EDMONTON, AB - An offensive slugfest ended in a heartbreaking 6-5 shootout loss for the Edmonton, with a former Oilers captain scoring the winner for Dallas.
After a strong start to the second period, in which they scored four-straight goals, the Oilers watched a 5-2 lead disappear before their eyes.
“We have to develop mental toughness as a group,” Oilers interim coach Todd Nelson said. “We’ve got to work on things in practice with our structure, but it comes down to compete and just refusing to let bad habits creep in.”
In the first, Jamie Benn took a goaltender interference penalty at 2:48 to give the Oilers the first power play of the game.
Oilers interim coach Todd Nelson spoke on Saturday about focusing on special teams and scoring more “greasy” goals with a net-front presence. The Oilers seemed to get the message, scoring almost immediately on the man advantage. Teddy Purcell stood in front of the Stars net and tipped a shot from Jordan Eberle. Taylor Hall pounced on the loose puck and fired it past a scrambling Kari Lehtonen just 2:58 into the game.
The tally was Hall’s first goal since November 25, in Dallas.
At 6:36 of the first, Dallas tied the game with their own net-front presence. Former Oilers captain Shawn Horcoff batted in a rebound from right in front of Ben Scrivens to make it 1-1. Horcoff was assisted by Jyrki Jokipakka and Colton Sceviour.
Erik Cole, who played for the Oilers during the 2008-09 season, scored for Dallas to give them the 2-1 lead at 10:20 of the first period. Another former Oiler, Ales Hemsky, recorded an assist on the goal with Alex Goligoski earning the second helper.
Just 11 seconds into the second period the Oilers tied the game 2-2. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins battled for the puck on a contested rush and freed it up for Purcell in the slot. Purcell scored for his second point of the night.
Mark Arcobello gave the Oilers the 3-2 lead at 2:44 of the middle frame. Arcobello won the draw then went to the net. A point shot by Petry found its way through and Arcobello potted the rebound.
Arcobello scored his second of the night at 9:19 of the same period. Steve Pinizzotto fired a shot on net and Arcobello put away the rebound from the slot. Matt Hendrick earned the second assist.
With the score being 4-2, Lehtonen’s night was finished. Anders Lindback replaced the Stars goaltender in net.
Hall joined the two-goal club at 13:17 of the second period. Hall scored on a breakaway to push the Oilers lead to 5-2. Purcell picked up his third point of the night with an assist on the goal.
“I thought we had some signs of real positivity,” Arcobello said. “In that second period, we came out strong and gave ourselves a little cushion there. I think we maybe got a little too comfortable.”
With 20.5 seconds remaining in the second period, Benn scored on the power play to give Dallas some momentum heading into the third period. Jason Spezza and Tyler Seguin recorded the assists.
“They got some momentum there at the end of the second with that power play goal and they really came out hard in the third,” Purcell said. “There are no excuses. When we’re up three goals we’ve got to find a way to close it off.”
Dallas drew within one 52 seconds into the third period. Seguin scored, assisted by John Klingberg and Goligoski.
Seguin tied the game at 9:13 of the third when he put in a rebound off the pad of Scrivens. Benn and Hemsky got the assists.
The game went to overtime tied 5-5, and then onward to a shootout. Horcoff scored the dagger for the Oilers and the winner for the Stars in the eighth round of the shootout.