EDMONTON – It never hurts starting a road trip against the league’s worst home team.
Mike Ribeiro and Mikkel Boedker each had a goal and two assists as the Phoenix Coyotes started off a four-game trip on solid footing with a 6-2 victory over the Edmonton Oilers on Tuesday.
Radim Vrbata, Shane Doan, Keith Yandle and David Moss also scored for the Coyotes (16-7-4), who had lost four of their previous five games.
“Obviously after the Chicago game (a 5-2 loss on Saturday on home ice), we wanted to make sure we came out and played more to our identity, especially on the road,” said Phoenix head coach Dave Tippett. “We’re starting a tough trip, we wanted to come in and play well tonight. I thought for the most part, we did a lot of good things.
“I was glad the way our guys killed the penalties in the second and then responded in the third. That’s what we needed to start the trip.”
Ribeiro said that his team was confident they could get the Oilers running around in the third.
“We knew if we stayed patient in the third that they would probably try to open up and that’s what happened,” he said. “We had our chances, were able to score and we’ll take those two points, especially on this road trip.”
David Perron scored a pair of goals for the Oilers (9-18-2) who dropped to 3-9-0 on home ice this season as they began a five-game stay in Rexall Place.
The Oilers trailed 3-2 heading into the third period, but the wheels came off from there.
“In the third there were three or four areas where we got out-battled,” said Oilers forward Jordan Eberle. “You can look at every goal and there is probably a play where they won a battle and got it to our net and scored. That’s what it came down to. That’s what pisses you off when you come into the room. It isn’t a technical thing, it’s not a bouncing puck, you got out-battled. You can’t have that.”
Oilers head coach Dallas Eakins was especially disappointed in the defence.
“The fourth goal, the fifth, the sixth…that is about as bad as I have seen three or four of our defencemen play this year and it cost us,” he said. “They are individual mistakes and things that the individual has to correct. Some of the plays tonight had nothing to do with systems. It was all about a misread, or more importantly, a no-read. Just being so focused on the puck.
“It’s tragic when you are still in the game and then you go into the third period and that happens. It tears your heart out, it tears your guts out.”
The Coyotes started the scoring three-and-a-half minutes in on the power play as Boedker was left all alone in front to pick up a big rebound and wrist it past Oilers starter Devan Dubnyk. It was just Phoenix’s second first-period goal in the last six games.
Edmonton tied the game up midway through the first period as Phoenix defenceman David Schlemko coughed up the puck to Mark Arcobello. Arcobello used a drop pass to leave the puck open for a trailing Perron, who rifled his 10th of the season past Coyotes goalie Mike Smith.
The Oilers started the second period well, but suddenly found themselves behind 3-1 after goals just under a minute apart.
Seven minutes into the second period, another Coyotes player went to the front of the net unmolested as Ribeiro passed through the crease to a wide-open Vrbata, who scored his ninth of the season.
Just 58 seconds later the Coyotes had a two-goal advantage as Ribeiro floated a shot from the point that was deflected on the way to the net by Doan and completely fooled Dubnyk.
Edmonton got one of those goals back on the power play with just 52 seconds left in the middle period as Ales Hemsky made a nice pass from behind the net to Perron, who scored his second of the game with a quick shot off Smith’s shoulder and into the net.
After having what initially appeared to be a goal by Moss called back on a high stick, the Coyotes went up 4-2 on another Edmonton defensive breakdown as Ribeiro was left alone in front to take a Doan pass and score his eighth of the season.
Phoenix put the game out of reach midway through the third period with another pair of quick-strike goals just 42 seconds apart.
Yandle got the fifth goal as he undressed Edmonton defender Jeff Petry and beat Dubnyk with a slapshot to the top corner.
“Keith Yandle is one of those guys in the league that everybody is looking for, that everybody is trying to find,” Doan said. “We are so thankful to have him and any other team in the league would be so thankful to have a D-man that can make those plays.”
Moss deflected a shot on net and then swatted in his own rebound as he was getting hauled down to make it 6-2.
The Coyotes play the second match of a four-game road trip in Calgary on Wednesday. The Oilers host the second game of a five-game homestand on Thursday when they welcome the Colorado Avalanche.
Notes: It was the second of five meetings this season between the Pacific Division rivals. Phoenix came from behind with a pair of late third-period goals to win the first contest 5-4 at home on Oct. 26…The Coyotes came into the game having won six of their last eight games in Edmonton and were 12-2-2 against the Oilers under coach Dave Tippett…Devan Dubnyk got the start for Edmonton after coming in to relieve and injured Ilya Bryzgalov in Sunday’s 3-2 shootout win in Dallas. Bryzgalov’s status is unknown as he continues to be evaluated for concussion/whiplash symptoms after taking a hit in the crease from the Stars Ryan Garbutt…Oilers centre Boyd Gordon remained out of the lineup with a myriad of minor injuries. Gordon is fifth in the NHL in face-off wins…Coyotes defenceman Zbynek Michalek (lower body) and winger Lauri Korpikoski (upper body) did not play, but are expected to join the team on its road trip…The Oilers announced on Tuesday that their new downtown rink will be named Rogers Place. The new building is slated to be completed in the fall of 2016.