SUN Hockey Pool

Sykora saves day

DEREK VAN DIEST, EDMONTON SUN

, Last Updated: 8:20 AM ET

PHOENIX -- The Edmonton Oilers had their chances.

Then they gave them back.

In the end, Petr Sykora rescued them.

Sykora scored the winner with 1:14 left in the third period to give the Oilers a 3-2 win over the Phoenix Coyotes.

The win snapped the Oilers two-game losing skid and vaulted the Oilers back into first place in the Northwest Division.

The Calgary Flames, who started the night in top spot had their game in Colorado cancelled due to a snowstorm.

After taking a 2-0 lead the Oilers let the Coyotes back in the contest by conceding a short-handed goal and then a power-play tally.

Both were hard to swallow for a team desperately struggling on the road.

Jarret Stoll opened the scoring short-handed in the first period, the beneficiary of a bad bounce behind the net which fooled Curtis Joseph.

The Coyotes goaltender went behind the net to play the puck behind the net where it took a strange bounce off the boards and bounced by Joseph.

Stoll got to the puck and tucked it into the net before the Coyotes goaltender was able to get back.

Marc-Andre Bergeron came close to opening the scoring when his backhand off the wing fooled Joseph and hit the inside of the post.

Toby Peterson rang a shot off the crossbar in the second period.

Later in the second, Ales Hemsky skated into the zone and with no one around to pass to, wired a shot over the shoulder of Joseph.

Owen Nolan cut the Oilers lead in half when he was first to a loose puck short handed, went in on a breakaway and beat Jussi Markkanen.

Following Nolan's goal, the Coyotes kept pressing but they could not find an equalizer before the end of the frame, due in part to good goaltending, poor shooting and bad luck.

The Oilers kept living life on the brink in the third period.

They gave the Coyotes a two-man advantage for 1:52 at the start of the frame when Matt Greene and Steve Staios where whistled for infractions eight seconds apart.

Yanic Perreault tied the game a minute later when he banked a centring pass off Jason Smith past Jussi Markkanen.

The Coyotes had control of the puck in the zone at the time because Shawn Horcoff was kicked out of the faceoff circle and Smith was forced to take the draw.

He didn't even come close to winning it against Perreault.

Joseph kept the Coyotes in the game, finishing with 28 saves on the night.

The last shot he faced beat him. Hemsky started the play as he slid the puck to Horcoff after gaining the zone.

Horcoff, who can't buy a break, or score a goal for that matter, made a nice play to drop the puck to Sykora.

The Oilers centre found a hole between Joseph's pads and the Oilers left town with the win.


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