By Associated Press
EDMONTON -- After falling behind 2-0, the Coyotes made sure their head coach left Rexall Place with his 400th career victory on Sunday night.
Ray Whitney scored a goal in regulation and added the shootout winner as Dave Tippett reached a milestone in Phoenix's 3-2 win over the Edmonton Oilers.
Raffi Torres also scored for the Coyotes (36-26-11), who jumped Los Angeles, San Jose, and Colorado back into the seventh playoff spot in the Western Conference. Phoenix is also tied with Dallas at 83 points apiece, but the Stars have a game in hand thus remain atop the Pacific Division.
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"Every game matters so much for us right now," Coyotes defenseman Keith Yandle said. "If we had played loose and the way the Oilers wanted to play then we would have lost by a lot of goals. We fumbled it around a bit in the first period but I think we played our game more as the game wore on. We were able to work them down low and find a way to win."
Jordan Eberle and Ales Hemsky scored goals 33 seconds apart in the second period to give the Oilers (28-36-8) a 2-0 lead.
"We had a pretty good game plan," Oilers Head Coach Tom Renney said. "The first period was pretty vanilla but I thought in the second that we really put our shoulders in and did what we needed to do to get the lead. We needed to do more of that in the third. We just turned it into a track meet for whatever reason and ultimately paid the price."
There were few quality chances in the scoreless first period. Phoenix had 12 shots on Edmonton goalie Devan Dubnyk, while the Oilers had nine shots on Coyotes goalie Mike Smith.
The Oilers broke the scoreless deadlock at 6:53 of the second period when Ryan Jones picked off a pass by Oliver Ekman-Larsson in the Phoenix zone and dished it to a hard-charging Eberle for his 32nd goal of the season and 70th point.
Edmonton quickly made it a 2-0 game when Hemsky tipped a Jeff Petry shot and then chipped the rebound past Smith at 7:26.
|Photo by Getty Images.
Dubnyk kept the Coyotes off the board with a series of big saves to close out the second period and a breakaway stop on Lauri Korpikoski to start the third.
The Coyotes finally got one past Dubnyk at 7:58 of the third period when Whitney was able to send a puck off the post and in during a scramble in front of the Edmonton net.
Phoenix then tied the score with just 2:23 remaining as Torres beat Dubnyk up high with a quick snap spot to cap an odd-man rush.
"We were down and we knew we needed to fly some guys out of the zone to see if we could grab some advantage," Tippett said. "Torres is an interesting player. He finds those opportunities. He can play erratic in a good way and he can shoot the puck really well. He made a great shot. It was a huge goal for us."
The Coyotes were given a glorious chance to win the game in overtime as Yandle was awarded a penalty shot after being hooked on a breakaway by Shawn Horcoff, but Dubnyk was able to make the stop to send the game to the shootout.
► EDITOR'S NOTE: Dave Vest of phoenixcoyotes.com edited this story and compiled this recap.
• Head Coach Dave Tippett earned his 400th victory as an NHL head coach. Only one other NHL head coach - Detroit's Mike Babcock - has won more regular-season games than Tippett since Tippett became an NHL head coach in 2002-03. Babcock has won 415 games during that time. After the game, Tippett politely shrugged off the milestone. "I guess it's all right," Tippett said. "It will be nice to get to 500."
• The Coyotes swept a four-game season series from the Oilers for the first time in franchise history and now own a 10-2-0 record vs. Edmonton since Dave Tippett took over as head coach in 2009-10.
• Center Martin Hanzal
returned to the lineup after missing four games because of an upper-body injury suffered on March 8. Hanzal played 16:35, took three shots on goal and won 11 of 17 faceoffs.
• Forward Radim Vrbata
returned to the lineup after missing two games because of an illness but he played only 13:26 because he suffered an undisclosed injury.
• Forward Raffi Torres
has scored four goals in the past seven games - all in the third period.
• The Coyotes are 11-5-2 against the teams from the Northwest Division this season - Calgary, Colorado, Edmonton, Minnesota and Vancouver.
• Forward Taylor Pyatt
suffered an undisclosed injury in the second period and played only 6:21.
• Defenseman Keith Yandle
, who said he felt he cost the Coyotes Thursday's game at Calgary because of an early turnover, sent his teammates a message by fighting Oilers forward Lennart Petrell on his first shift of the game. "I wanted to come out tonight and get the team going and try to give us an extra boost," Yandle said when asked why he fought for the first time this season. Click here
to listen to Yandle discuss the fight and more.
• Left wing Ray Whitney
scored his 22nd goal of the season. It was the 993nd point of his NHL career.
• Goalie Mike Smith
made 36 saves and earned his 99th career NHL victory.
• The Coyotes played without defenseman Adrian Aucoin
, who suffered a lower-body injury in Wednesday's game at Vancouver. Phoenix also played minus center Kyle Chipchura
, who is on the injured reserve list.
• The Coyotes scratched Adrian Aucoin
, Paul Bissonnette
, Marc-Antoine pouliot
, Michael Stone
, and Chris Summers
• The Coyotes' next game is Tuesday vs. the Dallas Stars at American Airlines Center. The puck drops at 5 p.m. (Arizona time). The game can be seen on NBC Sports Network and can be heard on XTRA Sports 910 (AM).