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Offense from defense helps Coyotes slide past Oilers
Glendale, AZ (SportsNetwork.com) - Keith Yandle netted the tying goal and Oliver Ekman-Larsson scored the winner in the latter stages of the third period, giving Phoenix a 5-4 decision over Edmonton in a Saturday matinee.
Radim Vrbata chipped in three assists, while Martin Hanzal, Michael Stone and David Schlemko also lit the lamp for the Coyotes, who have taken three of their last four.
"I like winning, but there's just some things in our game that need to improve if we're going to win long term," said Coyotes head coach Dave Tippett.
Mike Smith stopped 26 shots for the win, improving his record to 6-2-2 on the season.
Ryan Jones, Will Acton, David Perron and Tyler Pitlick scored for the Oilers, who have dropped seven of their last nine.
Jason LaBarbera was charged with five goals on 27 shots in defeat.
The Oilers went up 4-3 at the 7:23 mark of the third period when Ryan Nugent- Hopkins' wrister from between the circles changed direction off Jones' shin pad and slid through Smith's five hole.
But Yandle forged a 4-4 deadlock at 10:40 with a successful shot from the point that eluded a Hanzal screen on the advantage, and Ekman-Larsson put the Coyotes ahead with 7:37 on the clock thanks to a wrister from below the right circle just over a minute into a subsequent power play.
Edmonton skated 6-on-5 for the final 1:33 of regulation, and Smith remained firm in the crease. He was unable to unleash a shot on the empty cage, as he did to punctuate the Coyotes' 5-2 win over Detroit last Saturday.
"It was an interesting game to say the least," noted Oilers head coach Dallas Eakins. "It's getting disheartening to say I like most of our game and come up short."
Pitlick netted his first career goal one second shy of the midpoint of the opening period, scoring from a sharp angle along the right wing after a rush which started back inside his own zone.
Phoenix tied the score when Ekman-Larsson's cross-ice pass to Hanzal caromed off his skate and in with 47 seconds played in the second. A brief review determined there was no kicking motion.
Two goals in a 27-second span shortly thereafter gave the Coyotes control, as Stone beat LaBarbera from in front with 5:20 played, then Schlemko's first of the season provided a 3-1 cushion at 5:47.
Acton pulled Edmonton within a goal at 8:03, and Perron deposited the tying score off a Nugent-Hopkins dish with 56.7 on the clock.
Edmonton had won two of three meetings during the truncated 2013 schedule, with Phoenix having swept all four matchups in the 2011-12 season ... The Coyotes upped their record to 12-1-2 in their last 15 meetings against Edmonton and stayed unbeaten in regulation at home this season (4-0-1) ... Nugent-Hopkins had two helpers for the Oilers.
10/26 22:24:01 ET