SUN Hockey Pool

Oilers couldn't capitalize against Coyotes

DEREK VAN DIEST, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:18 AM ET

The Phoenix Coyotes nearly gave this one away.

They came in facing essentially an AHL roster, yet the Coyotes kept giving the Edmonton Oilers lifelines with a steady stream to the penalty box.

The visitors took 11 penalties in the contest, giving the Oilers nine power play opportunities in a 3-1 victory.

They also conceded a penalty shot after Keith Yandle hacked Andrew Cogliano on a breakaway. Ilya Bryzgalov went on to make the save as the Oilers centre tried to beat him through the pads.

“We came for two points and we were very fortunate to get two points tonight,” said Coyotes head coach Dave Tippett. “Bryzgalov was excellent and the rest of our group, not so much. We didn’t play very well as a group and that’s the bottom line. We took poor penalties at poor times and we just didn’t play very well.”

The Coyotes went into the game fifth in the Western Conference standings off a huge win in Calgary two nights earlier. And while a loss would not have cost them an immediate playoff spot, they could not afford to give away points to the Oilers, who were icing a short-handed lineup with seven players that had spent time with the AHL affiliate in Oklahoma City this year on the game roster.

The Oilers were also playing with two players making their NHL debuts and four who, a few weeks ago, were mainstays with the Oklahoma City Barons.

“We were fortunate that we got the points,” said Tippett. “But I’d rather play bad and get the points, then play well and not get the points. We’ll take the points and move on.”

Lee Stempniak, Ray Whitney and Radim Vrbata scored for the Coyotes in the victory where they were out-shot 36-17 in the contest.

Stempniak’s goal came late in the first, while Whitney scored in the second on a goal that was disputed and proved inconclusive upon video review. Vrbata added an insurance marker in the third period on the power play after Linus Omark was whistled for a questionable dive.

“It was one of those night where we weren’t disciplined enough, we gave them lots of opportunities and they played well,” said Coyotes captain Shane Doan. “Thank goodness that Bryzgalov was as good as he was.

“It’s hard to put your finger on what causes so many penalties, sometimes they come in bunches. But tonight it was bad, and we can’t afford to do that.”

derek.vandiest@sunmedia.ca

twitter.com/DerekVanDiest


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