November 6, 2011
Coyotes snap Oilers winning streak
By Derek Van Diest, QMI Agency
PHOENIX - As it turns out, the moms weren’t able to bring the Edmonton Oilers luck in Arizona either.
Last season, the Oilers were beaten soundly by the Phoenix Coyotes at the Jobing.com Arena as a number of the players’ fathers had tagged along on the road trip.
It was one of the team’s worst performances of the season, which is saying a lot considering they finished last in the league standings.
Saturday, with the mothers in tow, the Oilers fell 4-2 to the Coyotes, bringing an end to their six-game winning streak.
Daymond Langkow, Adrian Aucoin, Boyd Gordon and Ray Whitney into an empty net, scored for the Coyotes, while goaltender Mike Smith turned away 24 shots to collect the victory in goal.
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Theo Peckham scored for the Oilers to make things interesting in the third period.
“We weren’t competitive enough to start the game,” said Oilers head coach Tom Renney. “We put ourselves behind the eight ball with all kinds of turnovers and allowed Phoenix, who can do this, to counter-attack and strike hard.
“We really had to muster a lot to get back in the game, which we did, but at the end of the day, they were a little more precise team than we were and we flirted with the puck too much which cost us the game.”
The Oilers had gone into the contest looking to win seven straight for the first time since March 2001.
However, it was the Coyotes that came out of the gate stronger, but were kept at bay Devan Dubnyk, who turned aside all 15 shots he faced in the opening period.
The Oilers goaltender had not played in over a week, but looked solid early.
Langkow opened the scoring in the second, lifting a backhand past Dubnyk, who had slid too far coming across his crease.
The Coyotes added to their lead later in the period through an Aucoin point shot.
There wasn’t much Dubnyk could do about the blast, except hope it would hit him as Taylor Pyatt was standing in front casting a large shadow in the crease.
“You’d like to think you’re always ready to play and I think we were, but we might not have been ready for what Phoenix threw at us,” said Renney. “They came at us like they should have and I think our defencemen didn’t react well to where the pucks were going and I think there was a huge disconnection between our defence and the forwards that were trying to advance the puck beyond that. We got ourselves into a bind and then tried to do too much by ourselves.
“It was great intentions, but the wrong approach.”
The Oilers made a game of it in the third as Nugent-Hopkins cut into the Coyotes lead near the midway point of the period, finishing off a play he started. The Oilers rookie collected the puck into his own zone, skated it into the Coyotes end, and then sent a centering pass to Ryan Smyth in front. Smyth was unable to convert it, but along with Jordan Eberle, created enough havoc in front, allowing Nugent-Hopkins to swoop in and chop the puck over Smith’s shoulder.
Gordon restored the Coyotes two-goal lead just over two minutes later picking up a rebound in front and lifting it over Dubnyk’s pad.
Peckham pulled the Oilers within a goal with just over six minutes left, finding himself in front of the net and tipping a Colten Teubert shot past Smith.
It was as close as the Oilers would get. Whitney iced the contest with an empty-net marker.
“I think after they got that third one, we needed to bounce back right away and I think we did that,” said Nugent-Hopkins. “We were able to get in a late push, but it was a little bit too late.
“It was all up to us, we should have came out harder and we let them dictate the play. We needed to put in a full 60-minute effort.”