After the shootout victory against the Edmonton Oilers on Friday night, Arizona Coyotes Head Coach Dave Tippett was asked about his team's win streak against the Oilers. He declined to discuss it as if to not want to jinx his team for future games.
See, the next game was today, so perhaps Tippett had something going for him.
First period bounce
For once, a bounce went the Coyotes' way when Radim Vrbata took a pass along the right boards and shot an extreme angled shot towards the goal mouth for his sixth goal of the season. He shot from just near the red line, and unfortunately for Edmonton's Kris Russell the puck bounced off his leg and into the net past Cam Talbot.
More from the Arizona Coyotes ->> Arizona Coyotes pull out shootout win over Edmonton Oilers
The goal was at 16:10 of the period, and gave the Coyotes the lead 1-0. The Oilers outshot Arizona 13-6, but the lead was in favor of the visiting team. It just goes to show you -- if you throw the puck near the net anything can happen.
With the Coyotes habit of dumping the puck into the offensive zone and chasing it, they are improving on their fore-checking to gather in the puck and attempt to shoot. The penalty killing has also improved, and in this initial period they killed off two minor penalties to keep the Oilers off the scoreboard.
Second period was scoreless
The Coyotes had two power play advantages in this middle stanza, but came up empty on both.
The Oilers had the pressure on Mike Smith by shooting 13 shots on goal to the Coyotes 10. The play was very even by both teams, similar to the second period on Friday night in Glendale when it went scoreless.
Third period was decisive
The game was deadlocked for quite a while until the Coyotes got another break when Anthony Duclair found Jamie McGinn wide open in the slot. Duclair's accurate pass was all McGinn needed to blast a wrist shot by Talbot for the lead at 16:16.
The Oilers again outshot their opponent, this time by a 16-7 margin. Mike Smith, who received the first star award after the game, was stellar in between the pipes. He stopped Connor McDavid on almost a blueprint play which McDavid made Friday night, but was ruled just a split second too late to be registered as a goal.
Smith's unbelievable record of 15-1-1 career record against the Oilers is quite amazing. His 41 saves paved the way for a win, the ninth of the year for his team. Smith is now 4-1-1 this season. His play in net will be pivotal if the Coyotes want to make it to the post-season.
Smith told Derek Van Diest / NHL.com "It's a team that we have had some success against, but I feel it is a little bit different of a team now than the one we have had so much success against in the past. It was definitely a challenging win for us."
The Coyotes play the tough San Jose Sharks at the shark-tank on Tuesday night before coming home for back-to-back games against the Los Angeles Kings on Thursday and the Columbus Blue Jackets on Saturday night.
The team needs just two victories to get to the .500 mark for the season. They have won three of their last four games, and may be starting to come into their own.