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02/23/2013 8:25 PM EST
Eberle leads Oilers past Coyotes 3-2 in shootout
EDMONTON 3, PHOENIX 2 (OT)
EDMONTON, Alberta (AP) -- The Edmonton Oilers were already facing
a difficult road trip. They certainly didn't want to carry a
losing streak along with them.
Jordan Eberle scored in regulation and in the shootout as the
Oilers snapped a two-game slide with a 3-2 win over the Phoenix
Coyotes on Saturday.
Sam Gagner also scored in the shootout and Teemu Hartikainen had
the other goal in regulation for the Oilers, who rallied from a
two-goal deficit to finish 2-3 on a five-game homestand.
Oilers coach Ralph Krueger said it was crucial for his team to
win before heading out on what could be a season-defining,
"We were very disappointed with our last two games, and the
magnitude of these two points was clear to us," Krueger said.
"To be down 2-0 was a real test of our mettle and our makeup.
"To go on the road with these points gives us some good energy
that we desperately needed."
Gagner agreed that the Oilers couldn't afford to carry the
burden of a losing streak out on the road.
"We desperately needed to win this game," he said. "We weren't
happy with how the homestand went. We knew how big a lift it
would be to come into this game and find a way to win it.
"It's a good feeling here right now, but we have to keep our
foot on the gas for this trip and continue with the right
Kyle Chipchura and Mikkel Boedker scored for the Coyotes, who
had a two-game winning streak snapped.
"It was disappointing to lose after having a 2-0 lead," Coyotes
captain Shane Doan said. "You expect to win at that point, and
unfortunately we didn't. We had opportunities on the power play
and we didn't capitalize on them. We have to be better than
Mike Smith was excellent in making with 41 saves, but he
couldn't stop Eberle and Gagner in the shootout.
"Those were two of the best penalty shots that I have seen in my
life," Krueger said. "Smith is one of the best goalies in the
league, those goals were just world class."
The Coyotes started the scoring after some prolonged pressure
when Chipchura shoveled a shot toward the net that just trickled
across the goal line before Oilers starter Nikolai Khabibulin
could reach back to glove it.
Edmonton had a couple of opportunities to tie the game up late
in the first, both short-handed. Eric Belanger and then Gagner
were able to break loose on breakaways, but both were stoned by
The Oilers came close again five minutes into the second frame
as Ryan Jones lifted a rebound over Smith, only to see
defenseman Keith Yandle swoop in and glove it out of harm's way.
Phoenix made it 2-0 midway through the second with Nick Schultz
serving a double minor for high-sticking. Edmonton had killed
off the bulk of the penalty before a Mikkel Boedker shot got
past Khabibulin and hit the post, allowing Lombardi to sweep in
Edmonton finally got on the board with 3:38 remaining in the
second as Nail Yakupov showed some speed hustling for a dump in
and send a backhand pass to Eberle who chipped it past Smith.
The Oilers tied the game eight minutes into the third on the
power play as Ryan Smyth tipped Justin Schultz's shot and it
went straight to Hartikainen at the side of the net for his
first of the season.
Edmonton had the best chance in overtime with a power play, but
Smith was able to make a dramatic glove save on a hard shot by
Khabibulin stopped Boedker and David Rundblad in the shootout
and finished with 34 saves.
The Oilers now embark on their extended trip, starting Monday in
Chicago, with the Canadian men's curling championships occupying
Rexall Place for the next two weeks.
The opening game of the trip might be the toughest as the Oilers
will face the Blackhawks, who haven't lost in regulation yet
"We weren't the greatest team at home during this run," Eberle
said. "At least with this win we have some momentum going into
the road trip."
Notes: Edmonton forward Taylor Hall served the first of a
two-game suspension for his hit on Minnesota's Cal Clutterbuck
on Thursday. ... Jones played his first game of the season since
sustaining an eye injury during a practice session during the
lockout. ... Edmonton D Ryan Whitney was a healthy scratch for
the fifth time this season. ... Phoenix was without F Radim
Vrbata (lower body) and D Derek Morris (upper body).
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