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game recap

Nugent-Hopkins leads Oilers past Blues

Edmonton scores four power-play goals in win against St. Louis

by Derek Van Diest / Correspondent

EDMONTON -- The Edmonton Oilers ended an extended slump with the man-advantage, scoring four power-play goals in a 6-4 win against the St. Louis Blues at Rexall Place on Wednesday.

Edmonton (28-38-7) was 1-for-32 on the power play in its past 14 games but went 4-for-6 against St. Louis (41-22-9), which had the second-best penalty-killing unit in the NHL (85.7 percent).

The Oilers, who had lost eight straight against the Blues, had a fifth power-play goal waved off in the second period.

"We were getting drilled and quizzed about the power play and we get hot all of a sudden and it goes in the net," Oilers coach Todd McLellan said. "I thought the power play, it had an all-time high as far as urgency went and it outworked the penalty kill. We weren't cute, we weren't fancy. We shot, we got the puck back, we scored on rebounds."

Video: STL@EDM: Nugent-Hopkins opens the scoring on PPG

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins scored two power-play goals and Mark Letestu and Leon Draisaitl scored the others. Taylor Hall scored his 23rd goal of the season and goaltender Cam Talbot made 23 saves. Letestu scored an empty-net goal for his first two-goal game with the Oilers. Connor McDavid, Nail Yakupov, Patrick Maroon and Jordan Oesterle each had two assists.

"In particular, our net play [on the power play] was really good," Letestu said. "Pucks were getting to the goalie and we were getting those second and third opportunities. Getting the puck through to the net was the big thing and winning some battles around there for some goals. The way it has gone, we were due for one of these games." 

David Backes had two goals and Jaden Schwartz and Patrik Berglund scored for the Blues. Goaltender Jake Allen made 21 saves.

"Their power play was struggling and we let them breathe a little bit and they got to display all their skill with five that they put in, (including) one that was disallowed," Backes said. "That's not us. When we take penalties that we need to take because we're denying scoring chances or are in desperation, we normally pick each other up and kill those off. Today we took penalties that were less than discipline and they made us pay time and time again."

Video: STL@EDM: Nugent-Hopkins nets snap shot in 2nd period

Nugent-Hopkins scored on the power play 8:00 into the first period to give the Oilers a 1-0 lead, taking a pass from Maroon in front and shooting past Allen.

Maroon had been hit on a shot from forward Nail Yakupov in front but was able to collect the puck and found Nugent-Hopkins in the slot. 

Hall gave Edmonton a 2-0 lead at 13:32, getting to a rebound off a shot from Iiro Pakarinen and lifting the puck over Allen.

Backes scored at 14:17, picking the top corner on Talbot from the slot to cut Edmonton's lead to 2-1. 

Schwartz tied the game 2-2 at 6:00 of the second period, tipping Joel Edmundson's point shot past Talbot.

Video: STL@EDM: Hall gives Oilers two-goal lead in 1st

Letestu gave the Oilers a 3-2 lead with their second power-play goal at 7:42, getting to a rebound in front off a point shot from defenseman Andrej Sekera.  

"I think the penalties is a reflection of everything," Blues coach Ken Hitchcock said. "Everything we're doing is uncharacteristic of discipline with our play and the style of penalties that we're taking. We're digging ourselves a hole with the undisciplined play and our undisciplined penalties, it's a hard way to win hockey games."

Draisaitl appeared to have scored the Oilers' third power-play goal at 14:28. But the Blues challenged the play on an offside and the goal was waved off when Hall was ruled to have entered the zone before the puck. 

Draisaitl went on to score 37 seconds later on the same penalty with Schwartz in the penalty box, redirecting McDavid's pass between Allen's pads.

Video: STL@EDM: Backes' snap shot pulls Blues within one

Nugent-Hopkins gave the Oilers a 5-2 lead with a power-play goal at 18:09 with Backes in the penalty box. 

"We got five, but four counted," Nugent-Hopkins said. "It's something we've been harping on a lot lately. [The power play] hasn't been good enough lately, but tonight we broke out and that's really nice." 

Berglund scored 58 seconds into the third period on a power play, getting to a loose puck in the crease and lifting the puck over Talbot. 

Backes scored at 5:48, taking a cross-ice pass from Alex Pietrangelo and one timing a shot past Talbot to cut the lead to 5-4.

Video: STL@EDM: Letestu nets power-play goal on backhand

The Blues' comeback stalled at 14:04 when Troy Brouwer was assessed a five-minute major for boarding after hitting Oilers forward Matt Hendricks from behind. 

St. Louis, however, had an excellent opportunity shorthanded to tie the game with Berglund and Pietrangelo breaking out on a 2-on-1 rush. Berglund's shot was stopped and Pietrangelo was unable to find the rebound in his skates in front of an open net.

Letestu scored into an empty net with 16.3 seconds left. 

"It was really important for the team to get out of [power play slump]," Draisaitl said. "We know as well as everybody that it has been struggling. It was nice to have a really good game there."

Video: Four PPG's lead the Oilers to a win over the Blues

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