|Matthew Lombardi |
Lombardi scored the first goal of the game for Phoenix, and notched the shootout-winner in the eighth round to help defeat the Oilers, 3-2, in front of a sellout crowd.
It was another solid game for the Montreal native, who already has set a career high for points in a season (51) with three games left. Lombardi credits his teammates for a lot of that success.
“We’re having fun,” Lombardi said after Saturday’s victory. “…I’ve been given a great opportunity to play with great players all season, and I’m having fun out there, and I think the key thing about our team is that it’s not really the individuals, it’s really our team effort.”
Lombardi entered Saturday’s game just 1 for 9 in career shootouts, but Head Coach Dave Tippett used him in the eighth round after the first seven Coyotes failed to score.
“He was having a good night, we threw him in and he got a huge goal for us,” Tippett said. “He’s had a very good year; he’s a very steady player. When he’s at his best he plays with pace.”
Just before Lombardi took the ice for his shootout attempt, Coyotes forward Radim Vrbata
gave him some advice on how to beat Oilers goalie Jeff Deslauriers.
“He just said to move on your forehand, and bring it to your backhand,” Lombardi explained. “He figured that would work and it definitely did.”
Wojtek Wolski set up Lombardi’s first-period goal with a dazzling, no-look pass.
“I kind of hollered at him and he dragged their defenseman with him and made a great play to me,” Lombardi said. “And I got all the time in the world to find a shot, and I squeaked one through.”
Big games against Edmonton are nothing new for Lombardi, who entered this season with 20 points in 33 match-ups vs. the Oilers. In four games against Edmonton this season, Lombardi notched three goals and four assists.