The Phoenix Coyotes took a huge step towards staying in playoff contention on Wednesday, and it was production from their third line that helped them get a huge win over the Edmonton Oilers. The Oilers are also fighting for a playoff spot, and the win moved the Coyotes into ninth place (one point behind the Detroit Red Wings) and dropped the Oilers to 12th place. The Coyotes’ third line accounted for two of the three goals against the Oilers, with Boyd Gordon and David Moss each finishing the night with two points. Mike Smith turned in another solid performance in net, stopping 29 shots.
Gordon’s goal was just his fourth of the season, and Moss and Rob Klinkhammer had the assists on it. Those three players make up a third line that has started to deliver for the Coyotes lately, and could have a big hand in helping them reach the playoffs. Klinkhammer has four goals and nine points in just 15 games after being called up from the Portland Pirates of the AHL, while Gordon now has four goals and 13 points. Moss buried an empty-netter to seal the win, and while it was only his fifth goal of the season he now ranks seventh on the team with 20 points.
Smith appears ready to put the team on his back again and lead the way into the postseason, but the Coyotes will need depth scoring like they got on Wednesday to continue to help him out. The team lacks legitimate scoring threats – while captain Shane Doan leads the way with 13 goals and 24 points he has been inconsistent for most of the season and often scores in streaks then goes cold. Coach Dave Tippett has found a great third line in Phoenix, and he would be wise to let Klinkhammer, Gordon and Moss keep seeing big minutes in the season’s final eight games.