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Coyotes top Oilers in final second of OT

by Jerry Brown

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- When playing the Edmonton Oilers, the struggling Arizona Coyotes suddenly become unbeatable.

And when the game goes to overtime, Oliver Ekman-Larsson usually does most of the damage.

Ekman-Larsson scored his third overtime goal of the season, a slap shot with :00.3 remaining to give the Coyotes a 2-1 victory Tuesday that snapped a franchise-record nine-game home losing streak.

The Coyotes had lost four in a row and were 1-7-2 in their past 10 games, but their struggles don't seem to matter against the Oilers. Arizona (11-16-4) has beaten Edmonton four times this season, accounting for 36 percent of its victories.

The Coyotes have beaten Edmonton nine straight times and have a point in 17 straight against the Oilers (14-0-3), the longest active streak in the NHL. Arizona's last regulation loss to Edmonton was Jan. 25, 2011, when the Oilers beat the Coyotes 4-3 in Glendale.

It was Arizona's first victory at Gila River Arena since the Coyotes edged the Toronto Maple Leafs 3-2 on Nov. 4.

Ekman-Larsson scored overtime winners at home against the Los Angeles Kings on Oct. 11 and the Florida Panthers on Oct. 30. This time, he took a pass from ex-Oiler Sam Ganger and slapped a dancing puck past goalie Ben Scrivens for the win.

"Winning is fun," he said. "I almost forgot how it felt. It's a great feeling."

It was the end of a long shift, but Ekman-Larsson felt he had one good rush left in him.

"I took a look, there were 15 seconds left. I was out there for a minute and a half and I was kind of tired," said Ekman-Larson, who had his grandparents and cousins from Sweden in the crowd. "But when I saw the guys kept the puck in I said 'All right, let's do this one more time.'

"I don't know what it is, but I'm not going to complain about scoring overtime goals. It would be nice to have a few 5-on-5 goals too."

Ekman-Larsson's teammates don't mind his flair for the dramatics.

"We should leave him out there for the whole five minutes," said Arizona goalie Devan Dubnyk, who stacked the pads to rob Justin Schultz earlier in overtime among his 30 saves. "That was special.

"From my end I didn't even see the puck go in the net. I just saw the light go on. I thought the period was over. Looking up and seeing point-three on the clock was awesome."

Dubnyk has six of Arizona's 11 wins this season.

With general manager Craig MacTavish and new coachTodd Nelson taking over behind the bench for Dallas Eakins, who was fired Monday, the Oilers lost for the 16th time in their past 17 games (1-11-5), including five in a row.

"Heartbreaker," Nelson said. "You know it was five seconds left when the play was on the wall near our bench. All of a sudden they have a rush and (Ekman-Larsson) makes a great shot."

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins gave Edmonton a 1-0 lead in the first period. But Arizona forward Brandon McMillan tied it in the second period, when the Coyotes set a franchise record with 27 shots on goal. Scrivens made 26 of his 42 saves in the middle period to keep his team in the game.

"I don't know what happened. We just got outworked in the second period and we can't have that," Nugent-Hopkins said. "I think a lot of the time this year the second has been out best period. We bounced back a bit in the third, we just couldn't find a way to get that second one tonight."

Arizona played most of the game with five defensemen. The Coyotes lost Michael Stone to an upper-body injury after he was checked into the boards by Edmonton's Steven Pinizzotto in the first period. Stone was able to skate off the ice on his own power but headed immediately to the dressing room and did not return.

The Oilers outshot the Coyotes 11-7 in the first period and scored the only goal. Nugent-Hopkins carried aBrad Hunt pass into the zone, used Arizona defenseman Zbynek Michalek as a screen and put a wrist shot between his legs from the left faceoff dot, beating Dubnyk to the short side at 14:56. It was Nugent-Hopkins' eighth goal of the season, his third in the past 17 games.

The Coyotes answered with a strong second period. They outshot Edmonton 27-6, eclipsing the franchise record of 25 by the former Winnipeg Jets against the Calgary Flames on March 5, 1982. But the Coyotes managed one goal and needed help from the fourth line to even the game.

Joe Vitale spun off the left side boards and found McMillan alone with a cross-ice pass behind the right circle. McMillan put a wrist shot just under the crossbar at 10:24 for his first goal in 44 games, dating back to March 10, 2014, against the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Scrivens stopped the rest, making seven saves in the crease alone and frustrating a Coyotes team that kept firing away at the net.

Each team had a power play and scoring opportunities in the third period but came up empty. Dubnyk made huge saves onTeddy Purcell and Nugent-Hopkins early and another on Taylor Hall with 4:30 left to push the game to overtime.

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