The Oilers road trip continues in San Jose on Thursday at 8 p.m. MT. It can be seen on Sportsnet Oilers or heard on 630 CHED and the Oilers Radio Network.
GLENDALE, AZ – The Oilers scored two power play goals, but it wasn’t enough as they fell 4-2 to the Coyotes in Arizona to begin their three-game road trip out west. The Coyotes extended their point streak against the Oilers to 23 straight games.
It was tight down the stretch with the Oilers within one goal for the majority of the third. It wasn’t until Max Domi potted an empty-net goal with 46 seconds left in the game that things were out of reach. The third period saw multiple outbursts of physicality with big hits delivered.
“It was a good atmosphere,” said Oilers winger Zack Kassian, who tied for a team high in hits with three. “Both teams were working hard and those are fun games to play. It’s one of those games where the intensity went up and everybody responded well but we came out on the losing end.”
The Oilers suffered another blow in the game, with centre Ryan Nugent-Hopkins leaving with an injury.
“Nuge got hit behind the net and didn’t return. We’ll see how he is in the morning,” said Oilers Head Coach Todd McLellan.
Arizona opened scoring, capitalizing on a juicy error in front of Oilers goaltender Cam Talbot. A shot rebounded off the glove of the goalie and sat loose in front when Arizona’s Alex Tanguay pounced on the opportunity and buried the first goal of the game, at 5:38 of the opening period. Oliver Ekman-Larsson and Anthony Duclair recorded the assists.
The Oilers were awarded an opportunity to respond when Arizona’s Michael Stone took a holding penalty at 7:24. Edmonton winger Lauri Korpikoski jammed at the puck beneath goaltender Mike Smith and both Jordan Eberle and Nail Yakupov were sitting in front. It was Eberle who finished the play off, depositing it in the back of the Coyotes net for his 23rd of the season. That goal at 9:04 of the first was assisted by Korpikoski and Connor McDavid.
With his assist, McDavid extended his point streak to five games.
The Oilers were able to breathe a little easier after surviving a Coyotes 5-on-3 power play midway through the first. With McDavid in the box for a hook, Anton Lander was called for tripping Martin Hanzal 1:06 into the initial penalty. Edmonton was able to escape unscathed.
At 12:22 of the second, Michael Stone’s shot was tipped by Hanzal, giving the Coyotes a power-play tally and a 2-1 lead.
Tobias Rieder tucked a shot inside the post from close range as he drove across the face of Talbot. Rieder’s goal at 17:02 of the second made it a 3-1 game.
With 2:04 left in the second, the Oilers pulled back within one. Andrej Sekera teed a pass up for Mark Letestu and the Edmonton centre rifled a one-timer underneath Smith. That power play goal was the Oilers second of the night, courtesy of a Shane Doan boarding penalty. McDavid recorded a second assist on the goal.
“They weren’t pretty, but we scored,” Eberle said of the power play’s 2-for-4 outing. “That’s the end result. I don’t think it matters how it goes in, as long as you score.”
Despite some chances in the third for the Oilers, Domi managed to get the empty-net insurance goal at 19:14 to put the game out of reach.
“I liked our pushback,” said Eberle. “We had every chance to tie that game and hopefully win it. There’s certain plays you’ve got to be able to bear down and tie it.”
The Oilers next take on the Sharks in San Jose on Thursday at 8 p.m. MT. The game can be seen on Sportsnet Oilers and heard on 630 CHED and the Oilers Radio Network.