By Dave Vest
GLENDALE -- The Coyotes won what some might call a laugher on Monday night at Jobing.com Arena, but there weren’t a lot of chuckles inside the dressing room after Phoenix’s 6-1 victory over Edmonton.
That’s because three forwards – Shane Doan, Vernon Fiddler and Joel Perrault – suffered upper-body injuries during the game and weren’t on the ice or the bench when it was over. After the game, Coyotes Head Coach Dave Tippett said he didn’t think any of the injuries were serious, but all three players will be re-evaluated on Tuesday before the team leaves on a two-game trip to Minnesota and Colorado. Doan, who has missed just two games the past two-plus seasons, told phoenixcoyotes.com that he doesn't think his injury is serious enough to keep him from making the trip to Minnesota on Tuesday.
Matthew Lombardi, playing left wing instead of center for the first time, notched two goals and three assists to lead Phoenix over the punchless Oilers, who have earned a league-low 42 points. Goalie Ilya Bryzgalov made 33 saves and came just 4:28 from earning his seventh shutout of the season.
“The big difference in the game really was Bryzgalov," Tippett said. "He kept us in the game early. Let's be honest. The score wasn't indicative of the game. Bryzgalov cleaned up a lot of messes and a couple of players played great for us. Lombardi and (Robert) Lang were both great for us and sometimes that's what it takes to win."
Lang, who centered a line with Lombardi and Doan on the wings, chipped in a goal and two assists.
The victory was Phoenix’s 36th of the season. That’s the same number of games the Coyotes (36-19-5) won all of last season.
Asked to comment on matching last year’s win total, Tippett said: "I wasn't here last year, so it's inconsequential to me... We need a lot more to get to where we want to get."
Dustin Penner scored his team-high 23rd goal for Edmonton (18-34-6).
Leading 1-0, Lombardi scored his goals in a span of 1:42 at the end of the first period and start of the second.
"I think we're proud of what we've done so far," Lombardi said, "but we really don't want to sit back and look at it like that. We've got a long ways to go here. We're trying to build something here and our goal is to make the playoffs."
With the game scoreless, Coyotes goalie Ilya Bryzgalov made several saves during a lengthy, five-on-three Oilers advantage in the first period. Edmonton's failure to score set the tone for the rest of the game.
• Forward Matthew Lombardi is the first Coyotes player to record five points in a game since Shane Doan did it on Dec. 30, 2006 vs. San Jose.
• Monday's game was the 500th NHL game for forward Radim Vrbata, who marked the occasion by scoring his team-high 19th goal of the season at 4:19 of the third period.
• Center Joel Perrault made his season debut with the Coyotes and played 7:22, delivered three hits and took two shots on goal. An upper-body injury limited his ice time.
• In a clash of non-heavyweights, forward Petr Prucha and Oilers forward Mike Comrie swapped a few punches in the third period.
• With a record of 36-19-5 through 60 games, the Coyotes have the most wins through the first 60 games of a season in franchise history. Their previous best was 32 wins in 60 games (1986-87 and 1999-00).
• Over the last seven games, Phoenix has killed off 19 of 20 shorthanded situations.
• The Coyotes scratched Anders Eriksson and Lauri Korpikoski. Edmonton scratched Sam Gagner and Zack Stortini.
"I think we knew coming in here we needed to get better offensively. We struggled those last three games and I think we just wanted to come out with some good energy and use our speed, and I think we did that."
"It’s one of those games where you come in relaxed... We’ve had a lot of close games and it’s just nice to have one like that."
"The goalie played well, you’ve got to give him some credit, but we got a lot of chances… We had our opportunities, they were there. We could’ve had four more goals."