NEW YORK – In Edmonton Friday night, the Phoenix Coyotes jumped out to a 4-0 lead then needed to hang on as the Oilers rallied to cut the deficit to 4-3.
“Once the score got up 4-0, we made a couple of mistakes, we let them back in the game and made it tight,” Coyotes coach Dave Tippett said. “I thought we played well for 30 minutes and for the next 30 minutes we hung on.
“It’s not that we took our foot off the gas, it’s the puck mistakes, the penalties, those kind of things, things that real good teams don’t do and those are still things that are a work in progress for our group.”
In a span of 4:02 in the first, the Coyotes netted three goals from Mikkel Boedker, Radim Vrbata and Derek Morris.
“I thought we actually played pretty well for about 56 minutes,” coach Dallas Eakins said. “We are a team, and have been for a while, that cannot give up opportunities like we did. Any time we make a mistake, and it doesn’t have to be a drastic mistake, it finds its way into the back of our net.
“That being said, when you get down in a game like that, it can go one way or another. The guys can dig their heels in and fight for each other or the game can go really badly. Our guys hung in with it. It was great to see, but it is also disappointing how you can lose a game by playing poorly for three minutes.”
The Oilers have now lost six straight.
“Execution was a big thing for us,” the Oilers Matt Hendricks said. “We couldn’t get out of our zone and when we did, we made mistakes like poor passes.
“Once we were able to get out of our zone and get pucks deep, we realized that we are a pressure team and we need to use our assets like skating and hard work. Once we did that, we got them to start turning pucks over and it was hard for them to get out of the zone. You could just see the table kind of tilt in our favor.”
In Calgary, Eric Nystrom scored four goals but the Nashville Predators lost in a shootout to the Flames, 5-4.
Nystrom’s fourth marker had given the Preds a 4-2 lead with 9:13 left in the game. But it wasn’t enough as the Flames rallied with two goals from Mikael Backlund and David Jones in a span of 1:09 to force extra time.
Devan Dubnyk took the loss for Nashville making 27 saves but could not quite get that one clutch save for his new team in the third period.
In Florida, the Panthers rallied for two goals in the third period but Colorado had just enough left to stave off the rally to win 3-2 on the road.
Ryan O’Reilly had a goal and an assist to lead Colorado’s offense.
“He’s been outstanding,” said Avalanche forward Jamie McGinn, of O’Reilly. “He’s been consistent every game. He works hard, on and off the ice, and it’s paying off.”
O’Reilly opened the scoring at 1:34 of the first off a nice wrist shot.
“We started great,” O’Reilly said. “We skated well, played real well, took some chances. We probably could have given ourselves a 4-0 lead at times. We started good and that start won it for us. At the end, they had chance after chance. We have to be a little bit better and make sure we don’t give up opportunities like that, especially late in the game. It was a good win for us, we got the points.”
Colorado had the upper hand through forty minutes of play and were just good enough in the third to blunt the Panthers’ rally.
“We were outstanding in the first two periods; unfortunately the third was not as good, and this is something we have to be better at,” Avalanche coach Patrick Roy said. “I thought that was a great test for us in some ways because we were up by three goals, we knew they were going to put pressure on us, and I thought it was a good opportunity to play a strong third period in our own end. That wasn’t the case.
“We didn’t move our feet as much in the third as we did in the first two. Our decisions weren’t as good. We need to learn to win those games, like 4-1 and 5-1, and bear down on our chances. But, you know what, a win is a win, and this is a very important two points for us.”
Tim Thomas made 22 saves in the loss and held off Colorado in the third to give Florida a chance.
“They came out hard at us and we had a hard time controlling them there in the first period,” Thomas said. “They really put on the forecheck on us, basically did what we would have liked to have done to them. From there, we’re battling back to get into the game. In the third period there, we made quite a push, but ultimately couldn’t get the three goals we were down back.”
New Jersey 2 Washington 1
Detroit 4 Montreal 1
Florida 2 Colorado 3
Calgary 5 Nashville 4 SO
Edmonton 3 Phoenix 4
JAGR CONTINUES TO CLIMB THE CHARTS
Jaromir Jagr assisted on both New Jersey goals to help the Devils improve to 5-1-3 in their last nine games. Jagr now has 1,033 career assists, tied with Mario Lemieux for 10th all-time.
* A look at where Jagr stands in NHL history:
MOST GOALS, NHL HISTORY
6. Mike Gartner: 708
7. Jaromir Jagr: 697
8. Mark Messier: 694
MOST ASSISTS, NHL HISTORY
9. Marcel Dionne: 1,040
t-10. Jaromir Jagr, Mario Lemieux: 1,033
12. Joe Sakic: 1,016
MOST POINTS, NHL HISTORY
6. Steve Yzerman: 1,755
7. Jaromir Jagr: 1,730
8. Mario Lemieux: 1,723
* Cory Schneider made 30 saves to improve to 4-0-2 in his last six decisions and has yielded two or fewer goals in eight consecutive starts dating to Dec. 28. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the only other goaltenders in Devils history to accomplish that feat are Martin Brodeur (eight times) and Johan Hedberg.
NYSTROM’S BIG NIGHT NOT ENOUGH FOR PREDATORS
Eric Nystrom (4-0—4) recorded the first four-goal game in Predators history and the first hat trick of his NHL career in a losing effort to the Flames. He had scored only three goals in his last 35 games combined and hadn’t produced a multi-goal game since Nov. 25, 2011 (2-0—2).
* Nystrom’s four-point performance matched a career high set April 2, 2008 (2-2—4).
* Nystrom’s father, Bob, totaled three hat tricks in his 14-season NHL career with the Islanders, though he never scored four goals in a game.
* According to the Elias Sports Bureau, there are five other active players who have posted three or more goals in a game whose fathers also registered hat tricks in the NHL: Sam Gagner (and his father, Dave), Ryan Malone (Greg), Zach Parise (J.P.), Paul Stastny (Peter) and Alexander Steen (Thomas).
RED WINGS WIN ORIGINAL SIX BATTLE
Jonas Gustavsson made 30 saves and Riley Sheahan scored his first career game-winning goal to lead the Red Wings to their first victory over the Canadiens since Dec. 10, 2010.
* The Red Wings earned consecutive home wins for the first time since Oct. 12-15.
* Gustavsson improved to 5-0-0 in his past five appearances, his second five-game winning streak of the season (also Nov. 21-Dec. 6).
* Henrik Zetterberg posted 1-1—2 to extend his point streak to four games (2-6—8).
* Gustav Nyquist scored for the third straight game, a career long, and now has 3-3—6 during a four-game point streak.
Mike Smith made 36 saves to lead the Coyotes to their fifth consecutive victory over the Oilers. They also have earned at least one point in 12 consecutive meetings dating to March 17, 2011 (8-0-4) . . . Semyon Varlamov recorded 34 saves to backstop the Avalanche over the Panthers in their first visit to Sunrise since Dec. 7, 2010. Varlamov improved to 12-1-5 in his past 18 decisions dating to Dec. 12 . . . Flames captain Mark Giordano scored to extend his point streak to a career-long six games (3-3—6) . . . Panthers forward Scottie Upshall (2-0—2) recorded his 100th and 101st career goals . . . Oilers forward Ryan Jones collected his 100th NHL point . . . Devils forward Stephen Gionta played in his 100th career game, while teammate Joe Whitney made his League debut . . . Avalanche forward Ryan O’Reilly (1-1—2) scored his 19th goal of the season (48 GP), besting his previous career high of 18 set in 2011-12 (81 GP) . . . The Sharks signed captain Joe Thornton and forward Patrick Marleau to three-year contract extensions through the 2016-17 season . . . Vinny Prospal announced his retirement from the NHL following a 16-season career. The 38-year-old forward compiled 255-510—765 over 1,108 regular-season games with the Flyers, Senators, Panthers, Lightning, Ducks, Rangers and Blue Jackets.
SNEAK PEEK AT SATURDAY’S ACTION
All Times Eastern
Ottawa @ Carolina, 12:00 p.m., SNET-E, FS-CR
St. Louis @ NY Islanders, 1:00 p.m., FS-MW, MSG PLUS
Boston @ Philadelphia, 1:00 p.m., NESN, CSN-PH
Washington @ Montreal, 7:00 p.m., CBC, RDS, CSN-DC
Colorado @ Tampa Bay, 7:00 p.m., ALT2, SUN
Buffalo @ Columbus, 7:00 p.m., MSG-B, FS-O
Toronto @ Winnipeg, 7:00 p.m., CBC
Pittsburgh @ Dallas, 8:00 p.m., ROOT, FS-SW
Anaheim @ Los Angeles, 9:30 p.m., NBCSN, CBC, RDS2
Minnesota @ San Jose, 10:30 p.m., FS-N, FS-WI, CSN-CA