The Phoenix Coyotes came into Monday's matchup with the Vancouver Canucks on a five-game winning streak and would not let it end without a fight. Ryan Kesler would net the game-winner in the sixth round of the shootout to give the Canucks the 2-1 win.
The headline going into the game was coach Dave Tippett's decision to rest goaltender Mike Smith despite his stellar play of late. Smith was named the NHL's number one star of the week Monday after winning four games in four starts and recording a .975 percentage.
With Smith on the bench, Jason LaBarbera would be in between the pipes for the Coyotes against the Canucks. LaBarbera came into the game with a 4-1-0 record and a .924 save percentage vs. Vancouver. LaBarbera played well filling in for Smith, stopping 21 shots.
The Canucks played very uneven the whole game. The Coyotes prevented them from getting a single shot on goal until almost halfway through the first period, and in the third period the Canucks only managed to get two shots on net.
A rare Canuck highlight came midway through the second after David Booth managed to hold off Keith Yandle and put the puck past LaBarbera stick side. The goal was Booth's 10th of the season and gave the Canucks a 1-0 lead going into the final period.
The Canucks rarely give up a lead late in the game, recording a 22-0 record when going into the third with a lead.
While the game lacked highlight reel offensive plays, it was full of defensive ones. The teams racked up a total of 48 hits, many of them being open-ice checks. Taylor Pyatt took a big hit early in the second period that put him head first into the boards. He did not return after the hit.
Things looked grim for the 'Yotes as the clock began to tick down, but the Coyotes would keep the pressure on. After a bad turnover by Byron Blitz in his own zone, Keith Yandle got his hands on the puck and ripped a shot past Roberto Luongo from the point. It would have been a basic stop for Luongo, except it was tipped by his own defenseman on the way to the net.
With the score tied, the teams headed to overtime. It would be the eighth time in 10 games the Canucks would play an overtime period.
After an uneventful OT period the teams would go into a shootout. Before Kesler's game-winner, Cody Hodson, Alex Edler and David Booth scored for the Canucks, while Ray Whitney, Gilbert Brule and Mikkel Boedker all put the puck past Luongo in the shootout for Phoenix.
It was obvious Luongo had done his homework on Radim Vrbata after he was in perfect position to stop his patented backhand shootout move.
While the win streak may be over, the Coyotes still managed to get a valuable point in the standings by sending the game to overtime. They are now three points up on Colorado and Calgary for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference.
The Coyotes will be in action against the Los Angeles Kings Thursday. The Desert Dogs currently sit two points behind their Pacific Division rival and with a win could find themselves moving up into a tie for seventh playoff spot. The puck drops at 8:30 p.m. and can be seen on Fox Sports Plus.