By Dave Vest | Anthony Perez
The Coyotes closed a season-long six-game homestand on Friday night with a loss best described as a head-scratcher.
Ryan O’Reilly scored a late, game-tying goal and then the lone shootout goal to lead the Colorado Avalanche to a 4-3 victory over Phoenix at Jobing.com Arena.
With the shootout loss, the Coyotes earned their 96th point and remained in fourth place in the Western Conference standings.
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Looking for a season sweep of the lowly Avalanche, Phoenix spotted Colorado a 2-0 lead. But Lee Stempniak
scored a nifty, unassisted goal at 16:29 of the second period to spark a comeback by the Coyotes.
Phoenix made the score 2-2 at 2:46 of the third period when Ray Whitney
poked a rebound between the pads of Avalanche goalie Peter Budaj for his 16th goal of the season.
The Coyotes then took a 3-2 lead at 12:23 of the third period during a power play when captain Shane Doan
one-timed a pass from Whitney past Budaj from one knee atop the left faceoff circle.
But the Avalanche, which managed just one shot on goal in the final 20 minutes, somehow tied the score when a loose puck bounced onto O’Reilly’s stick (see KEY MOMENT
|Photo by Getty Images.
The Coyotes had a golden opportunity to retake the lead late in the game when Avalanche center Paul Stastny was called for tripping at 18:39 of the third period. But Phoenix failed to score on the power play, which spilled over into the overtime, and a second consecutive shootout in Glendale was needed.
, Radim Vrbata
and Whitney all failed to score on Budaj, in that order.
O’Reilly, shooting second for Colorado, beat Bryzgalov with a shot between the pads.
“We had chances to get two points,” Coyotes Head Coach Dave Tippett said. “Some nights you get them, some nights you don’t. I like the way we battled in the third period and got the lead.”
Budaj, who entered the game having lost six straight decisions, earned his 100th career win by stopping 35 of the 38 shots. Bryzgalov, who was trying to set the franchise record for all-time wins on his bobblehead night, stopped 17 of the 20 shots he faced.
Trailing 3-2, Colorado forward Ryan O'Reilly grabbed a loose puck in traffic and beat Coyotes goalie Ilya Bryzgalov
with a shot from the left side at 15:29 of the third period. It was Colorado's only shot of the third period.
"You look at that play and it was two-on-four and the puck bounces right to their guy," Coyotes Head Coach Dave Tippett said. "It was their only shot so I don't think you can overthink that too much. I hate giving up the lead, but at least we got ourselves in position to win."
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• The Coyotes are two points ahead of Los Angeles and Nashville, three ahead of Anaheim and four ahead of Chicago. But the Kings, Ducks and Blackhawks play twice and the Predators play once before Phoenix next plays on Wednesday in Los Angeles. Even ninth-place Dallas, at 87 points with six games left, plays three times before Wednesday.
• Colorado failed to score on any of their four power plays. In four games this season, Phoenix killed all 12 of Colorado's power plays.
• Despite missing 10 games, captain Shane Doan
leads the Coyotes with 19 goals.
• The Coyotes scratched Martin Hanzal
(lower-body injury), Lauri Korpikoski
(upper-body injury) and Taylor Pyatt
• The Coyotes' next game is Wednesday vs. Los Angeles at Staples Center. The puck drops at 7:30 p.m. (Arizona time). The game can be seen on Fox Sports Arizona and can be heard on XTRA Sports 910 (AM).