Oilers rally past Coyotes for OT win
EDMONTON, Alberta — For just the second time this season, the Edmonton Oilers have a two-game winning streak.
Matt Benning scored with 5:35 left in regulation to tie the game, and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins scored on a breakaway with 39.8 seconds left in overtime to lift the Oilers past the Arizona Coyotes 3-2 on Tuesday night.
The Oilers (10-13-2) rallied to win the battle between the bottom two teams in the Western Conference.
“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.
“We just kept it simple right from the start in the third (period). We were putting pucks behind them and putting a lot of pucks on net. We were getting the second and third opportunities and starting to roll around in their zone. It’s something we can learn from and apply for a full 60 minutes.”
Zack Kassian scored in the first period for Edmonton. Benning also had an assist for the Oilers.
Christian Fischer scored in the first period and Oliver Ekman-Larsson scored in the second for Arizona, and Max Domi had two assists.
The Oilers still have to leapfrog six teams to move into a playoff spot, but this is a start.
“We’re not out of it, by any means,” Kassian said. “People had such high expectations of us, and so did we, and we didn’t get the start we wanted to. Even tonight, it wasn’t the prettiest. But we found a way to win. They don’t ask how. Two points is two points. It’s a win.”
The Coyotes (6-17-4) came into the game in 31st place in the 31-team league, but they had won four of their previous six games. They felt they deserved better on a night when Oilers goalie Cam Talbot was the first star, making 29 saves.
“I think the guys deserved that win they played well in front of me,” said Arizona netminder Scott Wedgewood, who stopped 24 shots. “They have a high-powered offense and we kept them to two goals and one in overtime. We did great defensively, and I thought overall, we walk out of here with a win if we play that way moving forward.”
As usual, the Oilers fell behind early. Fischer scored on a goalmouth scramble at 6:22 of the opening period, marking the 17th time in 25 games that Edmonton gave up the first goal of the game.
The Oilers, despite looking sloppy and disjointed in the first period, managed to get that one back on a Kassian breakaway at 16:30 and had to feel very good about escaping the first period with a 1-1 tie.
The game bogged down to chess-match speed in the second period, with the Oilers not getting their 10th shot of the night until the 30-minute mark.
Arizona managed to pull ahead, though, with Larsson scoring on a power play at 19:11 to give the visitors a 2-1 lead with 20 minutes to go.
Edmonton pressed hard in the third and finally broke through on Benning’s goal at 14:25.
“We played a really good game,” Arizona coach Rick Tocchet said. “I really liked our start. The Oilers started to come a little bit, and we got a little antsy and they capitalized on a couple of their chances. We had two breakaways and two posts and a missed shot.”
Talbot said, “We needed a desperate effort tonight. We can’t afford to keep giving up points, especially at home. We need this to be a tough building to play in.
“Bennie got us a big goal at the end of the third, and anytime we go into three-on-three, I like our chances. It’s just a matter of giving our guys a chance to get there.”
NOTES: The Coyotes recalled and dressed C Dylan Strome, the third pick overall from the 2015 NHL Draft, from their AHL Tucson affiliate. He faced off against his brother C Ryan Strome, who is in his first year with the Oilers. Dylan also played junior hockey with Oilers C Connor McDavid. ... McDavid has factored in on nearly 47 percent of Edmonton’s goals this season. ... Coyotes starting G Antti Raanta didn’t make the trip to Edmonton. He is nursing an undisclosed injury. ... Oilers D Darnell Nurse has played 25 minutes or more six times this season after never reaching that mark all of last season. ... The Coyotes have scored the first goal in 15 of 26 games this year (second best in the NHL).