Phoenix 3, Edmonton 2 (ot)

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PHOENIX (TICKER) Teppo Numminen kept the Phoenix Coyotes breathing.

Numminen scored with 2:07 remaining in overtime as the Coyotes posted a desperately needed 3-2 victory over the Edmonton Oilers after losing goaltender Sean Burke to a groin strain.

Wide-open in the slot, Numminen took a centering feed from Shane Doan and fired a slap shot that beat goalie Tommy Salo to the stick side. It was the defenseman’s fifth goal of the season.

“I got the puck down deep, so I decided to hang around the net and nobody was around me,” said Numminen, the Coyotes’ captain. “Doan made a perfect pass, so I tried to hit the net and it worked out very well.”

Prior to the game-winner, Salo made a pair of spectacular saves on Ladislav Nagy as Phoenix had the only three shots in the extra period.

Salo made a kick save on Nagy’s turnaround shot from the left circle, then gloved his blast from the slot on the rebound. But he had no chance on Numminen’s slapper.

“I think we got caught protecting the tie tonight,” Edmonton coach Craig MacTavish said. “We said any points we got tonight were critical. Tommy made some big saves for us at the end of the third period and in the overtime, but the puck started bouncing and they got some great chances and we got caught running around.”

The Coyotes climbed within eight points of the eighth-place Oilers in the Western Conference. However, Phoenix gave up a point as Edmonton rallied from a two-goal deficit and tied it 8:05 into the third on Marty Reasoner’s career-high 11th goal.

The Coyotes posted their third straight win and improved to 3-0-0 against the Oilers this season.

“We gained some ground tonight and anytime you can do that, it is a positive,” Phoenix defenseman Todd Simpson said. “We definitely didn’t want to give them a point. We still have a long way to go and we have to keep it on an even keel.”

Burke was injured with 12:55 left in the second period and did not return. He and Brian Boucher combined for 20 saves.

“He popped a groin,” Phoenix coach Bobby Francis said. “It was severe enough for him to go out. He came to the bench during a timeout and said, `I am done.’ You know it has to be something pretty severe for Burke to say something.”

Facing a virtual must-win situation, the Coyotes jumped to a 2-0 lead in the first period on goals by Daymond Langkow and Branko Radivojevic just over three minutes apart.

“We wanted to get off to a good start because Salo is the type of goalie, the quicker you get to him, the better off you are,” Francis said. “The longer he shuts the door, the better he gets. We grabbed the lead, and for the most part we played a pretty sound game. It wasn’t as though we got sloppy.”

But Ryan Smyth began the Oilers’ comeback, scoring a power-play goal with 48 seconds left in the period.

The Coyotes made things easy for their goalies, allowing just 13 shots over the first two periods. Boucher stopped 11 of the 12 he faced.

Playing with a lead for most of the game, Phoenix settled into a defensive mode, but the Oilers continued their third-period heroics as Reasoner redirected Ethan Moreau’s centering pass past Boucher, who appeared to get a piece of the puck with his stick.

“We obviously didn’t have our best game,” Oilers defenseman Eric Brewer said. “Tommy was really good, he made some big saves for us, but you have to know that you got some points. We lost one point to them.”

Despite the loss, Edmonton has picked up points in eight of its last 11 games (6-3-1-1).

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