GLENDALE, Ariz. – The Phoenix Coyotes capped a strange night with what’s become their best attribute: Resiliency.
Shane Doan scored his second goal to cap a rally late in regulation and the Phoenix Coyotes scored on both attempts in the shootout to end Washington’s five-game winning streak with a 4-3 victory Saturday night.
“We talked about in the last five minutes, we just need one to give us a chance at another one,” Doan said. “We count on so many guys that’s what makes it so fun to be on this team.”
The Coyotes gave the NHL’s best power play far too many chances, didn’t capitalize enough on the numerous chances they got and generally found ways to get in their own way until late in regulation.
They still found a way to win it.
Phoenix took an early lead on Doan’s first goal, then gave up three goals in a strange second period that included a penalty for too many men on the ice by Washington while it was on a power play and a rare delay of game call against Phoenix goalie Mike Smith for playing the puck across the red line.
Trailing 3-1 and with several fans heading for the exits, Phoenix picked up the pace in the third period and rallied with goals by Lauri Korpikoski, who scored as he was falling to the ice, and Doan’s fourth goal in three games on a power play with 1:46 left.
Antoine Vermette and Mikkel Boedker scored in the shootout and Washington failed on its two attempts to lose for the first time in five shootouts. Phoenix has won six of seven.
“It was a weird game,” Coyotes coach Dave Tippett said. “We’ll take the points and move on.”
Washington rallied after giving up the early goal, surviving a string of penalties in the second period to take a 3-1 lead. Troy Brouwer and John Carlson both scored on the power play—that’s seven in three games for the Caps—and Joel Ward added his seventh of the season late.
The Capitals just couldn’t finish off the scrappy Coyotes, unable to capitalize on a couple of two-man advantages, giving up the two late goals and failing to even get a shot off on one shootout attempt.
“We got a point, I’m sure we’re not happy right now, but we’ll just recharge it for tomorrow,” Washington coach Adam Oates said.
Alex Ovechkin and the Capitals hadn’t played in the desert since 2011 so there was plenty of anticipation in the Valley of the Sun for this one.
It certainly didn’t hurt that both teams have been playing well; Washington had outscored opponents 17-6 during a four-game winning streak and Phoenix had won five of six.
The Caps’ forte has been special teams; they’re the NHL’s best on the power play and the penalty kill.
The Coyotes didn’t have any trouble against Washington’s penalty kill early, scoring 22 seconds into their first chance with the man advantage midway through the first period.
Doan got it, gathering a rebound off a shot by Keith Yandle and flipping a wrister past Michal Neuvirth.
The Coyotes got themselves in trouble after that with a march to the penalty box.
Phoenix killed off the first two penalties, but Brouwer scored 38 seconds into the second period when he was left alone at Phoenix’s blue line and beat Smith with a hard shot from the right circle.
Jordan Szwarz went into the box three minutes later for high-sticking and Washington needed 19 seconds to capitalize, going up 2-1 on a shot from the slot by Carlson after some quick passing.
A carousel to the penalty box followed, including six straight power play minutes for Phoenix and the call against Smith, who played the puck across the red line as he was skating off for an extra attacker.
Once the chaos ended, Ward put the Capitals up 3-1 with a one-timer from along the goal line after the puck squirted his direction.
Washington appeared to be in control, but Korpikoski scored on a backhander as he was falling to the ice and Doan scored for the seventh time in eight games with a wrister after Caps rookie Nate Schmidt was called for delay of game for sending the puck over the glass from his own end.
“Too many penalties just in general,” Oates said. “You know it’s going come back and bite you and it did.”
Notes: Phoenix will play at Washington on March 8, marking the first time these teams have played twice in a season since 2001-02. … Phoenix played without F Radim Vrbata, who’s tied for the team lead with six goals, and top defenceman Derek Morris due to injuries. … Phoenix’s Kyle Chipchura and Washington’s Aaron Volpatti got into a fight late in the first period. Chipchura left a little bloodied and Volpatti had his jersey ripped off.