EDMONTON, AB -
Jesse Joensuu scored twice as the Oilers take down the visiting Arizona Coyotes, 3-2 at Rexall Place.
“It was one of those nights that we don’t have many complaints,” Oilers Head Coach Dallas Eakins said. “All of the guys in the lineup showed very well. The pace was there, the execution was there, the hiccups along the way were few and far between.”
Arizona opened the scoring at 10:07 of the first period. Lucas Lessio got the puck out to the point and Connor Murphy’s shot rebounded in front. Mikkel Boedker scooped up the loose puck and put home a backhand shot over a sprawling Ben Scrivens.
Scrivens was instrumental in the Oilers game-tying tally. The goaltender made a few big saves before finally pushing the puck out of danger. The Oilers went the other way and when Teddy Purcell’s shot from the slot rebounded out to the left, Benoit Pouliot was there to clean up. Pouliot tied the game at 18:16 of the first, with the assists going to Purcell and Darnell Nurse.
On January 15, 2014, the Oilers traded goaltender Devan Dubnyk to the Nashville Predators in exchange for Matt Hendricks. That made a sequence of events at the end of the first quite interesting.
Dubnyk found his way to the Arizona organization following the trade and had the start in net for the Coyotes against Edmonton. Hendricks was breaking in all alone on Dubnyk when Lauri Korpilkoski hooked him, which gave the Oilers a penalty shot.
Hendricks was denied by Dubnyk on the attempt.
The Oilers finished the first period outshooting the Coyotes 17-8.
In the opening moments of the second period, Oilers third-overall pick Leon Draisaitl rifled a shot off the post.
“He showed some great flashes of what he can do,” Eakins said.
It didn’t take long for the Oilers to capitalize on another scoring opportunity. At 1:52 of the middle frame, Steve Pinizzotto backhanded a pass out in front of the net and Jesse Joensuu pounced, putting a shot past Dubnyk. Martin Marincin earned the second assist, as the Oilers took a 2-1 lead.
“I think our whole line played really well. It was a line effort on both goals,” Joensuu said.
A scary moment for the Oilers happened at the 4:00 mark of the second period. David Perron, who tied for the Oilers lead in goals last season, was hit by Matt Smaby at the Arizona blueline. Perron struggled to get to the bench, collapsing on the ice in pain. After visiting with the trainer for a few moments, Perron was able to skate off under his own power. Oilers defenceman Keith Aulie was very quick to Perron’s defence, scrapping with Smaby after the collision.
Perron played again in the second, but would not return for the third period due to a rib injury.
“I think he’s fine,” Eakins said after the game. “He got the wind knocked out of him and his ribs were a little sore. We haven’t got any x-rays but I don’t expect it to be life threatening.”
Arizona tied the game at 11:49 of the second when Rob Klinkhammer roofed a shot over Scrivens, assisted by Chris Summers.
Pinizzotto and Joensuu connected again at 2:37 of the third to give the Oilers the 3-2 lead. Mark Arcobello earned the second assist. It was a very similar set up to the line’s first goal of the night.
“Before I grabbed the puck I gave a quick look and saw him coming in,” Pinizzotto said. “I told him before that I’m pretty good down low with the puck and I can usually get out with it. If he can get open in the slot then good things will happen. That kind of happened tonight, just won a couple of battles and worked my way to the side of the net to get it out to him. It was good of him for finishing.”
Joensuu finished his solid night with two goals on three shots, and six hits.
The Oilers outshot the Coyotes 33-26, with Scrivens making 23 saves as they closed out the one-goal win.