Pronger scored with 0.3 seconds left to force overtime, and the Oilers completed the stunning comeback by defeating the Phoenix Coyotes in a shootout, 4-3 on Sunday night.
Marty Reasoner beat Phoenix’s Mike Ricci in a faceoff that began with 2.2 seconds remaining. Fernando Pisani flicked the puck back to Pronger, and the big defenseman threaded a one-timer through traffic that got past Curtis Joseph and momentarily silenced the crowd of 16,153.
“We had a few different plans, actually,” Pronger said. “It just depended on where the puck was going to be. ‘Pies’ made a great play just to be able to bump it back, and I just took out my driver and swung at it, and fortunately the puck went between his legs.”
But the main topic of conversation was Pronger’s seventh goal, his first this season in a non-power play situation.
“It’s a one-in-a-million play,” Oilers coach Craig MacTavish said. “I have never seen it. In 25 years of hockey I have never seen anything like it.”
Coyotes coach Wayne Gretzky raised the ante by five years.
“In my 30 years I don’t know if I have had a more disheartening loss, because I know how hard our guys have worked this week and I know how beat up they are,” Gretzky said. “I was proud of their effort. It’s a tough way to lose a hockey game, but maybe this will bring us closer.”
Phoenix had beaten the Oilers twice this season in extra-length games. The Coyotes won in overtime on the road on Oct. 18 and defeated the Oilers in a shootout on Jan. 21, Edmonton’s only loss in 15 previous away games (10-1-4).
Joseph had 27 saves through overtime.
Coyotes captain Shane Doan scored on Mike Morrison to keep the Coyotes in the tiebreaker after Hemsky, the third Edmonton skater, put the puck in.
The Oilers almost didn’t get past 60 minutes. Morrison was off the ice for much of the last 1:30 of regulation before Pronger scored to tie it at 3.
“I have to win that faceoff at the end,” Ricci said. “We’ve got to keep it going. We played a good game. It’s tough: Like I said, we played a good game, and I didn’t do my job at the end.”
Scatchard and Devereaux gave Phoenix a 3-2 lead with goals 1:43 apart in the second period.
Joseph made 14 saves in the third, two of the difficult variety early in the period.
He flagged down a quick wrist shot by Dvorak at the base of the post to his left about 6 minutes in, and made a glove save on Shawn Horcoff at 7:49. Horcoff was so sure of the goal from point-blank range that he raised his hands in celebration before he realized Joseph had the puck.
The Coyotes, who had managed just one shot on net, took a 1-0 lead in the first period when Paul Mara passed across the slot to Michalek above the left circle. His one-timer got in under the crossbar with 5:09 left.
The Oilers tied it 1:37 into the second when Torres flipped the puck in after activity in the crease distracted Joseph. Edmonton went ahead on Smyth’s team-best 22nd goal with 4:24 remaining in the period.
But Phoenix answered with 3:38 to go when Scatchard drove hard for the net to knock in a rebound of a shot by Fredrik Sjostrom, and got the lead on Devereaux’s goal at 1:55.
The Oilers completed a three-game road sweep of Pacific Division teams. They beat Anaheim and Los Angeles last week. … Defensemen Dick Tarnstrom, obtained from Pittsburgh, and Jaroslav Spacek, acquired from Chicago, played their first games for Edmonton. … Edmonton improved to 8-6 in overtime; Phoenix dropped to 8-3. … The Oilers are 17-8-4 on the road this season. … Ricci assisted on Devereaux’s goal, picking up his 598th point.