After morning skate, Oilers Head Coach Dallas Eakins made it clear that the plan was for Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, and his line, to shoulder the responsibility of going head-to-head with Sidney Crosby for most of the night. The 20-year-old centre held his own against possibly the best player in the world.
“I thought he was motivated by it and he was able to contend with Sidney,” Eakins said of Nugent-Hopkins’ performance. “The size differential isn’t as harsh on him, which allows him to play with him. I thought Nuge did an excellent job, as did his line and the (defensive) pairings that were out there against him.”
Nugent-Hopkins was pleased with how he and his linemates performed in the face of a challenge.
“I thought we did a pretty good job of limiting them to not too many opportunities,” the centre said. “We did that just by playing in the offensive zone and there’s times when we turned the puck over a bit too much but I thought we did a good job of not making that a huge issue tonight and we just got to come against Chicago and bring this momentum.”
Crosby finished the night with a goal and an assist, however his goal was banked in off of an Oilers player. Nugent-Hopkins scored two goals, including the overtime game winner, and added an assist, six shots and a hit in 21:49 of ice time.