Coyotes rally for Tippett's 400th win
Sunday, 03.18.2012 / 11:12 PM
made sure his coach left Edmonton's Rexall Place with his 400th career victory Sunday night.
Whitney scored in regulation and added the shootout winner as Dave Tippett reached a milestone in the Phoenix Coyotes
' 3-2 win against the Oilers.
also scored for the Coyotes, who leapt past Los Angeles, San Jose, and Colorado into the seventh playoff spot in the Western Conference. Phoenix is also tied with Dallas at 83 points apiece, but the Stars have a game in hand and remain atop the Pacific Division.
"Every game matters so much for us right now," Coyotes defenseman Keith Yandle
said. "If we had played loose and the way the Oilers wanted to play then we would have lost by a lot of goals. We fumbled it around a bit in the first period but I think we played our game more as the game wore on. We were able to work them down low and find a way to win."
and Ales Hemsky
replied for the Oilers (28-36-8), who had a two-game winning streak snapped.
"We had a pretty good game plan," Oilers coach Tom Renney said. "The first period was pretty vanilla but I thought in the second that we really put our shoulders in and do what we needed to do to get the lead. We needed to do more of that in the third. We just turned it into a track meet for whatever reason and ultimately paid the price."
One game after star forward Taylor Hall
was leveled by a hit that left him with a concussion, it looked like another young Oiler was about to join him on the shelf.
There were few quality chances in the scoreless first period. Phoenix had 12 shots on Edmonton starter Devan Dubnyk
, while the Oilers had nine shots on Coyotes goalie Mike Smith
The Oilers broke the scoreless deadlock seven minutes into the second period when Ryan Jones
picked off a pass by Oliver Ekman-Larsson
in the Phoenix zone and dished it to a hard-charging Eberle for his 32nd goal of the season and 70th point.
Edmonton then made it a 2-0 game just 34 seconds later as Hemsky tipped a Jeff Petry
shot and then chipped the rebound past Smith.
Dubnyk kept the Coyotes off the board with a series of big saves to close out the second period and a breakaway stop on Lauri Korpikoski
to start the third.
The Coyotes finally got one past Dubnyk eight minutes into the third period as Whitney was able to send a puck off the post and in during a scramble in front of the Edmonton net.
"You look at the way the game went and we weren't playing the way we needed to be," said Coyotes captain Shane Doan
. "They played really, well but we were just able to find a way. We're feeling a bit fortunate right now."
Phoenix then tied the game with just 2:23 remaining as they got away on an odd-man rush and Torres beat Dubnyk up high with a quick snap spot.
"It's very frustrating," Eberle said. "It seems to be the story of our season. A couple of mistakes and it costs us the game."
The Coyotes were given a glorious chance to win it in overtime as Yandle was awarded a penalty shot after being hooked on a breakaway by Shawn Horcoff
, but Dubnyk was able to make the stop to send the game to the shootout.
"We were down and we knew we needed to fly some guys out of the zone to see if we could grab some advantage," Tippett said. "Torres is an interesting player. He finds those opportunities. He can play erratic in a good way and he can shoot the puck really well. He made a great shot. It was a huge goal for us."
Material from wire services and team media was used in this report.