was pulled with a minute remaining, but the Oilers' last-ditch try came up empty as the Coyotes cruised to a 4-2 win.