GLENDALE, Ariz. – The Phoenix Coyotes have mastered the shootout.
Now if they can just improve their power play they might not need to rely so much on overtime. Matthew Lombardi scored in the eighth round of the shootout, the lone goal in the lengthy tiebreaker, and the Coyotes beat the Edmonton Oilers 3-2 on Saturday night.
Phoenix claimed its NHL-leading 13th shootout win in 18 tries to help cover up a dismal power-play performance. Phoenix went 0-for-9 with a man advantage, including a short stint of 5-on-3 in the third period. They had three extra skaters when they pulled the goalie during a delayed penalty.
The Coyotes are 2-for-18 on the power play in their last four games.
Still coach Dave Tippett said he wasn’t displeased with Saturday’s showing.
“I thought at times it looked really good,” he said. “We had traffic, we had shots going at the net. That’s what we were looking for. I thought we did all of that. We just didn’t get rewarded for it.”
Jeff Deslauriers had a season-high 42 saves to keep Edmonton in the game.
Ilya Bryzgalov made 25 saves for his 41st win, and Phoenix broke the franchise record for home victories in a season with its 28th.
Lombardi had a goal in regulation, and Daniel Winnik scored for the first time since Jan. 14.
“It’s tough when you’re not scoring for a while,” Winnik said. “Usually those chances you pucker up a little bit. It’s something you’ve got to work through.”
Keith Yandle finished with two assists for the Coyotes.
Dustin Penner and Ryan Jones, who shot wide with a chance to answer Lombardi’s shootout goal, scored for the Oilers, who have lost 10 straight on the road. Tom Gilbert had two assists.
“It’s hard not to like how our guys played,” Edmonton coach Pat Quinn said. “Most of our guys played with effort.”
Lombardi was 1-for-9 in the shootout this season before his winner. Phoenix has won nine of its last 10 decided by shootout.
“I don’t like shootouts,” Bryzgalov said. “It’s unfair to goalies. I’m just glad we win in the shootout. … So many skilled players play in the shootout, and they can just abuse you and make you look stupid in the net, but I’m glad it didn’t happen tonight.”
Lombardi’s heroics kept Phoenix four points ahead of Nashville – its next opponent – for fourth place in the Western Conference and four behind Pacific Division-leading San Jose.
“It’s huge points for us especially this time of the year,” Bryzgalov said. “It’s such a mess in the standings right now. It’s good we got two points because we want to catch San Jose.”
Phoenix, which had gone 1-3-1 after winning nine straight, ended a two-game losing streak. The Coyotes have lost three straight only twice this season.
Penner’s goal from a sharp angle with 5:24 left in regulation tied the game 2-2, and provided Deslauriers with some support. The second-year goalie kept the game close with several spectacular saves, including stopping a point-blank shot from Lombardi during a 2-on-1 rush midway through the second period.
Winnik’s goal gave Phoenix a 2-1 advantage early in the second. He beat Deslauriers high with a wrister at 4:01.
Phoenix scored 3:42 into the game when Wojtek Wolski found Lombardi ahead of the crowd in the slot with a spinning pass from the left point. Lombardi then fired the puck into a gap between Deslauriers’ legs, and it trickled past the goal line.
Edmonton tied it 1-1 at 15:48 of the first when Jones batted a loose puck by Bryzgalov during a scramble in front of the net. The goal was a career-high eighth for the second-year forward and his first for Edmonton since being claimed off waivers from Nashville on March 3.
NOTES: Edmonton is 1-7-2 in the second of back-to-back games. … Oilers F Gilbert Brule missed the game after spraining his ankle in the first period of Friday’s loss at Dallas. … The Coyotes announced the game as a sellout, their third straight.