GLENDALE, Ariz. — Two teams that went from bad to a whole lot better in recent weeks squared off on Monday.
Advantage to Phoenix by a whisker.
Ladislav Nagy scored the deciding goal in a shootout to give the Coyotes a 5-4 victory over St. Louis, snapping the Blues’ three-game winning streak.
The Coyotes salvaged the finale of a three-game homestand after returning to Arizona on a seven-game winning streak.
“Obviously coming off the road winning seven you want to do a little bit more than win one at home,” Phoenix captain Shane Doan said. “We did our best to keep that one interesting and took the long way around to win it.”
The first two skaters for both teams failed to score in the shootout before the Blues’ Doug Weight beat Mikael Tellqvist. But Doan kept the Coyotes alive with a goal against Manny Legace, and then Tellqvist blocked Peter Sejna’s shot to set the stage for Nagy’s winner.
Ed Jovanovski scored twice and had an assist for Phoenix, and nearly won it in overtime when his shot careened off the crossbar with less than a minute to play.
“One of the things we talked about in practice and went over continuously is that I didn’t think we shot enough from the point,” Phoenix coach Wayne Gretzky said. “Tonight he was shooting the puck. He almost had a hat trick.”
Jovanovski’s drive from just inside the blue line, his 11th goal of the season, put Phoenix ahead 4-3 at 16:27 of the third period. But Sejna’s shot glanced off the skate of the Coyotes’ Yanic Perreault into the net at 18:15 to tie it at 4 and force overtime.
“Kind of a bad bounce,” Tellqvist said, “but stuff like that happens in hockey and you just have to forget about it and keep going.”
Phoenix, 3-0 against St. Louis this season, broke a 2-2 deadlock with 50 seconds left in the second period when Jovanovski sailed a shot high into the net from the point.
St. Louis tied it at 3 at 18:50 of the third period on a sharp shot, also from the point on a power play, by Dennis Wideman.
The Coyotes dominated the first period, outshooting the Blues 19-7 while taking a 2-0 lead.
“The last 40 minute of the game we played the way we wanted to,” the Blues’ Christian Backman said. “We’re playing good right now, and we know that. We’re battling back and we’re happy about that, but with a better start we can win this game.”
The Coyotes scored three minutes in on Perreault’s team-high 16th goal, a shot from the left side that sailed to the right of Legace into the net.
Phoenix made it 2-0 with a power-play goal at 14:19 by Jeremy Roenick, who deflected in Jovanovski’s shot for his sixth goal.
But St. Louis tied it in a 2 1/2-minute span early in the second period. Backman slipped the puck past Tellqvist from in front at 3:36, then Radek Dvorak scored on a breakaway at 5:54.
“We came in here on the road and got a point,” St. Louis coach Andy Murray said. “We’re not pleased with the way it started but we’re pleased with the way we battled.”