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GAME STORY: Oilers 4, Coyotes 3 (SO)

Connor McDavid scored the shootout winner and Mikko Koskinen stopped 26 pucks in a battle of the Pacific Division leaders as the Oilers edged Arizona with a 4-3 SO win

by Paul Gazzola / EdmontonOilers.com

GLENDALE, AZ - Literally and figuratively, it was a dogfight.

It was always going to be since the Oilers and Arizona Coyotes were meeting for the second time this season, coming in as the first and second-placed teams in the Pacific Division.

And the Oilers, relentless in their dogged approach, came out on the winning side of a 4-3 shootout victory, in a thrilling divisional showdown.

Video: OILERS TODAY | Post-Game at ARI 11.24.19

 

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The final stop on the Oilers five-game road trip is in Denver on Wednesday. The game can be seen on Sportsnet West and heard on the Oilers Radio Network, including 630 CHED. Puck drop is 8:08 p.m. MT.

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The Orange & Blue gained another point of separation from their Pacific counterparts, leading the second-place Arizona Coyotes by four points in the division standings.

But this game was all about the grit it took in finding victory.

"That was like a playoff game," Oilers Head Coach Dave Tippett said. 

"Tonight was survival."

Edmonton was handed a tough blow before puck drop with news coming down that Ryan Nugent-Hopkins would be sidelined for a minimum of two games with a hand injury.

Sam Gagner filled in Nugent-Hopkins' spot alongside Alex Chiasson and James Neal, setting up Chiasson for his second of the season in the middle stanza to go up 2-1.

"I thought our line was playing well tonight," said Chiasson. "Gags came in today and brought some energy. We were good on the forecheck and didn't spend a lot of time in our zone."

The Coyotes scored consecutive markers to take a 3-2 lead into the third, which was overwritten by a clutch late tally courtesy of Markus Granlund.

As he did just a night ago in Vegas, the Finn whipped a shot on goal then put back the rebound, scoring his third of the season - all goals coming on the Oilers current five-game road trip.

Granlund's goal tilted the momentum in Edmonton's favour but the club couldn't get the go-ahead marker in regulation or overtime.

"It's something we need," Tippett said of the support scoring. "It's good for team morale. It's good to see some of those goals go in."

Video: McDavid extends streak as Oilers top Coyotes in SO

It took Connor McDavid's shootout winner in the first round of the skills competition to decide the outcome. Despite experiencing his fair share of hooks and holds, the Oilers Captain extended his point streak to 11 games with an assist on Neal's opening power-play tally.

In goal, Mikko Koskinen was a force with 26 stops on the night. The goaltender kept the game within reach when he robbed Michael Grabner in the third period with a huge pad save then kept everything out when Nick Schmaltz, Conor Garland and Vinnie Hinostroza barrelled down in the shootout.

Koskinen improved his record to 9-1-2 on the campaign with the win.

The Oilers are now 3-1-0 on their road trip and just two points back of the League-leading Washington Capitals, who have 37 points.

"Our team is growing," Chiasson, putting the Oilers 16-7-3 record and first-place divisional standing into perspective, said.

"Guys are just grabbing it and going and playing, which is what you need. We're gaining experience through that."

Edmonton's five-game trip concludes Wednesday against the Colorado Avalanche.

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