NHL.com EDMONTON – The Coyotes, who won 14 of 20 shootouts a year ago on their way to the best season in franchise history, rallied from a 3-0 deficit, then got shootout goals from Radim Vrbata, Lee Stempniak and Eric Belanger to beat the Edmonton Oilers, 4-3, on Friday night at Rexall Place.
Rookies Jordan Eberle and Taylor Hall scored in the shootout for the Oilers, with Hall's goal in the fourth round giving the Oilers a chance to win. But Stempniak beat Devan Dubnyk with a backhander, and Belanger won it moments later (see KEY MOMENT below).
Phoenix (9-5-5) earned its fifth victory in a row and its first shootout win of the season.
Ray Whitney, who once was a stick boy for the Oilers in the 1980s, led the way by notching three primary assists.
The Coyotes capped their comeback from a three-goal deficit when Wojtek Wolski, left alone in the slot, rifled a pass from behind the net by Whitney past Dubnyk with 35 seconds left in regulation.
The Oilers, outscored 28-12 in the first period through their first 17 games, looked to be in trouble again when Andrew Cogliano was assessed a boarding major and game misconduct for a hit on Kyle Turris 10:02 into the game. Instead, they came out of the long penalty kill with a 1-0 lead when Ales Hemsky took a pass from Ryan Whitney, broke in alone and beat Ilya Bryzgalov at 12:41. Bryzgalov stopped Hemsky's first shot, but the puck bounced off the Oilers' forward and into the net.
Photo by Getty Images.
When Shawn Horcoff banked a loose puck off Bryzgalov into the net in a goalmouth scramble with Edmonton on a power play to make it 2-0 four minutes into the second period, the Oilers (4-10-4) had momentum. They didn't stop there.
Bryzgalov had to make point-blank saves on Ryan Whitney and Dustin Penner, both on plays set up by Hemsky, to keep the Coyotes close. Bryzgalov had no chance, though, on Penner's deflection of a Whitney pass to make it 3-0 at 11:59.
It didn't take long for Phoenix to push back. After Lauri Korpikoski and Vrbata, on a power play, put pucks behind Dubnyk 83 seconds apart to cut Edmonton's lead to 3-2, the Oilers were on their heels. The Coyotes carried the play the rest of the period and most of the third, outshooting Edmonton 12-5 in the final 20 minutes and finally getting even on Wolski's sixth-attacker goal.
EDITOR'S NOTE: Dave Vest of phoenixcoyotes.com contributed to this recap.
Coyotes center Eric Belanger won the game in the shootout by faking a slap shot, cutting to his left and roofing a bad-angled shot after Oilers goalie Devan Dubnyk went down.
Belanger entered the game 0 for 5 in NHL shootouts.
• The Coyotes again played without captain Shane Doan, who suffered a lower-body injury on Nov. 5. Doan is on the three-game trip with the team, and may play on Sunday at Vancouver.
• Center Kyle Turris suffered an upper-body injury in the first period and did not play in the second or third periods. Turris, who stayed in the game after being boarded by Andrew Cogliano, took a stick across the face by Theo Peckham out of sight of the referees.
• Forward Lauri Korpikoski, who played a season-high 28 shifts, scored a goal, was plus-2 and won six of nine faceoffs.
• Defenseman David Schlemko, an Edmonton native, assisted on Radim Vrbata's goal in the second period. It was Schlemko's first point of the 2010-11 season.