In what has been maybe the most evenly played game all season long, the Coyotes found a way to come out on top.
With the 3-2 victory over the New Jersey Devils in a shootout, the team picked up two more critical points as the schedule ticks down to single-digits of games remaining.
You can officially call it a hot streak for Kyle Chipchura who punched in his fourth goal of the season just over two minutes into the contest. The goal was his second of the week, his first two since the end of October. That, coupled with his assist in the second period, and his seven face-offs won, earned him the game’s second star.
As if Chipchura’s goal was not surprising enough, defenseman Chris Summers came up clutch towards the end of the second period for only his second goal of the 2013-14 campaign. Assisted by Chipchura and Radim Vrbata, the goal put the Coyotes ahead 2-0 in a game once again; unfortunately, the lead could not be held.
Thus far in Mike Smith’s absence, Thomas Greiss has done all the organization could ask of him. With just .3 seconds remaining in the second period, former San Jose Shark Ryane Clowe found the back of the net to put a sour taste in the Coyotes mouth heading into the game’s final period.
It may have come late, but Adam Henrique showed as to why he is the leading scorer of the Devils. His game-tying goal that came nearly at the halfway mark of the third period was his 24th of the season, being the goal that ultimately forced overtime.
At the conclusion of regulation, the two teams were virtually deadlocked in more ways than just the scoreboard. The Devils held an ever so slim margin in the shot column, leading 28-27. The ‘Yotes on the other hand, just outpaced them in hits (19-17) and face-offs won (30-29). It would come down to a shootout where one of the game’s all-time greats in Martin Brodeur matched up with the impressive, but shaky, Thomas Greiss.
After stoning Damien Brunner, Greiss got to watch as Mikkel Boedker beat Brodeur on the backhand to give the Coyotes a 1-0 edge in the shootout they would not relinquish. Denying the veteran Patrik Elias’ backhanded attempt sealed the game, and gave Phoenix another monumental road win down the stretch of what has been a seesaw season.
Playing without Mike Ribeiro and Paul Bissonnette in addition to Mike Smith’s injury did not bode well at the start, but fans can be pleasantly surprised with the outcome; especially after another 2-0 lead was salted away.
With the Stars idle in the rearview mirror, the Coyotes can look forward as Minnesota lost on the road in St. Louis. Now just a point behind the Wild for the seventh seed, the collision at Jobing.com Arena at 6 PM Saturday night becomes all the more monumental.