Coyotes chew on Oilers

The Phoenix Coyotes enjoy playing the role of the spoiler.

Edmonton Oilers Robert Nilsson trips up Phoenix Coyote Scottie Upshall during the Coyotes’ 3-2 win in Glendale

Coyotes 3 Oilers 2

GLENDALE, Ariz. — The Phoenix Coyotes enjoy playing the role of the spoiler.

The Coyotes knocked off Vancouver last weekend and then soured Edmonton’s playoff hopes with a 3-2 win over the Oilers on Thursday night.

The also-ran Coyotes are playing with a purpose and providing a challenge for clubs fighting for spots in the post-season.

“How this team is responding is real positive,” Coyotes coach Wayne Gretzky said. “I thought against Vancouver was a good effort, and again tonight was an equally good effort. I’m really happy the way our young guys are progressing.”

Martin Hanzal scored the winning goal, and kept the Oilers from gaining critical points in their chase of a Western Conference playoff spot. Edmonton lost its third straight while Phoenix won for the third time in five games.

“We lost our composure in our zone (in the second period), and that cost us the game,” Oilers defenceman Sheldon Souray said.

“Right now, we’re getting down to the nitty-gritty in the schedule and can only look ahead.”

Matthew Lombardi had a goal and an assist, and Ken Klee also scored for Phoenix. Hanzal’s second-period goal stood up as the game-winner. Ales Kotalik and Ales Hemsky scored Edmonton’s goals. Kotalik scored his 16th of the season at 10:01 and Hemsky got the Oilers within 3-2 just 43 seconds later when he put a shot between the legs of defenceman Kurt Sauer and by Ilya Bryzgalov.

The Oilers have eight games remaining.

“We’re running out of defeats,” coach Craig MacTavish said.

“I thought we played well, but had a breakdown in the second period. They get nine shots, score three goals, and that did us. We had an inability to survive that period.”

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