Just like the Phoenix Coyotes drew it up.
“We’ve been working on that,” Shane Doan said after the Coyotes’ 5-4 shootout win over the Colorado Avalanche on Friday night. “Actually, not exactly.
“But it was huge for us.”
Ladislav Nagy scored the only goal in the shootout, lifting the Coyotes to their first win at the Pepsi Center since Oct. 30, 2000.
Nagy used his knowledge of Peter Budaj against the Avalanche goalie. Both are from Slovakia and play together in the summer. He went stick-side, thinking Budaj would expect high glove from him.
“I know his tendencies,” Nagy said. “I knew he would make the move he made and I shot the other way. I know what he does.
“We are good friends. I’ve had a lot of breakaways against him.”
The Coyotes ended a seven-game losing streak to Colorado – not a bad birthday present for Phoenix coach Wayne Gretzky, who turned 46 on Friday.
“We fell behind and didn’t give up,” Gretzky said. “I liked the way we competed until the end.”
Yanic Perreault scored twice within a span of 1:12 in the third period to tie it 4-4. Both goals came on Avalanche turnovers in Colorado’s zone and boosted Perreault’s season total to 17.
Perreault’s game-tying goal came when Zbynek Michalek rifled a shot toward the net and Perreault tipped it in with his stick. The goal was reviewed and upheld.
But even Perreault was surprised at his goal moments earlier, which came near the end of a power play. Two of Colorado’s defencemen fell down and another knocked the puck right to him, allowing him to get off a clean shot that got by Budaj.
“I couldn’t believe my eyes,” said Perreault, who said he wasn’t playing at 100 per cent but didn’t specify his injury. “The puck was loose in the slot so I took a good shot.”
Curtis Joseph finished with 23 saves, then stopped Wojtek Wolski, Milan Hejduk and Joe Sakic in the shootout.
Budaj, starting his 12th straight game, stopped 25 shots and stonewalled former Avalanche player Steven Reinprecht on the first shootout attempt, but then Nagy beat him for the game-winner.
“If we’re going to make the playoffs, we’ve got to win,” Budaj said.
Antti Laaksonen and Jordan Leopold scored short-handed goals for Colorado. The Coyotes have now given up 10 short-handed goals, tied for the most in the NHL.
Colorado scored three goals in the second period to take a 4-2 lead. Laaksonen scored shorthanded after stealing the puck, Brett McLean was credited with a goal after it went off the leg of Phoenix defenceman Ed Jovanovski and Sakic added his 21st of the season.
Sakic, coming off a four-assist performance at the all-star Game on Wednesday night, now has 595 career goals. He’s six goals away from tying Jari Kurri for 16th place on the all-time list.
Not that he wanted to talk about that after the game.
“It’s a tough one,” Sakic said.
Reinprecht scored his second goal of the season with 45 seconds left in the first period. He poked in a shot after Colorado defenceman Ossi Vaananen turned the puck over in front of the goal and then ran over Budaj trying to retrieve it.
Phoenix’s Owen Nolan scored his 12th goal of the season at 10:17 of the second.
Leopold didn’t take long to reintroduce himself to the team. He was activated before the game from injured reserve and scored a short-handed goal 5:20 into the first period. The goal – a slapshot from the blue line that hit off Jovanovski – was Leopold’s first since March 26, 2006, against Dallas.
Leopold hadn’t played since suffering a groin injury Dec. 11 against Carolina. He also missed 25 games to start the season after hernia surgery.
“It’s a hard lesson learned,” the 26-year-old said of the loss. “It stinks losing in a shootout.”
Notes: Colorado recalled Ben Guite from its American Hockey League affiliate Albany and placed defenceman Patrice Brisebois on the injured reserve – retroactive to Dec. 27 – due to a back injury . . . The Avalanche had killed 13 consecutive power-play opportunities before Perreault’s third-period goal . . . Talk in the Avalanche locker room before the game centred on whether the team might acquire Philadelphia’s Peter Forsberg, a former Colorado player. “I won’t lie to you, we talk about it,” said Ian Laperriere, who had two assists Friday night. “It’s great gossip.”