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game recap

Oilers finally end drought against Coyotes

Edmonton defeats Arizona in regulation for first time since 2011

by Jerry Brown / NHL.com Correspondent

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The Edmonton Oilers finally broke the spell against the Arizona Coyotes, and it was their fourth line that led the way.

Mark Letestu had a goal and two assists and combined with Matt Hendricks and Zack Kassian to produce seven points, helping the Oilers defeat the Arizona Coyotes in regulation for first time in 26 games with a 3-2 win at Gila River Arena on Wednesday.

What was the key for Edmonton's grinders?

"I'd like to say all the saucer passes and toe drags and stuff, but it's definitely simplicity with us," Hendricks said. "We try to play to each other's strengths, dump pucks in smart ways and put them in areas where we can retrieve them or at least put their defense in vulnerable positions. Sometimes it goes in for us."

 

WATCH: All Oilers vs. Coyotes highlights

 

Cam Talbot made 28 saves for Edmonton (18-12-5), which won for the fourth time in the past five games. Milan Lucic also scored for the Oilers, who kept Arizona from earning a point against them for the first time in nearly five years.

The Coyotes were 21-0-4 against the Oilers dating back to Jan. 25, 2011, which was tied for the sixth-longest point streak in NHL history.

Video: EDM@ARI: Lucic pads Oilers' lead with tipped PPG

"Every year is a new group, but we've won now and we don't have to come and answer all your questions," Edmonton coach Todd McLellan said. "But the game wasn't a lot different than many during the streak. We just found a way to come out on the winning end."

Martin Hanzal and Oliver Ekman-Larsson scored on the power play for Arizona (11-17-5), which has lost three straight.

Mike Smith made 19 saves and the Coyotes were able to bottle up Edmonton's top players much of the night. But there was no payoff for Arizona in a game that featured 81 penalty minutes, including a match penalty to Kassian for a hit on Ekman-Larsson with 44 seconds left.

Video: EDM@ARI: Hendricks buries loose puck from tough angle

"Anytime you shut down Connor McDavid and (Ryan) Nugent-Hopkins, then we have a chance to win the game," Hanzal said. "But their fourth line was producing."

The Oilers went more than seven minutes without a shot in the first period before Letestu finished a Kassian feed at 8:13 for his seventh goal.

Edmonton made it 2-0 on the power play at 15:07 when Letestu's shot deflected off each of Lucic's skates before sliding past Smith.

Hendricks scored at 2:16 of the second period when Letestu's shot hit the back boards and right to his stick at the far post to make it 3-0.

"We got a bound off the end wall there for the winner, but we've been consistent over the last little stretch and we got rewarded with goals," Letestu said.

Video: EDM@ARI: Hanzal tips Vrbata's shot in for PPG

The Coyotes avoided the shutout when Hanzal tipped Radim Vrbata's shot over Talbot during a power play at 11:19 for his seventh goal.

Arizona got within a goal with 6.1 seconds left when Ekman-Larsson put home his own rebound on the power play and Smith pulled for an extra attacker.

 
Goal of the game

Letestu hit the post with his first shot, but got another chance when Kassian set him up from behind the net at 8:13.

Video: EDM@ARI: Letestu finds twine off Kassian's dish

 
Save of the game

Talbot denied Shane Doan of his 400th career goal with a sprawling glove save with 4:56 left.

 
Unsung performance of the game

Coyotes defenseman Jakob Chychrun left the game twice after hard hits along the boards. A hit from Hendricks in the first period didn't draw a penalty, but Eric Gryba was given a five-minute major and a game misconduct for a hit to the head in the third period. Chychrun still managed to play more than 11 minutes.

 
Highlight of the game

It didn't result in a goal, but McDavid's skills were on full display when he made a pretty move to get around Ekman-Larsson in the first period and raced into the Coyotes zone before his centering pass for Lucic was broken up.

 
They said it

"I didn't see him coming, but I should probably be aware of that when I lay a guy out like that. I finished my check on their guy and we would do the same thing." -- Coyotes defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson

Video: EDM@ARI: Ekman-Larsson nets late second-chance PPG

 

"We are equipped to play however the play is dictated. I didn't necessarily agree with all the calls. The match penalty (on Kassian) and the Gryba major … just, whatever." -- Oilers coach Todd McLellan

 
Need to know

Chychrun went through concussion protocol after the hit by Gryba and did not return. … Doan played in his 1,499th career game, tying Mike Modano for 17th place on the NHL's all-time list.

 
What's next

Oilers: At the San Jose Sharks on Friday (10:30 p.m. CSN-CA, SNOL, NHL.TV)

Coyotes: Host the Toronto Maple Leafs on Friday (9 p.m. ET; FS-A, SNO, NHL.TV)

 

Video: Letestu, Talbot power Oilers past Coyotes, 3-2

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