GLENDALE, Ariz. - Phoenix Coyotes coach Dave Tippett joked that he thought about getting into his Halloween costume before his post-game press conference Thursday.
But there was no need for Tippett to play dress-up. His team, off to its best start in 13 years, is providing plenty of entertainment on its own.
The Coyotes continued their trend of digging out of early holes, rallying from a 3-0 first-period deficit to beat the Nashville Predators 5-4 when Mikkel Boedker scored the only goal of a five-round shootout. Phoenix is 6-0-1 at Jobing.com Arena and completed the third-best October in franchise history with a flair.
"That was a Jekyll and Hyde deal, wasn't it? It was perfect for tonight," said Tippett, who tied Bob Francis for the all-time franchise lead with his 165th victory - accomplishing the feat in 82 fewer games. "We weren't playing that bad, but the puck was going in our net and we were getting further behind.
"But we got back in it and we'll take the points."
Boedker raced in and lifted a backhander that beat Carter Hutton to start the fifth round of the tiebreaker. Phoenix goalie Thomas Greiss then ended the game by stopping David Legwand and the giving the Coyotes a sweep of their three-game homestand with wins against the Edmonton Oilers, Los Angeles Kings and Nashville.
In a battle of backup goalies, Greiss survived a shaky first period and finished with 36 saves in 65 minutes before going 5-for-5 in the shootout. Hutton, replacing injured starter Pekka Rinne, made 21 saves in regulation and stoppedMike Ribeiro,Radim Vrbata,Oliver Ekman-Larsson and David Rundblad in the shootout before Boedker scored.
Matt Hendricks , Eric Nystrom and Legwand scored in the first 18:24 of the game to give Nashville its first three-goal lead of the season. But the Coyotes continued an early season filled with rallies by digging out of another deep hole.
The Predators, in the opening game of a seven-game, 17-day road trip, lost the game -- and lost Hendricks to an upper-body injury in the second period.
"We just shot ourselves in the foot. It's just frustrating," Nystrom said. "Everything was preventable. Those can't happen. That's tough. We should have had two points in that game, 100 percent. We just let off the gas pedal, and a couple of broken plays end up in our net, and that's got to be the only time that happens this year."
"We talked after the first period about how we had to be better and we had to get one in the first 10 minutes," Morris said. "But when we got two we were right back in the game."
"We have a pretty good team, I'd put this one up with some of the better ones we've had if not the best," said Doan, who has three goals and four points in the past four games. "We're been playing with fire a lot and we have to play a style that is more conducive to our success, but it's nice to know we can score when we need to."
The Coyotes have been outscored 17-5 in the first period this season and after an active first eight minutes were dominated by a Nashville team that had scored just 23 goals in its first 12 games. Legwand had a goal and two assists in the first period as the Predators beat up on Greiss with the aid of some fortuitous bounces.
Nine minutes in, Hendricks got behind Rundblad and beat Greiss from the right faceoff dot with a wrist shot to the far post. Hendricks' first goal and point of the season was just the beginning for Nashville.
At 14:12 Patric Hornqvist's backhander into the slot hit Nystrom in the chest and deflected past Greiss. Nystrom's third goal put the Coyotes on their heels, and penalties to Ribeiro and Boedker 58 seconds apart gave Nashville another golden opportunity.
Greiss made a nice save on Mike Fisher, but Phoenix's penalty-killers missed two chances to clear the zone before Legwand's pass for Fisher hit Zbynek Michalek in front and deflected into the net with 1:36 left in the period for a three-goal lead.
Szwarz got Phoenix on the board at 2:21 when he took a snap pass from Michalek and let go a shot that hit defenseman Kevin Klein's stick before skidding under Hutton's glove.
"It's a great feeling. Getting one under my belt is awesome," Szwarz said. "The leaders in the room really stepped up after the first period and it was great to help get us started."
Then Morris, who knocked Hendricks out of the game with a shivering shoulder check, loaded up a bomb from the right circle that beat Hutton over the stick and under the crossbar at 9:51 to put Phoenix back in the game at 3-2.
Coyote defensemen registered a goal and six points Thursday. They have 12 goals and 41 points this season, tops in the NHL in both categories.
Phoenix kept the pressure on Hutton and the Predators for the rest of the second period but came up empty, and Nashville regained a two-goal lead early in the third with hard work in the slot. Gaustad outmuscled Lauri Korpikoski for a Nick Sapling rebound and stuffed it past Greiss to make it 4-2.
But the Coyotes, who now have 21 third-period goals, had another rally left in them.
With Cullen in the box for a faceoff violation, Keith Yandle made a leaping keep-in at the blue line and found Ribeiro with a quick pass. Ribeiro found Doan steaming up the slot and Doan roofed his 101st career power-play goal at 6:16 to make it 4-3.
Doan then caught Nashville on a bad line change and sent Vermette in with a pretty pass. Nashville's Ryan Ellis clipped Vermette from behind with his stick, but Vermette was able to put the puck between Hutton's pads and over the goal line before bowling over Hutton and at 8:17, Phoenix had come all the way back.
|Matt Hendricks (1) Wrist shot - ASST: David Legwand (7), Mattias Ekholm (2)|
1 - 0 NSH
|Eric Nystrom (3) Backhand shot - ASST: Patric Hornqvist (3), David Legwand (8)|
2 - 0 NSH
|PPG - David Legwand (2) Wrist shot - ASST: Seth Jones (4), Shea Weber (3)|
3 - 0 NSH
|Jordan Szwarz (1) Wrist shot - ASST: Zbynek Michalek (4), Oliver Ekman-Larsson (8)|
3 - 1 NSH
|Derek Morris (4) Slapshot - ASST: Keith Yandle (9), David Moss (5)|
3 - 2 NSH
|Paul Gaustad (2) Wrist shot - ASST: Nick Spaling (2)|
4 - 2 NSH
|PPG - Shane Doan (4) Wrist shot - ASST: Mike Ribeiro (5), Keith Yandle (10)|
4 - 3 NSH
|Antoine Vermette (4) Wrist shot - ASST: Shane Doan (4), Kyle Chipchura (2)|
4 - 4 Tie
|1||M. Ribeiro||C. Smith||0 - 0|
|2||R. Vrbata||M. Cullen||0 - 0|
|3||O. Ekman-Larsson||M. Fisher||0 - 0|
|4||D. Rundblad||G. Bourque||0 - 0|
|5||M. Boedker||D. Legwand||1 - 0|
|Mike Ribeiro Tripping against Roman Josi|
|Mikkel Boedker Illegal Check To Head against Ryan Ellis|
|Matt Cullen Delay Gm - Face-off Violation|
|David Legwand Holding against Zbynek Michalek|