Ryan Nugent-Hopkins scores shootout winner, Oilers top Ducks
EDMONTON, Alberta (AP) — It took a shootout for the Edmonton Oilers to bust out of their slump.
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins scored the shootout winner and Edmonton snapped a four-game skid with a 2-1 victory over the Anaheim Ducks on Thursday night.
Kris Russell scored in regulation for the Oilers. They were outscored 10-0 in their previous two games.
“You never want to give away important points in divisional games, but we got the extra one and that’s what matters most,” said Oilers goalie Cam Talbot, who made 33 saves. “We leave on a road trip with some confidence against a really good team. The way we played, the way we defended, we can take a lot of positives from this game and carry it forward on the trip.”
Ryan Kesler scored for the Ducks. They had won three in a row.
Oilers captain Connor McDavid picked up an assist, his first point in four games, to end the longest drought of his brief NHL career.
“It’s been a while since we put a performance like that together. It’s a good win for us,” McDavid said. “It is so tight in the West, nobody is really out of it. It is easy to say and harder to do, but we’ll find a way here.”
After being denied on a breakaway earlier in the second period, McDavid set up the first goal with eight minutes remaining in the period. He dropped the puck back to Russell on an odd-man break to allow the defenseman to beat John Gibson.
The Ducks picked up their game in the second, though, putting 15 shots on Talbot. Anaheim tied it on a power play 18 seconds into the third period when Kesler tipped in Cam Fowler’s point shot.
“We didn’t have a very good start, it was like we were skating with our boots on and they were playing with their skates on,” Ducks coach Randy Carlyle said. “We were playing catch-up and if it wasn’t for our goalie, he kept us in the hockey game and gave us a chance.”
Edmonton had a pair of power plays in overtime and some great chances, but couldn’t score, sending the game to the shootout.
NOTES: It was the first of four meetings between the Oilers and Ducks this season, and first encounter since Anaheim prevailed over Edmonton in Game 7 of the second round of playoffs last year. ... Oilers forward Patrick Maroon served the first game of a two-game suspension for a hit to the head of Los Angeles’ Drew Doughty on Tuesday night.
Ducks: At Calgary on Saturday night.
Oilers: At Dallas on Saturday night.
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