Gagner, denied on a first-period breakaway and an overtime slap shot, scored a highlight-reel goal in the shootout to give the Edmonton Oilers a 3-2 comeback win against the Phoenix Coyotes on Saturday at Rexall Place.
Approaching with speed, Gagner quickly went forehand-backhand-forehand and finally got a puck past Smith.
"I had been using it in practice a lot and it had been working," Gagner said of his move. "I think I just said, 'Enough's enough, I've got to try it.' It's kind of all or nothing; I can easily lose that in the corner, so I'm glad it worked and it was able to help us get a win."
Gagner failed on a shorthanded breakaway against Smith with the Oilers trailing 1-0.
"It was on a penalty kill and I was kind of dead tired at the end of a shift," Gagner said. "He kind of fake poke-checked it and I tried to go five-hole, so it was kind of a different scenario."
Jordan Eberle scored in regulation and in the shootout for Edmonton, which rallied from a 2-0 deficit and ended a five-game homestand with a win after losing three of four. Phoenix had a two-game winning streak end.
"You get into a shootout and it may not look like much but it's a huge point," Eberle said. "With the standings how tight they are always, you need points, and those are the points you get."
Smith made 41 saves for the Coyotes, including a glove stop on Gagner during a 4-on-3 power play situation in overtime.
"We just kept giving them the puck back, and when you keep giving them the puck back they're going to do good things with it," Coyotes coach Dave Tippett said. "We had lots of try in our game but we just kept making mistakes that fed their transition going the other way.
"We'll take the point in the shootout, but that's a game I'd like to see our team lock down and put away."
Trailing 2-0 midway through the second period, the Oilers tied the game with 11:56 left in the third on a tap-in goal by Teemu Hartikainen.
A clearing attempt off the boards by Coyotes defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson did not get past Oilers defenseman Justin Schultz, whose shot from the point was deflected by Ryan Smyth across the crease to Hartikainen waiting at the left post for an easy finish. It was his first goal in 15 games this season.
"It felt pretty good," Hartikainen said. "It was a good bounce to my stick and I went top cheese. ... It was good position but a good bounce too."
Phoenix's Matthew Lombardi, who had not played since Jan. 24, missing 12 games with a shoulder injury, scored his first of the season to give the Coyotes a 2-0 lead in the second period.
The goal at 9:42 was the result of Lombardi going hard to the crease during a power play. Boedker's shot from the right-wing boards hit the far post and ricocheted off the left leg of Khabibulin. Lombardi skated in from the opposite side and was able to backhand the loose puck into the net.
"I was pretty surprised it didn't go in there ... it hit two posts," Lombardi told Fox Sports Arizona between periods. "I was just in the right place at the right time."
The goal snapped a 1-for-23 power-play slump for Phoenix, but it finished the game 1-for-7.
"It's disappointing," Coyotes captain Shane Doan said. "Any time you have a lead 2-0 you expect to win. And unfortunately we didn't. We had opportunities on the power play and we didn't capitalize on them. We have to be better."
Kyle Chipchura's hard work put the Coyotes ahead 1-0 early in the first period. He stole the puck behind the Edmonton net, skated out in front, turned and fired a shot past Khabibulin at 5:23.
Smith held the Oilers scoreless in the first, stopping shorthanded breakaways by Eric Belanger and Gagner. Smith got help in the second period when, after making a sprawling save, Keith Yandle had to bat a goal-bound puck away with his glove.
The Oilers finally broke through at 16:22 of the second period. Nail Yakupov won the race for a dump-in that hit off the end boards and his pass in front was tapped in by Eberle.
"To be down 2-0 was a real test of our mettle and a test of our makeup," Edmonton coach Ralph Krueger said.
Edmonton starts a nine-game, 17-day road trip on Monday in Chicago.
"We were very disappointed with the last few games and the importance and the magnitude of these points was clear," Krueger said. "… It's a compliment to the team to come back down 0-2 in a game of this magnitude. To persevere, to go on the road now with these points gives us some good energy here that we desperately needed."
Edmonton was without leading scorer Taylor Hall, who served the first of a two-game suspension he received for kneeing Cal Clutterbuck of the Minnesota Wild on Thursday.
Material from team media and wire services was used in this report
|Kyle Chipchura (2) ASST: Nick Johnson (2), Paul Bissonnette (1)|
1 - 0 PHX
|PPG - Matthew Lombardi (1) ASST: Mikkel Boedker (8), Lauri Korpikoski (4)|
2 - 0 PHX
|Jordan Eberle (6) ASST: Nail Yakupov (5), Sam Gagner (12)|
2 - 1 PHX
|PPG - Teemu Hartikainen (1) ASST: Ryan Smyth (4), Justin Schultz (5)|
2 - 2 Tie
|1||S. Gagner||M. Boedker|
|2||J. Eberle||D. Rundblad|
|Chris VandeVelde Holding against Antoine Vermette|
|David Moss Hooking against Ryan Nugent-Hopkins|
|Ben Eager Tripping against Steve Sullivan|
|Jeff Petry Interference against David Moss|
|Nick Schultz Hi stick - double minor against David Moss|
|Rostislav Klesla Tripping against Ryan Smyth|
|Ben Eager Slashing against Antoine Vermette|
|Eric Belanger Hooking against Mikkel Boedker|
|Keith Yandle Tripping against Ales Hemsky|
|Lauri Korpikoski Hooking against Ryan Nugent-Hopkins|