Nugent-Hopkins stars in OT as Oilers edge Coyotes 3-2
EDMONTON, Alberta (AP) — Not a lot has gone right for the Edmonton Oilers this season, but they caught a couple of breaks on Tuesday night.
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins scored 4:20 into overtime as the Oilers defeated the Arizona Coyotes 3-2 for their second win in a row. The Coyotes had the best chances in overtime, ringing two shots off the crossbar, but a late turnover led to Nugent-Hopkins getting a breakaway and scoring his ninth goal of the season.
“I had to come up with a couple of big saves there and got lucky a couple of times off the post, but those are the bounces that haven’t been going our way so it’s nice to get a couple of those,” said Oilers goalie Cam Talbot, who made 29 saves, four in overtime. “I think we definitely have to build off it, but we can’t get too complacent.
“After we string a win or two together we seem to come out in the next game a little flat. We have to build off this and come out strong next game and build off that momentum moving forward.”
Zack Kassian and Matt Benning also scored for the Oilers, who have only won two straight games on one other occasion all season.
“It’s nice for our confidence right now,” Nugent-Hopkins said. “In each of our last two games we came back from being down a goal. We are showing a lot more fight, a lot more resilience right now. It should go a long way for our team.”
Christian Fischer and Oliver Ekman-Larsson scored for the Coyotes, who have lost three of their last four games.
“Their three goals were just breakdowns,” Fischer said. “I think for the most part we probably out-chanced them and limited their top guys. But three-on-three is anybody’s game and it all it takes is one bad bounce or a missed shot wide. We got a point and we move on and go to Calgary.”
Fischer showed a great second effort to lift his own rebound over outstretched Oilers goalie Cam Talbot during a scramble in front to give Arizona an early lead. It was the 17th time in 25 games this season that Edmonton has trailed 1-0.
Kassian finally converted on one of many breakaways this season, beating Coyotes goalie Scott Wedgewood for his first goal of the campaign to tie the game 1-1 with 3:30 left in the first.
Arizona regained the lead with 49 seconds left in the second period as Ekman-Larsson’s power-play point blast beat Talbot.
Benning’s shot hit a defender in front and deflected into the Arizona net to send the game to extra time with 5:35 left in the third period.
The Coyotes had the best chances in overtime, ringing two shots off the crossbar, but a late turnover led to Nugent-Hopkins getting a breakaway and scoring his ninth goal of the season.
Notes: It was the first of four meetings between the teams this season, with the next coming on Jan. 12 in Arizona. . With four wins in their six games before facing Edmonton, the Coyotes had won more in that stretch than in their first 20 games. They had also won three straight on the road. . Although it was just the 10th NHL game of his career, it was the second time Arizona’s Dylan Strome had played in a game against older brother Ryan, a forward with the Oilers. . Coyotes defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson suffered an upper-body injury and did not return.
Coyotes: are at Calgary on Thursday.
Oilers: host Toronto on Thursday.