If the Arizona Coyotes are to make the NHL playoffs, they might have to rely on Adin Hill.
With starting goaltender Darcy Kuemper listed as week-to-week with a lower body injury and Antti Raanta placed on injured reserve earlier Tuesday with a lower-body injury, Hill made 35 saves — including seven in overtime — as the Coyotes snapped Colorado’s seven-game winning streak with a 5-4 shootout victory.
Hill will likely be counted on again when the Coyotes host the San Jose Sharks for a two-game series starting Friday.
Hill’s most impressive saves came with the Avalanche on the power play in overtime. He made a sprawling stop on a Cale Makar one-timer and a blocker save on the rebound.
“A goalie’s job every game is to just try and give your team a chance to win,” the 24-year-old Hill said. “It’s huge, we got the win (Tuesday).”
It was just the fifth start and sixth appearance for Hill this season. He’s 2-3-1 with a 2.97 goals-against average and .906 save percentage.
“He’s a battler, Hilly,” Coyotes coach Rick Tocchet said. “He hasn’t played (regularly) in a year, and all of a sudden he’s back in the fold. We put him in tough spots, and he’s done a nice job for us.”
The Coyotes will need that to continue, as they’re currently in fifth place in the West Division. The top four make the playoffs.
The Coyotes blew a two-goal lead before rallying from a two-goal deficit to force overtime.
Jakob Chychrun and Alex Goligoski scored early in the first period for Arizona before Lawson Crouse and Phil Kessel scored 2:03 apart in the third to tie the score with 11:19 remaining.
“It’s a huge, character win for us,” said Christian Dvorak, who scored his league-leading fourth shootout goal and second game-deciding goal. “(We were) up 2-0 and then down 4-2. We could have just folded, but we had a huge comeback. We got a couple goals in the third and it was nice to win in the shootout.”
The Sharks are coming off a two-game sweep of visiting Los Angeles, as goalie Martin Jones came up big.
Jones made 42 saves Wednesday in a 4-2 victory as the Sharks won consecutive games for just the second time this season.
That came on the heels of a 41-save performance Monday in a 2-1 victory. He became the first Sharks goalie with at least 40 saves in consecutive games since Arturs Irbe in 1993, according to SportRadar.
Jones has allowed just five goals in his past four games, going 3-0-1, after getting pulled from five of his first 15 starts this season.
“This is probably the best I’ve seen him play in a long, long time,” Sharks coach Bob Boughner said. “He looks confident, and he looks like he’s reading the play better.”
Evander Kane scored twice, and Brent Burns had two assists.
“We knew they were huge, huge games,” Burns said. “You want to win at home every game and it’s always just about establishing wins and getting points, so that was good.”
–Field Level Media