EDMONTON, AB - Jordan Eberle got his 100th career NHL goal as the Oilers scored three straight to send the game to overtime, but Mike Hoffman closed out Ottawa’s 4-3 win at Rexall Place.
Still breathing heavy from their recent five-game road trip, the Oilers struggled to gain their footing early. It lead to a quick Ottawa lead.
“We couldn’t get our feet under us early,” Oilers Head Coach Dallas Eakins said. “Not only our feet, but our brains weren’t working either and that’s the challenge with those trips. You come back and you try to have the right recipe to come out of it but the timezones and the travel just don’t lineup well. I was impressed that we chipped away at it and stuck with it and it turned into more of a mental battle to get through that. It was good to get the point but we’d like them both.”
The Senators opened the scoring at 3:34 of the first period. Mike Hoffman shot the puck through a screen past Ben Scrivens. Cody Ceci recorded the lone assist.
Ottawa made it 2-0 at 12:51 of the first when Alex Chiasson deflected a shot in from right on top of Scrivens. Chris Phillips and Clarke MacArthur earned the assists.
Oilers defenceman Keith Aulie and Ottawa’s Chris Neil dropped the gloves with 5:22 left in the opening period. Aulie would fight again at 3:17 of the second period with Eric Gryba, who would take an instigator minor and a 10 minute misconduct penalty.
That first scrap provided no spark for the Oilers as the Senators built a three-goal lead at 15:41. Milan Michalek received a feed from Bobby Ryan out in front of Scrivens and he buried the gift. Mika Zibanejad got the second assist.
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins got a reaction out of the Oilers crowd as he went on a partial breakaway with just over two minutes left in the first, but his shot went high over the net.
The Oilers trailed in shots 17-7 after 20 minutes. It was the second straight game where the Oilers were down by three heading into the locker room after the first period. They trailed Nashville 3-0 on Tuesday night.
With 7:03 remaining in the second period, the Oilers got on the board with a power play goal. David Perron’s shot rebounded off the pad of Craig Anderson and Leon Draisaitl was there to bury the loose puck to make it 3-1. Nikita Nikitin got the second assist.
The Oilers hope was renewed at 9:35 of the third period as Jordan Eberle netted his 100th career NHL goal. Benoit Pouliot had the initial shot but, after some chaos in front, Eberle put home the loose puck. Nugent-Hopkins got an assist on the goal as well as Pouliot.
“He’ll be scoring a lot more than 100 as an Oiler, that’s for sure,” Eakins said of Eberle. “That’s a great accomplishment.”
The surging Oilers capitalized on the energy of the building, tying the game at 13:45 of the final frame. Nugent-Hopkins gained the zone and then set up Jeff Petry in the high slot for a one-timer that ringed off the post and found the back of the net. Justin Schultz got the second assist.
“We can’t have the start like we did tonight,” Petry said. “We can’t continually spot teams 2-3 goal leads and expect to comeback. Tonight, we did and we battled but the results weren’t the best in the end.”
The Oilers effort earned them a shot at the game in overtime.
Unfortunately for the Oilers, Hoffman’s shot trickled past Scrivens at 2:39 of overtime to put an end to the comeback story. Curtis Lazar and Jared Cowen earned the assists.
“We needed to get a better start and it didn’t happen,” Nugent-Hopkins said. “That was about the same feeling as last game. You get down 3-0 in this league and it is tough to come back, no matter how much firepower you have up front. I thought we did a good job of not giving up but our start just killed us.”