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Coyotes add to Oilers home woes

The SportsXchange

EDMONTON, Alberta -- The Phoenix Coyotes have no problem with the snow and cold of Edmonton.

Not if it means they get to play the Oilers.

They Coyotes took advantage of Edmonton's miserable record at home (3-9-0) to right their own ship with a 6-2 victory Tuesday.

The Oilers appeared to be picking up steam, having won five of their last seven games after a ghastly 4-15-2 start, while the Coyotes appeared to be losing momentum, going 2-3-2 in their last seven after a 13-4-2 start.

It didn't play out that way on the ice, though.

"We should be a lot better here," said winger David Perron, who scored both Edmonton goals. "We have to find a way to have a better performance than that. Defensively we weren't good enough. When you give these guys some room they can hurt you, and they did."

They hurt them big time, getting goals from six different players in the win.

"We wanted to make sure we came out and played more to our identity, especially on the road," said Phoenix coach Dave Tippett. "We're starting a tough (four-game) trip, we wanted to come in and play well tonight. I thought for the most part, we did a lot of good things."

The Oilers, stressing the importance of a quick start against a Phoenix team that is fifth in the NHL with an .846 winning percentage when it scores first, took a penalty 1:48 into the first period and gave up a power-play goal at 3:37.

They didn't let the early setback take the life out of them, though, and pressed until Perron evened it up thanks to a terrible defensive-zone giveaway by Coyotes defenseman David Schlemko at 9:51.

Then Phoenix pulled away for good.

They exploded for two goals in a 58-second span in the second period. First, defenseman Jeff Petry and center Mark Arcobello left Phoenix right winger Radim Vrbata alone at the back door for a pretty easy one-timer at 6:58, then a floater from the point banked off right winger Shane Doan and through goaltender Devan Dubnyk to make it 3-1 at 7:56.

"We had to get out of the first period, that's been kind of our Achillies heal for the last few games," said Doan. "Getting out of the first and getting that first power play was big. We kind of continued to get better throughout the game. It was a big effort from our group all around, our group played better."

Perron's second of the night closed the gap to 3-2 at 19:52, but the Coyotes were still 7-0-2 when leading after two periods, while the Oilers were 2-13-0 when trailing after 40.

The Coyotes padded their lead to 4-2 five minutes into the third period when Mike Ribeiro got left all alone in front of the net and whipped a quick shot inside the right post.

It went from bad to worse from there. Oilers defenseman Petry got undressed by Coyotes defenseman Keith Yandle at 9:33 and winger David Moss beat defenseman Anton Belov to soft rebound at 10:15.

Suddenly 3-2 was 6-2.

"That's about as bad as I've seen three or four of our defensemen play," said coach Dallas Eakins. "And it cost us."

Just when the Oilers thought they were headed in the right direction, this.

"In the third we just got out-battled," said winger Jordan Eberle. "You go to every goal and there was probably a play where they won a battle, got it to our net and scored. That's what it came down to.

"That's what (ticks) you off when you come into the room -- it's not a technical thing, it's not a bouncing puck, we literally go out-battled.

"You can't have that. You're sick of coming into the room and finding reasons why we lost. We have to find a way to win."

NOTES: Edmonton G Ilya Bryzgalov is on the shelf for a while, nobody is sure exactly how long, after getting run over Sunday in Dallas. He either has whiplash or a concussion, and the Oilers are waiting until the symptoms go away before getting him back on the ice. They re-called G Jason LaBarbera from the AHL in the meantime. ... Oilers C Boyd Gordon missed his second game in a row with back, leg and hand issues. Gordon is the team's leading faceoff man. ... After scoring just one first-period goal in their last 10 games, the Coyotes needed just 3:37 to open the scoring against Edmonton. ... Coyotes D Rusty Klesla was re-assigned to Portland of the AHL on Monday. ... Phoenix LW Lauri Korpikoski (upper-body injury) and D Zbynek Michalek (lower-body injury), who have missed six and seven games, respectively, are both close to returning to the line-up and accompanied the team on the four-game trip.
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