Gaëtan Haas scores his first NHL goal to help earn the Oilers a point in a 3-2 overtime loss to the Arizona Coyotes
EDMONTON, AB - The dogs were barking.
After Gaëtan Haas tipped home his first NHL goal to earn his team a point late in the third period, it took a Derek Stepan tally in the fourth one to tip the contest back in the Arizona Coyotes' favour in a 3-2 overtime defeat for the Oilers at Rogers Place on Monday night.
It's a notable accomplishment for Haas, but it comes in less-than-ideal circumstances. The Swiss-born centre preached optimism post-game from the Oilers dressing room with his team still sporting a 10-4-2 record after the extra-time defeat.
"It's special for sure, but in the end we lost," Haas said post-game. "We came back in the third period pretty hard and we got a point, so maybe in the end it's the point we need."
With the Arizona Coyotes going in for the kill, up 2-1 in the final frame after howling to the tune of two unassisted markers from Michael Grabner and Carl Soderberg, the Oilers showed dogged determination to press for the equalizer and a game-winner that unfortunately didn't go their way.
"It sure isn't as good if you lose, but I think it's a good point," Haas continued.
With all eyes on Leon Draisaitl's fight to reclaim top spot in the NHL's scoring race, it's almost as if we'd all forgotten one name, Connor McDavid, when the Oilers captain took the layoff from Draisaitl in the neutral zone and burned Arizona defenceman Oliver Ekman-Larsson to tuck home his seventh goal and 24th point on another highlight-reel goal to take the lead 1:31 into the game.
But Grabner's response that went short side past Mikko Koskinen just under two minutes later signalled the night's game was going to be a dog fight with two teams in the NHL's top-10 for goals-against per game giving up goals on their first shots.
Soderberg made the most of a turnover at the offensive-zone blueline in the second period to lift the Coyotes into the lead, but the Coyotes were on their heels much of the rest of the way with only five shots in the final 20 minutes.
When it was Zack Kassian who looked to have tipped home the equalizing goal with 4:41 remaining, it was Haas who knew he got a piece of it too.
"I knew that I touched it, but I didn't know if Kass touched it too," Haas said. "He told me probably touched it too, so in the end it was who touched it last. It was good for me and good for him that he gave me that."
It was Stepan's top-shelf snipe in the extra frame and 26 saves from goaltender Darcy Kuemper that helped push the Coyotes over the finish line to improve their record to 9-4-1, with the netminder's efficiency on the road against the Oilers improving to a solid 6-0-1 on the road..
"Kuemper's a good goalie, so you can't give easy stuff away," Head Coach Dave Tippett said. "When you do, you're chasing the game. In our situation where we're not exactly leading the league in goals scored, you have to find a way to stay in the game."
The Oilers continue a three-game homestand on Wednesday against the defending Stanley Cup champion St. Louis Blues.