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Coyotes rally to beat Oilers 4-3 in shootout

by Robin Brownlee / NHL.com
EDMONTON -- The Phoenix Coyotes haven't lost their shootout magic.

The Coyotes, who won 14 of 20 shootouts a year ago on the way to the best season in franchise history, rallied from a 3-0 deficit to get to the tie-breaker, then got goals from Radim Vrbata, Lee Stempniak and Eric Belanger to beat Edmonton 4-3 on Friday night, extending the Oilers' losing streak to six games.

Rookies Jordan Eberle and Taylor Hall scored in the shootout for the Oilers, with Hall's goal in the fourth round giving the Oilers a chance to win. But Stempniak beat Devan Dubnyk with a backhander, and Belanger won it in the fifth round by faking a slap shot, cutting to his left and roofing a bad-angled shot after Dubnyk went down. Phoenix won its fifth in a row overall and its first shootout of the season after going 0-5 in overtime games this season.

The Coyotes capped their comeback from a three-goal deficit when Wojtek Wolski was left all alone in the slot to take Ray Whitney's passout and rifled a shot past Dubnyk.

"We felt the second half of the game, we took over the game," Belanger said. "We were good on the forecheck. It was a big goal late in the third period to tie the game up.

"We knew this is a young team. They're still learning and struggling a little bit. We knew down 3-0, the game wasn't over."

The Oilers, outscored 28-12 in the first period through their first 17 games, looked to be in trouble again when Andrew Cogliano was assessed a boarding major and game misconduct for a hit on Kyle Turris 10:02 into the game. Instead, they came out of the long penalty kill with a 1-0 lead when Ales Hemsky took a pass from Ryan Whitney, broke in alone and beat Ilya Bryzgalov at 12:41. Bryzgalov stopped Hemsky's first shot, but the puck bounced off the Oilers' forward and into the net.

When Shawn Horcoff banked a loose puck off Bryzgalov into the net in a goalmouth scramble with Edmonton on a power play to make it 2-0 four minutes into the second period, the Oilers had momentum. They didn't stop there.

Bryzgalov had to make point-blank saves on Ryan Whitney and Dustin Penner, both on plays set up by Hemsky, to keep the Coyotes close. Bryzgalov had no chance, though, on Penner's deflection of a Whitney pass to make it 3-0 at 11:59.

"We're not fooling ourselves thinking we played a good game tonight," said former Oiler Ray Whitney, who had 3 assists. "We didn't. We didn't have much compete in us in the first period."

It didn't take long for Phoenix to push back. When Korpikoski and Radim Vrbata, on a power play, put pucks behind Dubnyk 83 seconds apart to cut Edmonton's lead to 3-2, the Oilers were on their heels. The Coyotes carried the play the rest of the period and most of the third, outshooting Edmonton 12-5 in the final 20 minutes and finally getting even on Wolski's sixth-attacker goal.

"Tribute to the guys for hanging in there," Ray Whitney said. "We realize they (Oilers) are young and they're learning. I thought they played pretty well in the third period, for the most part."

Dubnyk, filling in for injured starter Nikolai Khabibulin, made 39 saves and almost got his team a win.

"I think if you watch that game from start to finish, guys played hard," Dubnyk said. "Guys were working hard. It was an exciting game and fun to be a part of. If we play like that, more often than not, we'll come out on the right end."

The Oilers went home with a point -- their first after being outscored 30-8 in their previous five games.

"If we play that way, we're going to give ourselves a chance to win most nights," Horcoff said. "Dubnyk played great for us in there. He gave us a chance to win. I thought he was real strong. It's too bad for him.

"A lot of the guys did a lot of the right things. When you're at the end of streaks like we're going through, you find ways to lose. More than anything, what we have to take from this is to make sure we're focused the same way to start all these games going forward."




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