By Dave Vest
GLENDALE – The Coyotes rallied to secure another point in the standings Saturday night in a bizarre game against the New York Islanders at Jobing.com Arena.
The Islanders won 5-4 in a shootout.
New York’s Matt Moulson decided the outcome when he wristed the puck past Coyotes goalie Jason LaBarbera in the sixth round of the shootout. Three of New York’s six shootout attempts got past LaBarbera. Phoenix went 2 for 6 against Islanders goalie Dwayne Roloson.
Momentum shifted many times throughout the match.
The Coyotes took a 1-0 lead three minutes into the game when defenseman Ed Jovanovski beat Roloson with a shot from in close 39 seconds into Phoenix’s first power play.
The Islanders, who played Friday night at Dallas, didn’t fold and scored twice late in the first period to take a 2-1 lead. Then, with 17 seconds left before the break, Jovanovski received a five-minute penalty for elbowing Islanders rookie John Tavares. Jovanovski also received a game misconduct penalty for the elbow and could face an NHL-imposed suspension.
New York’s power play carried over into the second period and lasted beyond five minutes because the Coyotes did not put a player in the penalty box for Jovanovski and play was not interrupted until Martin Hanzal was whistled for slashing at 7:35. Coyotes defenseman Adrian Aucoin joined Hanzal in the box at 9:02 for cross-checking, and Mark Streit scored a five-on-three goal four seconds later to give New York a 3-1 lead. Thirty-five seconds after Streit’s goal, the Islanders scored another power-play goal and Coyotes Head Coach Dave Tippett responded by replacing goalie Ilya Bryzgalov, who stopped 11 of 15 shots, with LaBarbera.
During the second intermission, Coyotes captain Shane Doan challenged teammates to regroup and make a game of it, which they did. Paul Bissonnette, Taylor Pyatt and Peter Mueller scored goals within a span of 3:43 in the final period to tie the score at 4, and LaBarbera stopped all seven shots he faced in the third period and overtime.
The Coyotes (26-15-5) opted to go first in the shootout. Center Robert Lang gave them a 1-0 lead by beating Roloson with a high wrist shot. Lauri Korpikoski also scored for Phoenix in the third round of the shootout. Frans Nielsen, Josh Bailey and Moulson netted shootout goals for New York (19-19-8).
“It’s hard enough to win in this game without making mistakes and we made some mistakes and myself included for not putting a guy in the box (to start the second period),” Tippett said. “I’ve never seen them go eight minutes without a whistle, but that’s funny how that goes sometimes… We put ourselves in a hole, but I like the way we dug ourselves out.”
Bailey, the ninth overall pick of the 2008 NHL Entry Draft, notched a goal, a shootout goal and two assists.
"He’s been playing really well and that’s why I chose him in the shootout," Islanders Head Coach Scott Gordon said. "Things are going well and I had a feeling that with the confidence he’s been playing with, that he’d cash in.”
Both teams scored goals in the first and third rounds of the shootout.
Coyotes captain Shane Doan started the sixth round by failing to get the puck past Islanders goalie Dwayne Roloson.
Islanders Head Coach Scott Gordon then sent Matt Moulson, who had just one unsuccessful shootout attempt on his resume, to center ice to take a turn. Moulson skated straight up the slot and wristed a shot over LaBarbera’s stick to end the game.
• Eleven Coyotes had at least one point in the game. Center Matthew Lombardi had two assists to bump his team-high total to 21.
• Peter Mueller's goal was his first goal since Nov. 5.