GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP)The Arizona Coyotes were missing two of their best defensemen, not the ideal situation when facing two of the NHL’s best scorers.
The holes in the lineup only seemed to sharpen the Coyotes’ focus.
Conor Garland and Lawson Crouse scored two minutes apart in the second period, Antti Raanta stopped 30 shots and the Coyotes ended a five-game losing streak with a 3-0 win over the Edmonton Oilers on Tuesday night.
”It’s not really talked about, but I think everyone in the back of your head realizes the situation,” Coyotes defenseman Alex Goligoski said. ”Guys were dialed in tonight.”
Arizona was without two of its top defensemen, Oliver Ekman-Larsson and Jason Demers, due to lower-body injuries.
Edmonton’s lineup includes Leon Draisaitl and Connor McDavid, the NHL’s top two scorers, so the timing wasn’t great.
The Coyotes made up for the losses by preventing rushes with tight checking and by pushing the high-scoring Oilers to the perimeter.
Raanta had his 13th career shutout – second this season – and Todd Dvorak added an empty-net goal to cap Arizona’s second win in 10 games.
”The team made my life easier,” Raanta said. ”Even though they have those skill guys, we pretty much kept them to the outside. Whenever you can get a 3-0 win against a team like that, it really gives credit to the whole team.”
Edmonton scored 26 goals during a five-game winning streak before arriving in the desert on Sunday. The Oilers missed on some good chances early and couldn’t solve Raanta, getting shut out for the fourth time this season.
Mikko Koskinen stopped 25 shots for Edmonton, which had won five straight.
”We just didn’t have any juice tonight,” Oilers coach Dave Tippett said. ”We just finished three emotional games and we didn’t have much in the tank.”
Once the Pacific Division leader, the Coyotes dropped to fifth with eight losses in nine games. Arizona played a solid game Saturday against Chicago, but lost 3-2 in a shootout.
Defenseman Ilya Lybushkin set the tone against Edmonton, Draisaitl with an open-ice hit late in the first period.
Arizona scored early in the second when Garland one-timed a cross-crease pass from Taylor Hall past Koskinen for his team-leading 18th of the season.
Crouse scored a short-handed goal 2:08 later on a shot that caromed off diving Edmonton defenseman Oscar Klefbom past Koskinen.
Raanta turned away a flurry of shots during an Edmonton power play late in the second period and stopped Draisaitl from just outside the crease midway through the third.
”We couldn’t really get on the inside tonight, couldn’t squeak one by,” said Draisaitl, who had his 11-game points streak end. ”Those games happen and you just have to recover from it.”
NOTES: Ekman-Larsson, Arizona’s captain, missed his second straight game and Demers his first. … Edmonton F James Neal missed his third straight game with a foot injury. …. Arizona assigned F Barrett Hayton to Tucson of the AHL for conditioning. He suffered a shoulder injury while leading team Canada to gold in the World Juniors last month.
Edmonton: Hosts Nashville on Thursday.
Arizona: Hosts Carolina Thursday.
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