EDMONTON – Every time the Edmonton Oilers made a game of it Tuesday night, the Phoenix Coyotes had an answer.
Shane Doan scored a pair of goals, including the overtime winner, as the Coyotes got past the Oilers 5-4. After Edmonton stormed back with two goals 49 seconds apart before the mid-mark of the third to tie it 4-4, Doan scored just 1:37 into overtime on the power play to win it.
“One of their (defencemen) lost his stick up high and that made it a 4-on-2 and really let me creep in,” said Doan. “Where I took that pass, I was on the ladies’ tee when I hit that one. I was just trying to hit the net and it found a hole.”
Radim Vrbata, Martin Hanzal and Petr Prucha also scored for the Coyotes (26-14-4), who snapped a five-game losing streak in Edmonton.
Gilbert Brule, Patrick O’Sullivan, Denis Grebeshkov and Dustin Penner replied for the Oilers (16-22-5), who have lost three in a row and 10 of their last 11.
“It’s one of those nights that we probably should have had a better result,” said Oilers head coach Pat Quinn. “We had four bizarre goals against us tonight. That one in overtime was a tough one. The back referee calls it from 100 feet away in a battle for the puck.”
Oilers assistant captain Sheldon Souray said his team has to take some solace from their ability to fight back.
“We’ll take the positives out of it, we came back, we got a point,” he said. “It’s a good way to get a little momentum, even though we lost the game we’ll take a little of the momentum we gained in the third period and roll with it.”
The Coyotes drew first blood 12 minutes in as a flubbed faceoff outside the Edmonton blue-line led to a breakaway for Vrbata. He made the most of it, tucking the puck between the pads of Oilers starter Jeff Deslauriers.
The Coyotes went up 2-0 seven minutes into the second as Deslauriers allowed a big rebound on a Vernon Fiddler shot and Doan was there to backhand his 11th into a wide-open net.
Edmonton made it a one-goal game again four minutes later on the power play, as Brule crept in from the sideboards and wired a shot past Coyotes goalie Ilya Bryzgalov.
The Oilers evened it up again just over two minutes later as Ryan Potulny made a long cross-ice pass to send in O’Sullivan who fought off Adrian Aucoin, lifting a backhand shot over Bryzgalov’s shoulder.
But Phoenix regained the lead just 1:02 later as Deslauriers casually allowed a dump-in to come out to Hanzal without an Oiler defender in sight. Hanzal whacked the puck in to make it 3-2.
The Coyotes restored their two-goal advantage with just over two minutes left on another Edmonton mental mistake. Robert Nilsson coughed up the puck in his own zone to Vrbata, who fed it across for a quick shot from Prucha that made it 4-2 after 40 minutes.
It looked like Phoenix had gone up by three six minutes into the third but an Aucoin goal was waived off due to goaltender interference.
“The ref made that call immediately, it’s not like he questioned the call,” Doan said. “He said (Ed Jovanovski) had backed in the crease or something. It was a tough one to swallow. At least it ended up working out in the end for us.”
Phoenix head coach Dave Tippett couldn’t believe the goal was disallowed.
“They told me that Jovo was in the crease, but from what I saw, that wasn’t the case, so I’ll leave it at that,” he said. “It is frustrating, but our guys hung in there. We made our point with the referees, thought it was not a very good call, made our point and let it be, then got back to playing hockey.”
It turned out to be a key moment as the Oilers would storm back to tie the game up again with goals just 49 seconds apart.
Sam Gagner stole a puck from behind the Phoenix net and fed it to a pinching Grebeshkov to make it 4-3. The Oilers then evened it up less than a minute later as a Shawn Horcoff shot rebounded into the air and was pushed home by Penner for his 20th of the season, sending the game to overtime.
Both teams play next on Thursday as the Oilers play host to Columbus and the Coyotes travel to Vancouver.
Notes: It was the second of four meetings between the teams. … The Oilers had planned on taking a golfing trip to Palm Springs during a four-day break this weekend but with their poor position in the standings, opted to cancel it and hold a mini-camp. …The injury-riddled Oilers finally had a player return to the lineup as veteran forward Fernando Pisani returned to play just his seventh game of the season. Pisani has been out since Nov. 15, with a flare up of ulcerative colitis. …The Oilers were without defenceman and second leading scorer Lubomir Visnovsky, day-to-day with an ankle injury. … Quinn said during the afternoon that goaltender Nikolai Khabibulin, out since Nov. 21, is nearing an eight-week evaluative window and may require season-ending surgery if progress on his bad back is not seen soon. … Oiler defender Steve Staios had to be helped off the ice after blocking a shot late in the third and did not return. …The Coyotes were without leading goal-scorer Scottie Upshall, out with an upper-body injury. …Phoenix defenceman Jim Vandermeer, who has missed the past four games because of an upper-body injury himself, returned to the lineup. Also in was Fiddler, a pre-game question mark with a groin injury. …Both teams came into the game struggling on the power play. Phoenix was four for its last 35 and Edmonton was four for its last 34.