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game recap

Coyotes end drought, defeat Oilers

After being shut out past two games, Arizona breaks through against Edmonton

by Jerry Brown / Correspondent

GLENDALE, Ariz. - Getting defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson back in the lineup was a boost for the Arizona Coyotes on Tuesday.

So was facing the Edmonton Oilers, a team that hasn't been able to find a way to defeat them in regulation in quite some time.

Martin Hanzal and Tobias Rieder scored second-period goals and Ekman-Larsson returned from a six-game absence with an assist and a plus-3 rating in the Coyotes' 4-2 win against the Oilers at Gila River Arena.

Alex Tanguay and Max Domi scored and Mike Smith made 27 saves for the Coyotes (32-34-7), who extended their franchise-record point streak against the Oilers to 23 games (19-0-4), including 4-0-1 this season.

Video: EDM@ARI: Eberle jams it past Talbot on the power play

"We tend to play well against them. I don't know what it is, but I'm not giving any secrets away," said Smith, who is 13-1-1 in his career against Edmonton. "They are a skilled group and we always talk before the game how if we don't manage the puck and turn it over, we're going to be in a run-and-gun."

Jordan Eberle and Mark Letestu scored goals and Connor McDavid had two assists for Edmonton (29-40-7), who haven't defeated the Coyotes in regulation since Jan. 25, 2011. Of a possible 46 points over that span, the Oilers have gotten four.

"I don't know any reason why they have our number," said Eberle, one of the few Oilers who has been around for all 23 attempts. "When I came into the League, it was Minnesota we couldn't beat."

Cam Talbot made 27 saves for the Oilers, who lost center Ryan Nugent-Hopkins to an upper-body injury when he was hit by Arizona's Connor Murphy in the second period.

Video: EDM@ARI: Talbot denies Martinook and Vermette

"I'll have to look at [the replay] again. I didn't sense that there was anything dirty," Oilers coach Todd McLellan said. "Hopefully he's good [Wednesday]."

Ekman-Larsson was on the ice for all four Arizona goals and helped the Coyotes end a two-game scoring drought 5:38 into the game.

He sent a wobbling puck to the net from the blue line near the Edmonton bench. Talbot attempted to glove it, but lost the handle and it rolled right to Tanguay, who swept in the rebound for his fourth goal in nine games with Arizona.

The goal ended a scoreless streak of 126:32 for the Coyotes.

Video: EDM@ARI: Letestu one-times Sekera's feed past Smith

"[Ekman-Larsson] was pretty good. He was so smooth back there in all situations," said Arizona coach Dave Tippett, who is 24-2-4 against Edmonton since becoming Coyotes coach in 2009. "It was nice to get him back."

Smith smiled when he was asked about Ekman-Larsson's impact.

"You can't replace that guy. He's a special player and when he's out … our defense has done a great job filling the void, but those minutes, the skill and the leadership is a lot to cover for."

The Oilers got the goal back quickly. With Michael Stone in the penalty box for Arizona, McDavid put a shot on net that Smith stopped but couldn't control. Lauri Korpikoski jammed at the puck several times before it went across the crease, where Eberle scored at 9:04.

Video: EDM@ARI: Smith denies Draisaitl's one-timer in front

The Coyotes had a 5-on-3 power play chance for the third straight game when McDavid and Anton Lander took penalties 1:04 apart. But Arizona managed one shot and hasn't scored in 3:28 of 5-on-3 over the past three games.

Arizona took the lead back on a power play in the second period. With Eberle off for high-sticking Ekman-Larsson, Stone stopped a clearing attempt at the top of the circles. His shot was deflected by Hanzal and over Talbot's shoulder at 12:22 to make it 2-1.

Hanzal's goal was his first in 15 games.

The Coyotes extended the lead to 3-1 at 17:02 when Rieder grabbed Brad Richardson's faceoff win and raced around the circle to the net. Talbot poked the puck away initially, but Rieder regained control and scored his second goal in the past 21 games.

Video: EDM@ARI: Tanguay buries rebound past Talbot

Edmonton answered before the end of the period with another power-play goal. With Doan in the box for holding, McDavid and Andrej Sekera set up Letestu for a one-timer that beat a screened Smith at 17:56 to make it 3-2.

Edmonton hadn't scored a power-play goal in seven of the past eight games. But two wasn't enough Tuesday.

"We battled hard and we won the special teams game, something we said we had to do before the game," Letestu said. "We just couldn't get the third goal we needed."

Smith made huge third-period saves on Zack Kassian with nine minutes left and Nail Yakupov with 4:45 remaining. Domi's empty-net goal with 45.5 seconds left ended a 13-game drought.

Video: Coyotes double up Oilers, 4-2

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