The Oilers head to Colorado to face the Avalanche on Monday. Game time is 7:00 p.m. MDT and it can be seen on Sportsnet One or heard on 630 CHED and the Oilers Radio Network.
EDMONTON, AB – The Oilers got goals from Jordan Eberle, Derek Roy, Benoit Pouliot and Andrew Miller, as well as a shut-down performance in net from Richard Bachman as they took a 4-0 win over Dallas.
Miller scored his first NHL goal at 16:40 of the third, going bar-down on a penalty shot. That made the score 4-0 and it was very much out of reach.
“It was a great shot and we’re very happy for him,” Oilers Interim Coach Todd Nelson said. “He’s had some pretty good opportunities and he just hasn’t found the back of the net. It was nice to see him score that one. Any time you score your first NHL goal it’s an unbelievable feeling and I’m sure he’s enjoying it right now.”
The scoring started when the Oilers jumped out to a 1-0 lead 33 seconds into the first period. Pouliot and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins came down the ice on a 2-on-1 rush. Pouliot passed it to his centre who fanned on a shot and skated to the boards. Nugent-Hopkins centred it out in front for Eberle who slid the puck past Dallas goaltender Kari Lehtonen for his 22nd goal of the season.
That goal marked the third time on the Oilers six-game homestand that they scored in the first minute of play. Pouliot scored 53 seconds into the first period on March 16, against Toronto. Nugent-Hopkins scored 51 seconds into their game against Philadelphia on March 21.
With 9:01 left in the first, Oilers winger Nail Yakupov flattened Dallas centre Vernon Fiddler with a collision at centre ice. No penalty was called, although the two teams gathered at the Oilers blueline for some pushing and shoving.
1:35 into the second period the Stars nearly tied things up, but Jamie Benn missed a wide-open net behind Richard Bachman.
At the 8:30 mark of the second, Nugent-Hopkins got loose on a breakaway but was robbed by the glove of Lehtonen. That came immediately following a big hit by Taylor Hall on Benn, which led to some words being exchanged between the two. That sequence raised the energy in the building substantially.
“It was a great hockey game for fans,” Roy said of the energy in the building. “I think even during the tv timeout, they were doing the wave and it’s getting the guys going. I thought in the third period, it was a good atmosphere and the players fed off some of the energy.”
Bachman made a huge sliding post-to-post save on Patrick Eaves with just over three minutes remaining in the second.
“Bachs was the reason we were ahead in that game,” said Eberle. “He stood on his head, plain and simple. He won us that game.
Roy provided some cushion at 9:24 of the third period, giving the Oilers a 2-0 lead. Teddy Purcell worked the puck to the corner and Yakupov centred it in front. Roy chipped it past Lehtonen for his 12th goal with the Oilers this season and his fifth goal in his last eight games.
Pouliot put the nail in the coffin at 13:32 of the final frame, making good on a backdoor feed by Hall. Justin Schultz tacked on the second assist. Pouliot’s 17th goal of the season tied a single season career high.
Miller piled on with his penalty shot strike. According to Elias Sports Bureau, Miller is the first player in Oilers franchise history to score his first NHL goal on a penalty shot.
“Usually I get a little nervous, but I was able to kind of calm down, take some breaths, do my move and luckily it went in,” Miller said.
Bachman finished the game with 29 saves against his former organization. Bachman was drafted by the Stars in the fourth round of the 2006 NHL Draft.
“On a selfish note, it feels good to beat them,” said Bachman. “But I thought our guys did some really good things tonight as far as blocking shots when I couldn’t see it and capitalizing on our opportunities. We gave up a few odd-man rushes that we probably didn’t like, but I thought it was a real good hockey game.”
The Oilers have earned points in six of their last seven games, and finished their six-game homestand with a record of 4-1-1.