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Nilsson, Eberle's OT goal lift Oilers past Stars

by Derek Van Diest

EDMONTON -- Goaltender Anders Nilsson made 42 saves to assure the Edmonton Oilers of one point before forward Jordan Eberle scored 45 seconds into overtime to get the other in a 2-1 win against the Dallas Stars at Rexall Place on Friday.

Center Leon Draisaitl stole the puck in the offensive zone and set up Eberle, who found space in the slot and fired a shot past Dallas goaltender Antti Niemi to give Edmonton its second straight win and its first this season against a Central Division opponent.

The Stars outshot the Oilers 43-24, and the game would not have gone to overtime had it not been for Nilsson, who has 90 saves in two starts against Dallas this season. He made 48 saves in his Oilers debut on Oct. 13, a 4-2 loss.

"It was a [heck] of a performance, he stole the game," Oilers coach Todd McLellan said. "He gave us a chance to win, but there were still guys blocking shots and doing some of the things we needed to do to get the victory. There were some pretty admirable performances and some poor ones. It just shows that there is a gap between the two teams, between a first-place team and one that is in the bottom third, that we have to close over time."

Nilsson made one save in overtime before Eberle won the game. Eberle has struggled since returning to the lineup after missing the first 13 games because of a shoulder injury sustained in the final game of the preseason. He has four points, all goals, in 14 games.

"That felt good, the reason we won that game was Anders, though, he stood on his head, he was incredible tonight," Eberle said. "I don't think I have ever had the puck roll on me that much in a game. I had one in the slot that I was wide-open and it rolled off my stick. I had one on the power play when I was in the slot and then on a 2-on 1 that rolled off my stick. It's funny how when you don't think and you just shoot the puck how it works out. It was nice to finally get that one in overtime."

Taylor Hall scored in the first period for the Oilers (10-15-2). Mattias Janmark tied the game late in the second for Dallas (20-5-2), and Niemi made 22 saves.

"It was a huge win again for our team," Nilsson said. "It showed some great character tonight and a huge battle effort."

The Stars got off to a quick start; Nilsson had to stop Tyler Seguin's breakaway 90 seconds into the game and later stopped Jamie Benn after the Stars' captain was sent in alone.

"He made some great saves, right off the start we probably could have had three or four," Stars coach Lindy Ruff said. "In the third period, we were really on top of them. I thought we missed a couple of good opportunities, but he made a couple of real good saves. He made his share, that's for sure."

Hall put the Oilers ahead at 14:49. He went in on the forecheck, fished the puck out of the skates of Stars defenseman Patrik Nemeth and lifted a shot over Niemi for his 10th goal.

The Oilers were outshot 14-8 in the first period but left the ice with a 1-0 lead.

"We had some really good scoring chances and we should have scored early in the game," Janmark said. "But we had to grind it out and got a point. We'll take that, but we wanted to get two."

Nilsson continued to frustrate the Stars in the second period. His best save came on defenseman Jordie Benn when he slid across his crease and kicked away a one-timer while killing a penalty.

But Janmark tied the game with 1:37 left in the period. Janmark spun away from Oilers defenseman Mark Fayne following an offensive-zone faceoff, went to the net and knocked in the rebound of a point shot by defenseman Jamie Oleksiak, for his fifth goal.

Nilsson was brilliant in the third period, when the Stars outshot the Oilers 15-4 and controlled the play for minutes at a time. He stopped Janmark on a breakaway early in the period, then was able to get a pad out to stop a shot through traffic by Vernon Fiddler. Hemsky broke in alone on the wing midway through the period, getting around defenseman Andrej Sekera, but Nilsson stopped him too.

"He played really good against us in Dallas, and obviously, he stood on his head against us here again," Fiddler said. "We have to execute on our chances, but I thought it was a pretty good effort on back-to-back games after getting in late. I didn't think we sat back at all, we took it to them. It's going to happen, we just have to get right back on the saddle the next game."

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