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Senators give up big lead, top Oilers in OT

by Derek Van Diest

EDMONTON -- The Edmonton Oilers came close to an improbable, come-from-behind win Thursday at Rexall Place, rallying from a three-goal, first-period deficit before losing 4-3 in overtime to the Ottawa Senators.

Mike Hoffman scored the overtime winner for the Senators at 2:39, snapping a shot through Oilers goaltender Ben Scrivens.

The goal was Hoffman's second of the game and seventh of the season. Senators goalie Craig Anderson made 34 saves for his fifth win of the season.

"They made a good push and had a lot of chances, but Anderson made a lot of good saves," Hoffman said. "We've had a lot of overtimes this year. Getting one point is valuable, but getting two is that much better."

Hoffman, Alex Chiasson and Milan Michalek each scored in a 12:17 span in the first period to give the Senators a 3-0 lead.

The Oilers battled back with a goal in the second period and two in the third to send the game into overtime. Edmonton came within a crossbar of pulling out the overtime victory.

The game was the first of a five-game homestand for Edmonton, which returned from a five-game road trip on which it went 2-3-0.

"We couldn't get our feet underneath us early, and not only our feet, but our brains weren't working," Oilers coach Dallas Eakins said. "That's the challenge of those trips; you come back and you try to find the right recipe to come out of it. The time zones and the travel, it just didn't line up well.

"But I was impressed that we chipped away at it and stuck to it, and it turned into more of a mental battle to get through that. It was good to get the point, but we would have liked to have them both."

Rookie center Leon Draisaitl, Jordan Eberle and Jeff Petry scored for the Oilers. Draisaitl's goal was the second of his career; Eberle's was his 100th.

It was the second consecutive game the Oilers gave up three first-period goals. They fell short in their comeback bid Tuesday in a 3-2 loss against the Nashville Predators.

"We've shown that we can have good starts, but tonigh, just like Nashville, we showed that we just weren't ready to play the game," Petry said. "In past years we might have packed it in, but it shows a lot of fight in this team. We're never going to give up and we showed it tonight.

"We came in here after the first period and we knew we had a lot of hockey left to play. It wasn't the start we wanted, but we still had 40 minutes to respond, and I thought we responded well."

Hoffman opened the scoring at 3:34 of the first period, snapping a shot off the left wing through a screen and past Scrivens.

Chiasson increased the lead to 2-0 at 12:51, tipping a Chris Phillips point shot past Scrivens.

Michalek scored at 15:41 to give Ottawa a 3-0 lead, finishing off an odd-man rush by firing a shot over Scrivens after taking a pass from Bobby Ryan in the slot.

The Senators dominated the first period, outshooting the Oilers 17-7.

"At the end of the day, we found a way to win a game on the road," Senators coach Paul MacLean said. "It was a great effort by the team. You don't make up ground or get ahead in this league by getting one point; you have to do it by twos. We have to make sure that we take our wins when we can get them."

Draisaitl started the Oilers comeback at 12:57 of the second period on the power play, converting a rebound in front of Anderson. The Oilers outshot the Senators 13-6 in the second period.

Eberle cut the lead to 3-2 at 9:35 of the third period, finding the puck off a scramble in front and sliding it past Anderson.

Petry tied the game at 13:45, stepping into a shot from the slot off a feed from Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. The Oilers center was able to gain the zone and spotted Petry joining the rush.

"It's good that we didn't just throw in the towel and just let them have this one," Nugent-Hopkins said. "We battled back hard against Nashville and we did the same tonight. We got a point out of this tonight. We showed some good things out there, for sure, but those things can't happen, we can't go out there and get down three. We have to go out there, especially at home, and build the lead right off the start."

Scrivens made 26 saves for the Oilers.

In overtime, Eberle came close to winning the game for Edmonton, firing a shot off the crossbar, prior to Hoffman's game-winning goal for the Senators.

"We came out of the gate strong and had a good lead, but then we just sort of sat on it," Anderson said. "We didn't keep the pressure up and we let them back into the game. Before you know it, we were on our heels."

The Oilers play the Arizona Coyotes in the second game of their homestand Sunday. The Senators conclude a three-game Western Canada road trip against the Calgary Flames on Saturday.

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