Phoenix Coyotes One Point From Playoffs After Shootout Loss to Nashville Predators; Next Up: Colorado Avalanche
Coyotes forward Lee Stempniak has scored 10 times in 11 games since being traded to the Coyotes a few weeks ago
The Phoenix Coyotes are in a cooling phase right now.
The team's franchise-tying nine-game winning streak came to an end on Tuesday with a loss to the Chicago Blackhawks, and the Coyotes eight-game shootout victory ride came to an end last night with a 4-3 shootout loss to the Nashville Predators.
The Coyotes went into last night's loss just two points shy of clinching a spot in the playoffs for the first time in more than a decade but were only able to come away with a single point and were lucky to get that.
The way it works in hockey -- unlike other sports -- is that if the game ends with a tie after a round of overtime, each team automatically gets one point. The winner of a shootout after overtime gets an additional point for winning the game.
After the first and second periods of last night's game, overtime and a chance at any points at all seemed out of the question for the Yotes.
Lee Stempniak scored first for the Coyotes early in the first period for his 10th goal in 11 games since he was traded to the Howlers a few weeks ago.
Nashville went on to score three unanswered goals -- putting the Yotes down 3-1 going into the third period.
With about six minutes remaining in regulation the Coyotes scored twice in about two minutes -- tying the game and sending the team into overtime with a chance to clinch a playoff spot.
It was not to be.
After a scoreless overtime period, the shootout was welcome because of the tremendous success the Coyotes have had this season in past shootout opportunities -- much thanks to goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov and a collection of forwards who all have enough razzle-dazzle to leave opposing goaltenders scratching their heads.
Lee Stempniak scored first but was followed by Nashville forward Cal O'Reilly putting a wrist shot past Bryzgalov.
Adrian Aucoin was next up for the Doggies but was stuffed by Nashville goalie Pekka Rinne.
Bryzgalov stopped the second Nashville attempt, putting the heat on himself and Coyotes forward Radim Vrbata in the next round.
Vrbata put a nice move on O'Reilly, leaving himself an open net, but the "clink" following his shot said it all: Vrbata hit the post, leaving the Coyotes playoff clinching win on the shoulders of Bryzgalov.
Bryzgalov -- despite his knack for shutting down opponents in this situation -- couldn't stop a 19-foot wrist shot from Predators forward David Legwand, and the Coyotes lost.
The Coyotes host the Colorado Avalanche in Glendale on Saturday. If the Yotes win, or even send the game to overtime, they will clinch a spot in the playoffs. You can see the game on Fox Sports Arizona at 2 p.m. For more details, check out the Coyotes' Web site here.
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