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Domi helps Coyotes continue domination of Oilers

by Jerry Brown /

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The worst team in the Western Conference in 2014-15, the Arizona Coyotes, look like anything but a doormat 16 games into this season.

Shane Doan and Stefan Elliott scored goals 3:42 apart in the second period, and the Coyotes continued their domination of the Edmonton Oilers with a 4-1 win Thursday.

The Coyotes have won three straight, are second in the Pacific Division at 9-6-1 (19 points) after 16 games, including a 5-1-0 record within the division in what was supposed to be another painful rebuilding season. But so far, the Coyotes, who lost 50 games in regulation last season, are rewriting the prepared script.

"It's a lot better than being at the bottom and having to chase it, but we recognize it's very early," said Doan, who put Arizona ahead to stay with a first-period power-play goal. "Talk to me when we have 15 or 16 games to go and hopefully we're in the hunt."

Max Domi scored his eighth goal, tops among NHL rookies, and had an assist. Oliver Ekman-Larsson had a goal and Mike Smith made 27 saves for the Coyotes, who have beaten Edmonton six straight times and are 16-0-3 in the past 19, extending the franchise record for consecutive games with at least one point earned against one team.

Arizona has won three straight for the first time since opening the season 3-0-0. The Coyotes have had to come from behind in each game, but so far this season that hasn't been a problem.

"The way we are winning shows that we are determined," Smith said. "It hasn't been easy for us to come back in games the last few years, but it's nice to see we can do it and believe we can do it. It's shows a lot about the group."

Taylor Hall scored for the Oilers (6-11-0), who haven't beat Arizona in regulation since Jan. 25, 2011. Goalie Anders Nilsson made 18 saves for Edmonton, which has lost three of its past four.

"I think we didn't create enough to beat them tonight," Edmonton forward Leon Draisaitl said. "We knew they wouldn't give us much. But when you know that is when you really have to pull together and create as much as possible."

Oilers coach Todd McLellan was impressed with the Coyotes. "They prevented us from gaining any type of momentum," he said. "Any time we pushed, they seemed to push back."

The Oilers held the Coyotes to one shot during the first seven minutes and took the lead at 3:03 of the first period on a nice give-and-go.

Hall fed Draisaitl and beat Arizona's Michael Stone off the left wall for the return pass. Hall drove to the net and put a backhander between Smith's pads for his seventh goal and 18th point in 17 games this season. Hall had three goals and five points in five games against the Coyotes last season.

"Our first three or four shifts weren't very good and then we got beat on a loose puck and poorly defended a rush read. That kind of snapped us to attention," said Arizona coach Dave Tippett, who is 20-2-3 against Edmonton since taking over in September 2009. "The rest of the game we were pretty disciplined and it was a good, solid team win."

The Coyotes tied the game by getting traffic in front of Nilsson. With Brad Richardson setting a screen, Ekman-Larsson's shot from the deep left circle found the far top corner at 16:49.

It was Ekman-Larsson's second goal of the season, but his first since opening night (Oct. 9 against the Los Angeles Kings), and extended his point streak to four games, tying a career-high.

"[Richardson] did a good job in front of the net and I got lucky a little bit," Ekman-Larsson said. "But I'll take it."

The Coyotes capitalized on a tripping penalty to Draisaitl in the second period to take the lead. Domi ran down a Tobias Rieder hard-around, won a battle on the boards and feathered a pass over the stick of Oilers defenseman Eric Gryba and onto the stick of Doan, who banged it past Nilsson at 13:47.

Doan's fourth goal was his third on the power play this season and the 116th in his career, six behind Dale Hawerchuk's franchise record. He 372 career goals, seven behind Hawerchuk's franchise-best 379.

"I should have had four or five tonight with all the great chances I had," Doan said. "It's nice to be mentioned in the same breath with a guy like [Hawerchuk]. I think he did it in like half or a third of the games it's taking me. He's a special guy that I think didn't every get the recognition he deserved because he played in the old Smythe Division with [Wayne] Gretzky, [Mark] Messier, [Jari] Kurri and [Paul] Coffey and all the great Calgary Flames."

The Coyotes' fourth line doubled the lead late in the period. Kyle Chipchura dropped a pass for John Scott, who put a wrist shot on net that Elliott deflected. Nilsson stopped it, but the rebound went right back to Elliott and he swept in his first goal as a Coyote at 17:29 to put Arizona up 3-1.

Smith made a big glove save on Hall with 13:17 in the game to keep the two-goal lead intact before Domi put the game away at 11:28 when he got to the net and finished off a feed from Stone.

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