Rangers 3, Coyotes 2
By Jerry Brown | NHL.com Correspondent
GLENDALE – For Brad Richards, the waiting was the hardest part.
But for the Coyotes, it was the result that was the toughest to swallow.
In one of the wildest finishes to an NHL game, Richards' whirling backhander glanced off Coyotes defenseman Keith Yandle's leg, found just enough air to get over goalie Mike Smith's pad and banked off the post and over the goal line with one-tenth of a second left in regulation, giving the New York Rangers a 3-2 win at Jobing.com Arena on Saturday night.
The game appeared headed to overtime when Rangers defenseman Ryan McDonagh beat Radim Vrbata to a puck in the corner and threw it backward blindly with less than two seconds left. Richards was in the right spot and whipped the puck toward the net – which glanced off the leg of Yandle and off the post as the horn sound sounded (see KEY MOMENT below).
The referees washed out the goal on the ice, but when reviewed in Toronto replays showed the puck fully crossed the goal line with one-tenth of a second left. That led to a delayed celebration by the Rangers, who had won only one of their last five trips to Arizona.
"I was at the mercy of everyone else. It's not a good feeling," Richards said. "I knew it was going to go upstairs and you have to wait. You just hope you get on the right side of it. Timing-wise, you don't win many games like that."
The goal capped a forgettable final period for Yandle, who fanned on a pass that Marian Gaborik turned into his 300th NHL goal to tie the game at 2-2 just 1:09 into the third period. Gaborik had two goals, his 16th and 17th of the season for New York, and now has 13 goals in his last 12 games against the Coyotes.
The Coyotes have now allowed 15 goals in the last two minutes of a period this season and seven in the final five minutes of regulation – but never this late.
"(It's) pretty frustrating when we've seen a number of them like that before," Coyotes Head Coach Dave Tippett said. "Mistakes keep piling up and you're giving away points like that. It's not good."
Phoenix had been a perfect 14-0-0 leading after two periods this season, but a 2-1 lead evaporated thanks to a goal that set the stage for what was to come for a team that is now 3-6 in December.
Yandle attempted to start a rush up ice, but fanned on a pass from behind his net. Gaborik was alone on the slot to collect the crawling giveaway and while Smith stopped his first shot, Gaborik still had time for a second whack to tie the game with No. 300.
The injury-plagued Rangers played without center Artem Ansimov due to the flu and lost defenseman Steve Eminger to an injury in the second period, leaving them with five blueliners the rest of the way. New York did get center Mike Rupp back after he missed 22 games due to arthroscopic right knee surgery.
|Photo by Norm Hall.
Lauri Korpikoski scored shorthanded in the final seconds of the first period and Cal O'Reilly scored his first goal as a Coyote in the final minute of the second for Phoenix.
Phoenix didn't get off to a good start. Just 19 seconds after Taylor Pyatt was sent off for hooking, Michael Del Zotto found Gaborik on the rush with a two-line pass. Gaborik split Phoenix defensemen Adrian Aucoin and Oliver Ekman-Larsson, skated in alone and beat Smith at 8:34. It was the 12th power-play goal allowed by Phoenix in the last eight games – after giving up only eight in the first 20 games.
But the Coyotes killed off a 5-on-3 power play with Shane Doan and Michal Rozsival in the box and went one-better with Raffi Torres serving a double-minor at the end the period. Boyd Gordon won a face-off to Korpikoski, who stickhandled around a sliding Ranger and beat Rangers goalie Martin Biron with a wrist shot at 19:51.
The 29th-ranked Phoenix power play, which had just three goals in their last 52 chances coming in, finally got a chance thanks to penalties to Ruslan Fedotenko and Anton Stralman of the Rangers just 1:09 apart. Just after Fedotenko left the box, Doan tried to bull his way to the net and set off a scrum in the slot. The puck squirted to O'Reilly, who was all alone at the right post and we swept in it the exposed net at 19:08 to give Phoenix their first lead.
► EDITOR'S NOTE: Dave Vest of phoenixcoyotes.com edited this story and compiled this recap.
With the score tied 2-2 late in the third period, Rangers forward Brad Richards scored the dramatic game-winning goal at 19:59.
"I think it hits the kid's skate and we get lucky," Rangers Head Coach John Tortorella said. "That one goal at the beginning of the period helped us get back in, and again we just tried to stay with it. I'm glad it went our way and we found a way to win a game."
► Click here
to watch the KEY MOMENT
• The Coyotes played minus backup goalie Jason LaBarbera
, who has left the team temporarily for "family issues," according to General Manager Don Maloney. Before the game, the Coyotes recalled Justin Pogge
from the American Hockey League to replace LaBarbera.
• What follows is the official ruling from the NHL on the game-winning goal: "At 19:59 of the third period in the Rangers/Coyotes game, video review conclusively determined that Brad Richards shot completely crossed the goal line with .1 seconds left on the clock. Good Goal Rangers.
• The Coyotes, who entered the game as the NHL's least penalized team, were called for seven minor penalties in the game - including five in the first period.
• Center Cal O'Reilly
scored his first goal since coming to the Coyotes in a trade with Nashville on Oct. 28. O'Reilly also won 3 of 4 face-offs. Phoenix won 40 of 59 draws overall.
• Center Boyd Gordon
notched an assist and two hits, and won 13 of 18 face-offs.
• Defenseman Michal Rozsival
played 18:17 and delivered three hits in his first game against his former team since being traded to Phoenix last season.
• The Coyotes scratched Paul Bissonnette
, Derek Morris
and David Rundblad.
• The Coyotes' next game is Tuesday vs. the Florida Panthers at BankAtlantic Center. The puck drops at 5:30 p.m. (Arizona time). The game can be heard on XTRA Sports 910 (AM).
||"I think we played alright but there’s really nothing to analyze about that loss. We stayed in there, we played pretty well and we let in two goals in the third. That’s pretty much it."
||"I have never been a part of something like that, (a loss) with 0.1 seconds. We didn’t think it was in (originally), but I think it actually was in, so that’s a tough one to lose."
||"There was a TV between the benches and on the TV it said 0.1 (seconds) was left when the puck was over. That’s not a good feeling. You have to wait, it’s not in your control, but it worked out."
|Three star selections