GLENDALE, AZ - The Oilers got a three-point night from Taylor Hall, but were forced to play catch-up for much of the game resulting in a 7-4 loss to the Coyotes.
“It’s a tough one to dissect,” Oilers Head Coach Dallas Eakins said. “I thought we had good effort early. Actually, our effort throughout the game I liked. It’s the big mistake or the bad luck that is just killing us right now. We know the luck will change, but we have to eliminate the big mistake right now.”
The Oilers got off to a quick start with a goal just 1:25 into the game. Hall was fed out in front by Jordan Eberle and he buried it past Mike Smith. Nikita Nikitin recorded the second assist.
The Coyotes evened things up when Mikkel Boedker scored on a power play breakaway. Boedker backhanded a shot over Ben Scrivens at 8:22. Keith Yandle and the goalie Smith had the assists.
Joe Vitale set up Kyle Chipchura in the slot for the Coyotes second goal at 6:07 of the first. The score gave Arizona the 2-1 lead. Brandon McMillan also got an assist on the goal.
Leon Draisaitl, the third-overall pick in the 2014 draft, recorded his first NHL point on the game-tying goal. The Oilers young centre banked the puck off the wall behind the net and Mark Fayne finished it off to make it 2-2 at 17:50 of the opening frame. Benoit Pouliot recorded the second assist.
The Oilers and Coyotes were even in shots at 12-12 after the first 20 minutes of play.
“We have about three different teams on the ice at times, it seems,” Scrivens said. “We play really well for stretches, we kind of forget what we’re doing for stretches and then we play alright in stretches. We’ve just got to figure out how to maximize the time that we’re playing well.”
The Oilers suffered one injury to a goaltender on Tuesday night when Viktor Fasth left the game with a groin injury. It was another scary moment in net for Edmonton, early in the second period, when Scrivens went down after taking a shot off the side of his mask. Fortunately, Scrivens shook it off and never left the game.
At 5:08 of the second, Connor Murphy scored on a shot from the top of the circle to give Arizona a 3-2 lead. Shane Doan and Boedker recorded the helpers.
The Coyotes went up two goals when Rob Klinkhammer scored just 1:07 after Murphy. Klinkhammer was assisted by Martin Erat and Martin Hanzal.
Arizona would take a two-goal lead into the third.
The Oilers put the pressure on Arizona early in the final period, with Mark Arcobello scoring his second goal of the season. Hall set up Arcobello with a perfect pass on a 2-on-1 rush at 3:39 to make it a 4-3 game.
Boedker scored at 9:07 of the third to give Arizona a 5-3 lead, assisted by Antoine Vermette and Doan.
The Coyotes continued to throw wrenches into the Oilers comeback plans as Martin Erat scored at 12:59. Hanzal and David Schlemko had the assists.
The Oilers drew back within two at 14:30 when Taylor Hall backhanded a shot past Smith from the slot. Eberle had the assist.
“It’s tough to swallow,” Hall said. “We’d love to give up less goals and score more, but it’s just not happening for us right now. It’s a team effort and as a group we’re going to have to figure out a way to limit those grade-A scoring chances and those chances that are tough for a goalie to save. There’s no doubt about it. The thing about hockey is we’ve played the last three games on the road and now we have a chance to come home and try to make something of this start.”
With Scrivens pulled for the extra attacker, Boedker netted a hat trick for the Coyotes, closing out the 7-4 victory.