, Taylor Hall
and Jordan Eberle
combined to score seven second-period points, propelling the Oilers to a dominant 3-0 lead. Ray Whitney and Shane Doan responded for the visitors, but Nikolai Khabibulin
shut the door when he was needed, stopping 18 of 20 Coyotes shots in the team's 3-2 victory at Rexall Place.
Carrying over a strong outing vs. Calgary this past Saturday, Nikolai Khabibulin
looked sharp in the game's early-going, making two point-blank saves only 1:15 in.
Near the eight-minute mark, Ryan Jones
broke in on a two-on-one with Antti Tyrvainen
. Jones' quick wrister was stopped, Tyrvainen pounced on the rebound but Coyotes netminder Mike Smith turned that one away, too.
As the midway point of the period passed, the Oilers held a slim 5-4 edge in shots, but neither team was able to orchestrate much in the attack end.
With 3:27 remaining in the period, the Oilers went to the power-play when Oliver Ekman-Larsson was assessed a holding minor.
1:17 into the advantage, Taylor Hall
soared down the wing, driving the net and putting a shot on Smith. While the 2010 No. 1 overall pick was denied, careening into the end-boards in the process, 2011's selection was not. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins
pounced on the rebound, sliding the puck past the Phoenix netminder for the game's icebreaker.
1:10 into the second, the Oilers' dynamic trio struck once more. Nugent-Hopkins sped down the near side, sliding a pass across to a streaking Hall. No. 4 wasted little time in blasting the puck upstairs, establishing a 2-0 Oilers lead.
Holding a commanding 16-9 lead on the shot clock, Edmonton went back to the power-play at 4:17 when Derek Morris was charged for slashing. Nugent-Hopkins, Hall and Jordan Eberle
choreographed several high-quality chances, but were unable to solve Smith a third time.
They did eventually, mind you. With 6:11 to play, Nugent-Hopkins sliced into the Coyotes zone, setting up Hall with a clear lane on goal. The 6'1", 194-pound winger snapped a bullet glove-side, denting the twine and putting the Oilers up 3-0 on the team's 23rd shot.
Eight seconds later, the Coyotes were put on the power-play when Eric Belanger
was called for high-sticking. That opportunity passed without incident (and a Coyotes shot), allowing the Oilers' lead to remain on the board.
Edmonton's lead was tested once again at 17:58 when Tom Gilbert
was sent off to serve an intereference minor, and this time Phoenix made good. Sloppy coverage, combined with a heads-up, door-step appearance by Ray Whitney allowed the veteran winger to cash, cutting the Oilers' lead to a 3-1 tally.
With 40 minutes expired, Edmonton continued to lead by that same score and was in possession of a dominant 24-13 advantage in shots.
By the period's 14-minute mark TV timeout, the Oilers and Coyotes each added a pair of shots, but nothing came of the chances.
With 10:49 on the clock, Coyotes rearguard Adrian Aucoin was assessed a cross-checking minor, putting the lethal Oilers back on the power-play. The Oilers added another shot, but another marker could not be recorded.
At 11:46, the man-advantage tables turned. Hall etched the scoresheet once more, but with a minor penalty for tripping. Like the Oilers' previous opportunity, chances were scarce and the 3-1 score remained.
was also called, putting the Coyotes back on the power-play with 6:14 on the clock. 46 seconds into the chance, Shane Doan brought Phoenix within one. A chaotic, tic-tac-toe sequence helped the puck land on the veteran's stick; snapping the puck upstairs on Khabibulin, No. 19 cut the score to a 3-2 Oilers edge.
With only 1:57 to play, the Coyotes' comeback quest stalled. Ray Whitney was called for boarding, sending the Oilers to their fourth power-play. The Phoenix 'tender was pulled with 30 seconds to play, but Edmonton held off the Coyotes' push, winning 3-2 as time ticked away.
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