By Dave Vest | Anthony Perez GLENDALE --Radim Vrbata scored a shootout-winning goal to lift the Coyotes to a dramatic, come-from-behind 5-4 victory over the Detroit Red Wings on Saturday night in front of a sellout crowd at Jobing.com Arena.
Phoenix trailed 4-1 after two periods but rallied for a much-needed victory to end a five-game winless streak.
"I just think it was a belief system that at some point this is going to turn around," Coyotes Head Coach Dave Tippett said. "We had been getting some bad breaks against us, and I thought we played well in Los Angeles (on Thursday) and didn’t get the win. Coming out tonight we were going to try to do whatever we could to win. After the second period we didn’t feel like we should’ve been down 4-1. So you go out there and give your best effort and see what happens, and fortunately we got the points.”
With the win, the Coyotes (34-23-10) moved into fifth place in the congested Western Conference standings. They’re two points behind fourth-place Chicago and one point ahead of sixth-place Dallas.
Trailing 4-1, Mikkel Boedker started the third-period rally by scoring an unassisted goal at the 2:32 mark. The goal, Boedker's second of the season, shifted the momentum to the Coyotes, who were playing well but not being rewarded on the scoreboard.
The Coyotes cut the deficit to 4-3 at 14:34 when Ray Whitney took a pass from Kyle Turris - who scored a goal in the first period - and beat Red Wings goalie Jimmy Howard with a wrist shot.
Photo by Getty Images.
Then, with 1:57 left in regulation, Phoenix tied the score on a goal by Martin Hanzal not long after Hanzal served a penalty for boarding (see KEY MOMENT below).
After a scoreless overtime, Vrbata beat Howard with a backhanded shot in the second round of the shootout. None of the other five shooters scored. With the game on the line, Detroit's Todd Bertuzzi fired his shootout shot off a post and the Coyotes rushed the ice to celebrate what could be a season-saving triumph.
Coyotes goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov struggled early but picked up his 28th win. He made 22 saves, including eight in the third period and four in overtime. Howard stopped 32 of the 36 shots he faced in the losing effort for Detroit.
Drew Miller, Johan Franzen, Valtteri Flippula and Darren Helm scored goals for Detroit (39-19-8), which has lost three straight games.
Trailing 4-3, Coyotes center Martin Hanzal gathered the puck near the top of the crease after it hit him and dropped, and then swatted it past Red Wings goaltender Jimmy Howard. It was a clutch goal for Hanzal, whom many expected to miss the game because the lower-body injury that kept him from playing at Los Angeles on Thursday.
• Before the game, the Coyotes honored captain Shane Doan for recently moving into first place on the franchise's all-time games played list. Doan accomplished that feat on Feb. 23 in Tampa Bay when he played in his 1,099th game for the Coyotes/Winnipeg Jets. Teppo Numminen held the record (1,089) before Doan passed him. Doan marked the occasion with a solid game, highlighted by an assist and a game-high 10 hits.
• Defenseman Derek Morris suffered a lower-body injury in the second period and did not play in the third period. Morris is considered day-to-day.
• With a goal and assist, center Kyle Turris recorded his third multi-point game of the season.
• Winger Radim Vrbata is 5 for 8 in shootouts this season. No other Coyotes player has scored more than one shootout goal this season.
• The Coyotes' next game is Tuesday vs. Vancouver at Jobing.com Arena. The puck drops at 7 p.m. (Arizona time). The game can be seen on Fox Sports Arizona Plus and can be heard on XTRA Sports 910 (AM).
"This win, it’s very big, but I think as a whole team it was a good character win... It’s so tight (in the standings) that this one is going to go a long way, and this one was a good beginning to a final stretch. We know it’s a tough stretch laying in front of us here, but we’re ready for it."
"Nothing is better than when you get to send some of their fans home quiet. Obviously it’s disappointing when you’re down by three going into the third and their all getting louder and chirping in your own building, but to come back and give our fans something to say as they are walking out is pretty nice."
"I don’t know what happened. The momentum shifted there early in the (third) period and they took advantage... Maybe we were too comfortable. Needless to say, that shouldn’t happen, what happened out there, but that’s the game of hockey."
• Oct. 28, 2010: PHX 4, DET 2 • Nov. 8, 2010: DET 3, PHX 2 (OT)
• Oct. 16, 2010: DET 2, PHX 1 (OT) • March 5, 2011: PHX 5, DET 4 (SO)
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1 - 0 DET
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2 - 0 DET
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