Whitney scores SO winner as Coyotes top Oilers 3-2Edmonton Oilers' Ales Hemsky (83) scores on Phoenix Coyotes goaltender Mike Smith during the second period of an NHL hockey game in Edmonton on Sunday, March 18, 2012. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, John Ulan)
EDMONTON, Alberta (AP) Ray Whitney scored in the third period and added the shootout winner as the Phoenix Coyotes bounced back from a two-goal deficit to defeat the Edmonton Oilers 3-2 on Sunday night.
Raffi Torres also scored for the Coyotes, who passed Los Angeles and San Jose to take over the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference.
Phoenix coach Dave Tippett also earned his 400th career victory with the win.
Jordan Eberle and Ales Hemsky scored for the Oilers, who had a two-game winning streak snapped.
One game after star forward Taylor Hall was leveled by a hit that left him with a concussion, it looked as if another young Oilers players was about to join him on the sideline. Phoenix defenseman Rostislav Klesla ran Jordan Eberle head-first into the boards behind the net 5 minutes into the game.
No penalty call was made, infuriating coach Tom Renney, however Eberle was not injured.
There were few quality chances in the scoreless first period. Phoenix had 12 shots on Edmonton's Devan Dubnyk, while the Oilers had nine shots on the Coyotes' Mike Smith.
The Oilers broke the scoreless deadlock seven minutes into the second period when Ryan Jones picked off a pass by Oliver Ekman-Larsson in the Phoenix zone and dished it to a hard-charging Eberle for his 32nd goal of the season and 70th point.
Edmonton then made it 2-0 just 34 seconds later as Hemsky tipped a Jeff Petry shot and then chipped the rebound past Smith.
Dubnyk kept the Coyotes off the board with a series of big saves to close out the second period and a breakaway stop on Lauri Korpikoski to start the third.
The Coyotes finally got one past Dubnyk eight minutes into the third period as Whitney was able to send a puck off the post and in during a scramble in front of the Edmonton net.
Phoenix tied it with just 2:23 remaining as they got away on an odd-man rush and Torres beat Dubnyk up high.
The Coyotes were given a glorious chance to win it in overtime as Keith Yandle was awarded a penalty shot after being hooked on a breakaway by Shawn Horcoff, but Dubnyk was able to make the stop to send the game to the shootout.
Notes: It was the fourth and final meeting between the teams this season. Phoenix earned its first season sweep of the Oilers in franchise history. ... Phoenix came into the game as winners of nine of their last 10 against Edmonton. ... The Coyotes put themselves into the thick of the Western Conference race with an 11-0-1 run in February before losing their first five games in March. ... Oilers F Taylor Hall missed the game with a concussion suffered on Friday when he was hit by Calgary Flames D Cory Sarich. Hall is not expected to be out long. Also sidelined was Ben Eager with a sore back. ... Returning to Phoenix's lineup were Martin Hanzal (upper body) and Radim Vrbata (illness). D Adrian Aucoin (lower body) remains day-to-day. F Kyle Chipchura (upper body) has been cleared for contact and could return next week.