Coyotes force OT late, fall in shootout
WINNIPEG, Manitoba — It’s certainly not the way Bryan Little or the Winnipeg Jets would like to win hockey games.
Still, they’ll take the points.
Little scored the only goal of the shootout and tallied in regulation, and the Winnipeg Jets blew a late two-goal lead before beating the Arizona Coyotes 4-3 Sunday for their fourth straight win.
"We didn’t make it easy on ourselves, getting into some penalty trouble at the end," said Little, who scored the game’s first goal.
Michael Frolik and Dustin Byfuglien also scored for the Jets (25-14-8), who earned points in their last six games dating to Jan. 10 against the Los Angeles Kings.
"Tonight we let it slip a little bit. Still, it still feels good to get both points," said Little. "We’d rather not win that way and give up leads, but at the same time we are still managing to get wins and we are still managing to stick with it and come away (with points)."
Lauri Koripikoski and Tobias Rieder scored for the Coyotes (16-24-5) to force overtime.
Oliver Ekman-Larsson also scored for Arizona and Shane Doan had two assists.
"Obviously, you lose a game and there is not a lot to take out of it," said Coyotes captain Shane Doan, who had two assists on the night after returning from injury. "But you’re down 3-1 on the road, on a back-to-back night, that’s a big point to get. To find a way to come back and find a way back into the game, it’s huge."
Ondrej Pavelec made 28 saves and for the Jets. Mike Smith stopped 27 shots for the Coyotes.
The Jets played without Mathieu Perreault, who missed the game with an upper-body injury after taking a vicious cross-check to the arm from Chicago Blackhawks forward Daniel Carcillo in Friday’s 4-2 win.
Doan returned to the Coyotes’ lineup after missing two games with a lower-body injury.
"I didn’t have very good legs," he said. "You get an assist early and all of the sudden everything feels a little bit better and you feel like you’re involved in the game, but your legs aren’t as good as you want them to be."
Ladd and Little, Winnipeg’s top point producers, orchestrated an early 2-on-1 break for the Jets resulting in the first goal. Ladd fed Little for his team-leading 18th of the year at the 4:08 mark.
Little whiffed on the shot enough to fool Smith, who was down as the puck sailed into the top corner.
It took the Coyotes nearly eight minutes to get their first shot on goal, but Ekman-Larsson fired home his 12th goal past a screened Pavelec.
Frolik scored his 10th on a gaffe by the Coyotes with 1:39 gone in the second period to give the Jets a 2-1 lead.
Smith, playing the puck behind his own net, passed it to Connor Murphy, who lost the handle on it. The puck found its way in front of the Coyotes net and onto the stick of Frolik, who put the puck in the net that was still vacated.
"I think we are on a roll and we want to keep going," Frolik said.
Smith kept his team within a goal with just moments left in the second period as he slid from post-to-post to rob Little of his second goal.
Byfuglien extended the Jets’ lead to 3-1 as he wired a wrist shot above Smith at 9:36 mark of the third after Scheifele found him on a 2-on-1 break.
But Korpikoski cut the lead in half with under 10 minutes to go and moments later Rieder completed the comeback with his sixth on the year at 16:10.
"To tie it up in the third and to get points shows a lot of will and fight in our team," Coyotes defenseman Keith Yandle said of the comeback.