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Coyotes edge McDavid-less Oilers 3-2 in OT

Arizona Coyotes' Matias Maccelli (63) and Michael Kesselring (5) celebrate a goal against the Edmonton Oilers during overtime NHL action in Edmonton on Friday April 12, 2024. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson Arizona Coyotes' Matias Maccelli (63) and Michael Kesselring (5) celebrate a goal against the Edmonton Oilers during overtime NHL action in Edmonton on Friday April 12, 2024. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
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There are more questions than answers surrounding the Arizona Coyotes’ future, but the team continues to persevere on the ice. 

Matias Maccelli scored the overtime winner as the Coyotes defeated the Edmonton Oilers 3-2 on Friday.

Maccelli notched his 15th of the season 1:34 into the extra session, picking the top corner on Oilers goalie Calvin Pickard, who had made a couple of huge stops a minute earlier.

The victory came amid reports that Arizona general manager Bill Armstrong flew to Edmonton on Friday and spoke with players about the team's potential move to Utah before the game.

“I think we played rock solid, they had a push and I think we held on, our goalie made some good saves,” Coyotes coach Andre Tourigny said. 

“I think we battled. The guys are unbelievable because they kept their focus. If you look at our game there, there was a moment at the end of the second period where you think that was a bit of shinny hockey, but other than that, we played rock solid in terms of structure and focus. I’m really impressed by the boys.”

Josh Doan and Logan Cooley also scored for the Coyotes (35-40-5), who have won four of their last five.

“I think our guys are showing how proud they are and how much they care for each other and how much they want to have success together,” Tourigny said. “It’s cool to feel that, it’s cool to see them cheering each other, pushing in the same direction like that. I think it’s a great feeling.”

No Coyotes players were made available to media after the game. Tourigny refused to comment on reports about the relocation.

Adam Henrique and Darnell Nurse scored for the Oilers (48-24-6), who saw a three-game winning streak halted. 

Karel Vejmelka made 37 saves for Arizona and Pickard stopped 25 of 28 shots for Edmonton.

The Oilers remain second in the Pacific Division, three points back of the Vancouver Canucks, but clinched home ice for the opening round of the playoffs with the single point Friday. 

“That is nice, but you want that second point,” Henrique said. “We didn’t have the best start. We still had opportunities to score, but couldn’t find a way to get the lead.”

Arizona started the scoring 5:20 into the opening period as Pickard kicked out a huge rebound on a Jack McBain shot and Doan was quick to pounce on it and record his fourth goal of the season.

Pickard was strong in net to keep it a one-goal game through 20 minutes as his team was outplayed in the first. 

The Oilers did have a few high-quality opportunities, including Evander Kane hitting a post behind Coyotes netminder Karel Vejmelka midway through the period.

Edmonton pulled even 1:49 into the middle frame as the rebound from a Kane backhander came to Henrique parked in front and he slid his 23rd of the season through Vejmelka’s legs.

The Coyotes regained the lead four minutes later as Pickard allowed a big bounce on the initial shot of a four-on-two chance, allowing Cooley to bat home his 20th of the season. Cooley joined Chicago's Connor Bedard as the only players aged 19 or younger to have 20 goals this season.

The Oilers tied the game up again just 1:12 into the third period as a Nurse point shot found its way through a ton of traffic in front for his 10th of the campaign.

Edmonton outshot Arizona 39-25 in regulation, including 18-8 in the third.

“Early on, we were having to defend more than we wanted to, but as the game wore on we built up a lot of opportunities,” said Oilers head coach Kris Knoblauch. “We were the better team in the second half of the game.”

NOTES

It was the second of three meetings between the two squads this season. Edmonton won the first encounter 6-3 in Arizona on Feb. 19. They match up against each other again on April 17 in a game that could be the Coyotes' last in Arizona. Multiple reports say the team will be moved to Salt Lake City this summer. … Star Oilers forward Connor McDavid missed the game with a lower-body injury but is considered day-to-day. The Oilers captain is stuck at 99 assists on the season, needing only one to become just the fourth player in NHL history to hit 100. … Also out with minor injuries for Edmonton were Sam Carrick and Cody Ceci … Out with injuries for the Coyotes were Nick Bjugstad (undisclosed), Travis Dermott (upper body) and Barrett Hayton (lower body).

UP NEXT

Coyotes: Wrap up a five-game road trip against the Calgary Flames on Monday.

Oilers: Play host to the Vancouver Canucks in the third game of a four-game homestand on Saturday.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 12, 2024.

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