Third Period Woes Cost Coyotes Win Against Visiting Oilers

The Coyotes surrendered three goals in the third period to a poor Edmonton squad in Tuesday's 4-3 loss against the Oilers.

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Late Breakdowns Cost Coyotes In Loss To Oilers

Someone may want to tell the Phoenix Coyotes that they still have a bit of hockey to play before the All-Star break.

Phoenix failed to put away the lowly Edmonton Oilers on Tuesday, and it cost them in the 4-3 loss to the "visiting" Oilers, who may have had just as many fans in the building as there were Coyote fans.

Things started off well for the Coyotes. Scottie Upshall netted a power play goal in the first to put the Coyotes up 1-0 after one. Kyle Turris extended that lead on a brilliant initial pass from Keith Yandle, which touched Ray Whitney in between to put the Coyotes up 2-0.

Then things got shaky for Phoenix. The next three goals in the game came from an Edmonton stick as they seized the lead, 3-2 in the third period. Jean-Francois Jaques netted the first for Edmonton, before Taylor Hall added the Oilers' second power play goal since Christmas. Edmonton had converted just one of their previous 50+ chances before Hall's equalizer. 

While Linus Omark's goal could have been the backbreaker, Upshall kept the Coyotes in it, taking a crisp pass from Shane Doan and putting it past Edmonton netminder Devan Dubnyk to tie it back up for the Coyotes. All things looked to be going to overtime, guaranteeing the Coyotes at least one point.

Unfortunately for Phoenix, they had a break down on the defensive end at the worst possible time. Dustin Penner wristed one home past Ilya Bryzgalov, who may have been screened by Shawn Horcoff, who was uncontested in front of the Phoenix net. Despite a power play in the waning seconds of the game, the Coyotes were unable to net a quick one.

If there is good news for Phoenix after the loss, it's that Keith Yandle was selected as a replacement for this month's All Star Game in Raleigh. The defenseman will replace Atlanta's Tobias Enstrom in the game. He joins Oliver Ekman-Larsson, who will be competing in the skills competition, as the only Phoenix representatives.

While many teams are starting their All Star vacations now, the Coyotes still have one more game to attend to before the break. They'll head to Colorado for a tilt with the Avalanche before the break. 

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Phoenix Coyotes Host Lowly Edmonton Oilers, Look For Quick Turnaround

After a hot start in the early part of 2011, the Phoenix Coyotes have seen quite a dropoff in play over their last four games. The Desert Dogs have won just one of their last four, including Saturday's disappointing affair against the Los Angeles Kings.

Tuesday presents an opportunity to jump back in the win column, when the Coyotes host the bottom feeding Edmonton Oilers. The Oilers are in familiar territory, sitting in last in the Western Conference and 29th in the league, with just 36 points. 

If there has been a bright spot for the Oilers this season, it's been rookie Taylor Hall. Last year's first overall pick in the NHL Entry Draft, Hall leads the team with 15 goals, and his 28 points are tied for third on the team.

The Coyotes will look to turn it around after a couple of lackluster performances, but the biggest issue facing them is their struggles on the blue line. New acquisition Michal Rozsival has finished with a minus rating in two of his three games for the Coyotes. The good news for Phoenix is that they could get veteran defenseman Ed Jovanovski back from an upper body injury.

Jovo suffered the injury on the Coyotes' win over the Toronto Maple Leafs, after taking a blindside hit, courtesy of forward Mike Brown. The hit left Brown suspended for three games.

Despite recent defensive breakdowns, Keith Yandle has continued to star for the Coyotes. Phoenix's newest star has registered a point in seven consecutive games, including two in the loss to LA on Saturday.

Yandle isn't the only Coyote streaking, however. Lee Stempniak has also elevated his play of late, after going MIA in November and December. Stempniak has points in five consecutive games, and goals in three consecutive games, including a pair against the Kings on Saturday.

Tuesday's contest marks the last home game for the Coyotes until Saturday. They will next hit the road for two before returning for a game on Wednesday against the Vancouver Canucks. The road has proven to be more friendly than the Coyotes near-empty home building, where they are just 10-8-5 on the season. One would think that a tilt against the Oilers would be just what the doctor ordered for these Coyotes.

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