Skip to main content

Oilers beat Lightning to end four-game skid

by Derek Van Diest

EDMONTON -- A night off seemed to do wonders for Jordan Eberle.

Eberle scored two goals in his return to the lineup, pacing the Edmonton Oilers to a 5-3 win against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Sunday night at Rexall Place.

Eberle scored each of his goals in the first period, getting the Oilers off to a quick start before the Lightning battled back to tie the game in the second. Luke Gazdic, Boyd Gordon and Taylor Hall also scored for Edmonton. Ilya Bryzgalov made 24 saves.

Lightning goaltender Anders Lindback took the loss in relief of Ben Bishop, who left 4:18 into the game with an upper-body injury. Lindback finished with 20 saves.

"We played the right way to start the game, and for whatever reason, we started to play the wrong way," Eberle said. "They tied the game up and then we got back to playing the way we needed to. It is frustrating when you give up a lead, but at the end of the day, we won the game and got the two points and that's what matters."

The Oilers built a 3-1 lead in the first period, only to see it slip away in the second, when Victor Hedman and Valtteri Filppula scored for the Lightning.

Nikita Kucherov had given Tampa Bay a 1-0 lead 2:43 into the first period. Kucherov took a cross-ice pass from Matthew Carle and one-timed a shot over Bryzgalov's shoulder.

Eberle tied the game at 4:18, finding a loose puck in front and lifting a shot over Bishop, who sustained his injury on the play.

Bishop went over to the Lightning bench to have his blocker hand looked at, then made his way to the locker room and was replaced by Lindback. Eberle's shot was the only one Bishop faced before departing.

"I have no idea," Lightning coach Jon Cooper said when asked of Bishop's status. "I don't ask, so I can look you in the eye and say I don't know, so I don't know.

"We don't know, it's hard to speculate. I don't know what the injury is, but I don't think it's going to be major serious. I hope not anyway. But if it is, then [Lindback] is a proven goaltender in the League and he'll be fine. But let's make that determination when we find out what's wrong with him. I think it's way too early to speculate on what's going."

Eberle gave the Oilers the lead at 6:09, when his shot from the side of the net bounced up off Martin St. Louis' stick, then Sami Salo's in front and past Lindback.

Gazdic made it 3-1 Edmonton at 15:42, when he tipped a Justin Schultz point shot past Lindback.

"I was disappointed how we came out," Cooper said. "Give them credit, they had a lot of jump in their legs, and unfortunately, it took us a period to fall behind 3-1. It's a tough League and it takes a lot of energy to come back. We got it back to tie, but we just couldn't find a way to get the next one.

"I thought we had ample chances to get the next one. Their goaltender stood tall and they benefited from a few post and benefited from us being a little bit too unselfish. I think if we do get that fourth one, it's maybe a little bit of a different game. But give them credit, they got that fourth one and that was the one that won it."

In the second, Hedman cut the lead to 3-2 at 8:47 with a long-range shot that beat Bryzgalov. Filppula tied the game at 14:25, taking a pass from Carle and firing a shot past Bryzgalov.

"I encouraged them to go back to playing the way we did in the first," Oilers coach Dallas Eakins said. "We had guys on top of the puck, but we weren't breaking the puck out. When we got a hold of it, it was almost like we were in a panic mode. We weren't doing things cleanly. That is a big part to do with your confidence when you haven't been playing well.

"You are up in the game and should have a bit of a swagger, but instead it's like, 'What if they score next?' Sure enough after playing so well, when you start to play too safe and with no confidence, then that's what happens. We needed to refocus and they were excellent. They took the direction well."

Ales Hemsky appeared to have scored the go-ahead goal at 2:31 of the third period when his shot was initially ruled to have beaten Lindback. Upon review, however, the goal was waved off as the puck hit the crossbar.

Gordon then put the Oilers up for good at 8:20, out-battling Hedman in front and sliding a rebound past Lindback.

"Anytime we can get secondary scoring it really helps, whether it is my line or another one," Gordon said. "It always gives you a better chance to win. Any time I can chip in, it is nice."

Hall extended the lead at 10:30 tipping an Andrew Ference point shot past Lindback during a 4-on-4 situation. The goal was Hall's 16th of the season. He added an assist in the game, giving him 41 points in 38 games this season.

"There were certainly some shifts in the second period where we didn't play well, but for the most part, our effort was good," Hall said. "Our execution was good. There have been a lot of times this season where we have gone into a third period tied or in a close game and we just haven't really played the way we should. [Sunday] was a different story. It was nice to see, especially against a team that is as good and as high in the standings as Tampa."

View More

The NHL uses cookies, web beacons, and other similar technologies. By using NHL websites or other online services, you consent to the practices described in our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service, including our Cookie Policy.