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Nilsson makes 38 saves, Oilers defeat Bruins in SO

by Derek Van Diest

EDMONTON -- Third-line forwards Matt Hendricks and Mark Letestu each had a goal and an assist to help the Edmonton Oilers begin a five-game homestand with a 3-2 shootout win against the Boston Bruins on Wednesday.

Jordan Eberle scored the lone goal in the shootout, and goalie Anders Nilsson made 38 saves through overtime to help end the Bruins' winning streak at five games.

"We have talked a lot about the bottom six (forwards) trying to add a little bit of offense to help the big guns out," Hendricks said. "We've kind of been a one-line punching monster right now, and you're not going to win a lot of games when you're only getting production from one of your top lines. We needed to chip in tonight, we needed to do it, we need to continue to do it, if not on a nightly basis, at least weekly."

The Oilers (9-15-2) have won two of their past three games.

Letestu scored 10:23 into the second period on a shorthanded, 2-on-1 rush with Hendricks to give Edmonton a 1-0 lead. Hendricks returned the puck to Letestu past Boston defenseman Torey Krug on a give-and-go, and Letestu tapped it past goaltender Tuukka Rask for his third goal. It was the Oilers' first shorthanded goal of the season.

Hendricks scored at 9:22 of the third period to give Edmonton a 2-1 lead, tipping Letestu's centering feed past Rask, who made 34 saves.

"It was nice to take the heat off the top line and chip in at a time when the team really needed it," Letestu said. "It wasn't like it was the sixth or fifth goal in a blowout; they were both big goals. I thought for the most part, we played a pretty solid game all the way through. We probably could have used a little more poise down the stretch there, giving up that late one, but the guys held the fort, and Anders came up big with three big saves in the shootout."

Krug and Zdeno Chara scored for Boston (13-8-2) in the first of a three-game Western Canada road trip. The Bruins visit the Calgary Flames on Friday and the Vancouver Canucks on Saturday.

"We were average tonight; our skating game was there, but we didn't play a real hard game tonight, and that's what we need to do," Bruins coach Claude Julien said. "We needed to play hard against this team and we chose to play a little bit more their type of game. They're going up and down, there were plays being made, but there were also a lot of chances being traded off, and that's not the way we play."

Krug scored with 1:23 left in the second to tie it 1-1. His shot from the point hit Oilers defenseman Andrej Sekera in front and changed direction past Nilsson.

Chara's goal with 3:21 remaining in the third tied it 2-2. He came in off the point and put a David Krejci centering pass over Nilsson.

"We definitely need to be better," Chara said. "We played a team that worked hard and obviously has a lot of skill. They're a very dangerous team, and we didn't have our best game, we need to be better. We certainly need to work hard, winning more battles and races, and it just wasn't good enough. We got a point out of it, but I think we have to realize that if we keep playing like this, it's just a matter of time before we're going to burn ourselves."

Each team had its chances in overtime. The Oilers went on a power play with 1:06 left when Bruins forward Matt Beleskey took Ryan Nugent-Hopkins into the net and was assessed an interference penalty.

Hendricks and Patrice Bergeron each missed on his shootout attempt before Eberle scored the deciding goal on a wrist shot past Rask in the top of the second round.

Eberle, who missed the first 13 games because of a shouder injury, has three goals in 13 games. He came close to scoring in the second period on a rebound in front but was robbed by Rask.

"It gives you confidence. I really don't care, I know it's a shootout, but any time you put the puck in the net, it's great," Eberle said. "I had a couple of great chances. I still can't believe [Rask] saved that one, it just nicked his glove."

Nilsson stopped Brad Marchand on the Bruins' second attempt, and Krejci shot wide in the bottom of the third round to end the game.

"[Nilsson] was excellent. He has played that way for a long time," Oilers coach Todd McLellan said. "He made some big saves in the shootout. He is coming out and challenging and rescued us when we made some mistakes. I thought Rask did the same thing for their team. It was a good night for both goalies."

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