EDMONTON, AB - Taylor Hall scores in his return from injury, but the Oilers drop a 2-1 decision to the Coyotes
Taylor Hall scored in his return from injury, but the Oilers never led as the Coyotes skated away from Rexall Place with a 2-1 win.
Former Oilers goaltender Devan Dubnyk locked it down in the first period, keeping Arizona ahead. Edmonton centre Ryan Nugent-Hopkins had a shorthanded breakaway chance, but Dubnyk met his former teammate just inside the blue line to break it up. He made 15 saves in the opening frame, as the Oilers outshot the Coyotes 15-8.
“Duby played great,” Hall said. “You don’t want to see a guy like that play well against you but he’s a really good guy and someone that you should root for. It was kind of bitter sweet seeing him play well. He shut us out until the last six minutes and it’s tough to win when you only score one.”
At 14:08 of the first period, Coyotes defenceman Brandon Gormley scored his first career NHL goal on the power play. Gormley ripped a slap shot long-range from above the circle, past the glove of Ben Scrivens, to give Arizona the 1-0 lead.
The Oilers got the crowd into the game with an inspired effort, killing off a Coyotes 5-on-3 power play with under 7 minutes to play in the second period.
The momentum swing couldn’t net the Oilers the equalizer in the second and they’d head into the third period down by one.
The Oilers put up 34 shots in the game, but not a lot of them were in the red area up the middle. A lot of their shots came from the outside and Arizona recorded 25 blocked shots.
“We had a lot of shots but I don’t think they were quality,” Eberle said. “We didn’t have those second opportunities in front of the net. We had trouble getting in front of the net and getting rebounds. They collapsed pretty well and we have to find a way to get there. That’s how you score goals in this league, it’s pretty simple.”
Arizona expanded the gap to two goals when Mikkel Boedker scored from the slot at 12:51 of the third period. Antoine Vermette and Lauri Korpikoski earned the assists.
“It’s just one of those games where we were a bounce a way from being there,” Hall said. “Those are games we have to find a way to win somehow.”
The Oilers were buzzing late after pulling Scrivens for the extra attacker. The Coyotes were able to survive the attack, closing out the 2-1 win.
Dubnyk finished the game with 33 saves, earning the victory over his former team. Scrivens made 26 stops in the loss.