EDMONTON, AB -
Edmonton forward Ryan Smyth tied a franchise record and Taylor Hall scored the overtime game winner to complete the comeback and lead the Oilers to a 3-2 win over the New York Islanders.
“I’d rather us not wait until the last four minutes of the second period to get going,” Oilers Head Coach Dallas Eakins said. “We could not get going. We’ve been preaching the ways to play and through over half the game…it wasn’t until the last four minutes of the second, we understood what we needed to do and we carried it on into the third which was good.”
The Islanders would score first at 9:58 of the opening period, courtesy of a shorthanded 2-on-1 rush. Frans Nielsen sniped it past Oilers goalie Ben Scrivens to grab the 1-0 lead for the Islanders. Cal Clutterbuck and Thomas Hickey recorded the assists. The score was the 11th shorthanded goal the Oilers have allowed this season, which is the most in the NHL.
Anders Lee would cap off the two-goal period for the Islanders with a deflection at 18:21 of the opening frame. Brian Strait and former Oiler Colin McDonald recorded the assists.
“Their defence was great tonight,” Eakins said. “They were standing up, they had closed the gaps, it was hard to enter the zone and we just figured that we would keep skating the puck in. It wasn’t until we started putting the puck in behind them that we started getting some success.”
Ryan Smyth surpassed Wayne Gretzky, who was in attendance at Rexall Place, to tie Glenn Anderson for the most power play goals in an Oilers career, by scoring his 126th. The goal, scored at 8:28 of the final period, was assisted by Jordan Eberle and Justin Schultz. Smyth’s score gave the Oilers hope by drawing them within one.
“I’ve had a few more games then those guys for sure but obviously, to be mentioned with those guys is an honour,” Smyth said. “Those guys set the bar really high as far as winning Stanley Cups and team and what that all meant for the Oilers organization period so. It’s a nice feeling for sure.”
It was Philip Larsen however how would tie the game up late in the third period. Larsen walked the puck in on the Islanders goalie from the face-off dot. Larsen switched backhand to forehand and slipped a shot through traffic and in. It was Larsen’s first game since January 29th and just his second since December 19.
“Smytty, I think he tried to put a backhand… I don’t know if it was for me, I don’t think so,” Larsen said. “I think he saw something and I think it was a little lucky it came to me. I had speed, I went down and I saw an opening and I shot it. It was nice to see it go in.”
Larsen’s goal at 16:53 was assisted by Smyth and Perron.
In the overtime period, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins had an excellent scoring chance but his wrister was denied.
The comeback was complete when Taylor Hall and Sam Gagner had a 2-on-1 rush. Hall scored at 2:29 of the overtime period to close out the victory.