If playing against the Edmonton Oilers wasn't enough of a confidence booster for the Arizona Coyotes, then they are completely without fortune this season. The Yotes have been enjoying a 23 game point streak (19-0-4) against the Oilers, but this year's Edmonton club is enjoying a 12-8-1 record and find themselves tied for first in the Pacific Division with the San Jose Sharks.
Tonight was throw-back Kachina jersey night for the Coyotes, and the only Coyote player to have worn these original jerseys was Shane Doan.
First period was loose and wild
The Oiler's struck first on a goal by the leading scorer in the NHL. Connor McDavid made no mistake at 1:31 when he broke in all alone and lifted a shot by befuddled goalie Mike Smith.
The Coyotes thought they had tied the game at 6:08 when there was a goalmouth scramble and Cam Talbot was able to freeze the puck between the post and his blocker. It was called a goal on the ice, but was reviewed and ruled it didn't cross the red-line.
The period displayed plenty of hitting and fast breaks. Both teams exhibited excellent speed and skating ability.
The Oilers forged ahead by two goals when Adam Larsson scored from the left side as he was wide open and was able to easily put it home at 17:29. The Coyotes came right back and cut the lead in half when Max Domi scored his third of the year and was assisted by Radim Vrbata and Oliver Ekman-Larsson, just nine seconds later.
The Oilers were assessed a two minute penalty when Patrick Maroon was called for boarding Connor Murphy. Ryan White came in to let Maroon know he wasn't too pleased with his play.
The period ended with the Coyotes out shooting the visiting Oilers by a 20-12 margin, but the Oilers holding their one-goal lead. The 20 shots on net by the Desert Dogs was their high this season for a period.
Second period went scoreless
Watching a talent like Connor McDavid's play is a thing of beauty. When he has the puck it seems like time freezes and you're in awe of his ability to play this game and dominate.
The most exciting play of this period was when Anthony Duclair hit McDavid into the Coyote's bench.
The Coyotes held a 28-14 shot advantage, but then Edmonton outshot the Arizona team 8-2. The Oilers were again called for a late period penalty when Matthew Benning was called for delay of game by lifting the puck out of play.
The Coyotes started the third period with the man advantage, and needed to score to knot up this tight game.
Third period saw the Coyotes tie the game
The Coyotes' power play came up empty again for the fourth time. Then, at 9:06 Anthony DeAngelo's shot from the right point was deflected by Captain Shane Doan past Talbot. Tobias Rieder also assisted on the tying goal. DeAngelo now has five points in seven games since being called up from the AHL.
After being down two, the Coyotes were back in the game. The 14,750 fans loved it.
The best chance the Yotes had to take the lead in this game occurred at 14:54 when Ryan White broke down the slot and got a pass on his stick, but was denied point blank by Talbot.
At 1:38, DeAngelo was called for tripping, giving the Oilers a power play. The play was tight, and right at the buzzer, the Oilers thought they had won the game when McDavid shot the puck into the net, but the play was reviewed and it was determined that the clock had run out.
Shootout was exciting
The Coyotes chose to shoot first, and in an effort to get Anthony Duclair out of his scoring slump, he shot first, but missed.
The Oilers sent out Mark Letestu, who got one by Mike Smith.
The Coyotes then sent their shootout expert, Radim Vrbata. Everyone knew what move he'd use, and yet he was able to get it by Talbot. That made it 1-1 in the exciting shootout.
McDavid was sent out next, and he wasn't even able to get a shot off when he lost control of the puck.
The Coyotes' next shooter was Ekman-Larsson who came in and did a shoulder fake which Talbot fell for, giving the home team the lead 2-1. That meant the Oilers next shooter had to score, or the win would go to the Coyotes.
Jordan Eberle was the next shooter, and he sent his shot over the net, giving the Coyotes a comeback victory.
As this writer made his way down from the press level, none other than the Great One, Wayne Gretzky was in the elevator. At first I didn't notice him, but the elevator operator was chatting with him and I then realized it was #99 in the flesh.
Needless to say, that made my night.