The Oilers homestand continues with a showdown with the Dallas Stars on Friday. Game time is at 7 p.m. MT. It can be seen on Sportsnet West or heard on 630 CHED and the Oilers Radio Network.
EDMONTON, AB– A 38-save effort from Anders Nilsson and a shootout goal by Jordan Eberle lifted the Oilers to a 3-2 victory over the visiting Boston Bruins.
The Bruins best chance of the first period came at the 13:39 mark. Dennis Seidenberg threw a centring pass out to the slot and Matt Beleskey fired a shot on net. Oilers goaltender Nilsson flashed the glove, keeping the game scoreless.
At 4:38 of the second period, Oilers winger Taylor Hall gained a step on Zdeno Chara and had a partial break on Tukka Rask. Hall’s backhand shot was turned away by the goaltender, but a trailing Jordan Eberle had the second look. Unfortunately for the Oil, Rask got a small piece of the puck and Eberle’s shot went wide of the net.
Later in the second, Leon Draisaitl sent a shot inside and it got tipped right into the glove of Rask as the Oilers began pressing for the game’s first goal.
At 8:47 of the middle frame, Oilers defenceman Eric Gryba was called for interference on Landon Ferraro, much to the disagreement of the Rexall Place fans. At 10:22, Edmonton would capitalize on a shorthanded 2-on-1 rush to take the lead.
Hendricks fed Letestu perfectly past Bruins defenceman Torey Krug and the Oilers centre tapped it in for his third goal of the season. Andrej Sekera added a second assist.
A turnover gave the Bruins an almost 4-on-1 rush late in the second, but Oilers defenceman Mark Fayne sprawled and knocked the puck harmlessly into the boards to keep his team on top.
However, with 1:33 remaining in the period, Krug fired a shot from outside the circle and through a couple bodies. The puck deflected off Sekera and slid underneath Nilsson, tying the game at 1-1. Patrice Bergeron recorded the assist.
It was Hendricks and Letestu hooking up again that made it a 2-1 game for the Oilers at 9:22 of the third. Letestu fired it on net and Hendricks got a piece of it, to score his second of the season.
“Letestu and Matty Hendricks combined shorthanded and at even strength,” said Oilers Head Coach Todd McLellan. “Not only that, they were pretty effective penalty-killing wise. When your depth players contribute all over the rink as well as the score sheet, you have a real good chance at winning.”
With the Bruins pressing late, David Krejci set up Chara in the slot for the game-tying goal at 16:39 of the final regulation frame. Loui Eriksson recorded the second assist.
“The will to push back is there,” said McLellan. “The poise and the calmness isn’t quite there yet. We’re excited about getting close to a win and we get a little edgy and a little fidgety and sometimes don’t make the right play. That will come in time. We haven’t experienced that much. We’re much better at coming back than we are holding the lead right now because we’ve worked on it a lot more.”
Chara’s goal would send the game to overtime, giving the Bruins at least a point against Edmonton in their last 15 meetings.
In overtime, Draisaitl had a steep angle shot on Rask, but the netminder gloved it at the post. The Bruins came back down the other way on a 2-on-1 rush but it was broken up by the Oilers.
Nilsson made a couple big saves and then sent the Oilers down the ice on their own 2-on-1. The Oilers had a scoring chance in close on Rask with Ryan Nugent-Hopkins at the top of the crease. Beleskey took an interference penalty on the Oilers centre, giving Edmonton a late OT power play.
The Oilers had multiple scoring opportunities but somehow couldn’t capitalize on the late flurry. The game moved to the shootout.
“I liked our team effort tonight,” said Eberle. “For the most part, I thought we played 56 minutes. The last four, they were kind of honest and obviously they scored to tie it up. We found a way to get the two points, good teams do. It’s one game. We’ve got to move forward from this. We’ve got to start stringing some games together.”
Eberle went top-right corner on Rask as the lone scorer in the shootout and Nilsson turned aside Krejci on the last attempt for the win.
The Bruins came into the game having won five straight and boasted a road record of 8-2-0, but Edmonton prevailed.
While Hendricks and Letestu provided the offence for the Oilers, Nilsson was superb. The goaltender won his sixth game of the season, improving to 6-7-1. Nilsson is now 6-0 lifetime in shootouts.
“He was extremely solid throughout the whole game,” said Nugent-Hopkins. “Then you come to the shootout and he doesn’t even flinch when guys are trying to pull all kinds of moves. Those are some skilled players too. It’s impressive to see and I think he’s playing with some confidence right now too and it kind of feeds into our game.”
The Oilers improved to 9-15-2 and now host the Dallas Stars on Friday at Rexall Place.