Gagner scores 2, Coyotes top plummeting Oilers 5-1
Dec. 24, 2014
EDMONTON, Alberta (AP) — The Arizona Coyotes are going to miss playing the Edmonton Oilers the rest of the season.
Sam Gagner had two goals and two assists against his former team as Arizona beat Edmonton 5-1 on Tuesday night, handing the Oilers their eighth consecutive defeat and 19th in 20 games.
Martin Erat, Keith Yandle and Brandon Gormley also scored for the Coyotes, who won for the third time in their last 13 games — with all three victories coming against Edmonton. Arizona (12-18-4) swept the five-game season series.
"It felt good. It's obviously a big win for us. Things haven't been going great," Gagner said.
The Coyotes extended their point streak against Edmonton to 18 games, the longest in franchise history against one opponent. Their last loss in regulation to the Oilers came on Jan. 25, 2011.
"It's a crazy game sometimes," Arizona coach Dave Tippett said. "We have games where we think we should win and we don't win and then there is times when you don't play well and for whatever reason you win the game. I have no answer for that."
Justin Schultz scored for the plummeting Oilers (7-21-7), who fell to 1-17-6 against Western Conference opponents.
"There is a disconnect," captain Andrew Ference said. "Everybody has a part to play as part of a machine to make a good team in this league and right now there is a piece missing here and a piece missing there and it throws the whole thing off. It is nowhere near where it has to be in this league."
Arizona took a 1-0 lead 1:44 into the first period on the game's first shot. Gagner took a bad-angle shot that somehow got past goalie Ben Scrivens for his fourth of the season.
"It was one of those nights where things seemed to go in for me. I haven't had a lot of that this year. I'll take it when I can get it," Gagner said.
The Coyotes scored on their third shot of the game as well, 5 minutes in. Connor Murphy sent a point shot on net that Erat tipped in. Scrivens was then pulled, with Viktor Fasth coming in to replace him.
Edmonton got one of those early goals back just more than a minute later when Schultz's shot was inadvertently deflected by Arizona's B.J. Crombeen past his own goalie, Devan Dubnyk, another former Oiler.
Dubnyk won all three of his starts against his old squad this season.
"I know those guys can blow up over there and light the lamp," he said. "I'm real happy with the way it went this year. I feel for some of those guys over there, though."
Edmonton ended up outshooting Arizona 13-8 through 20 minutes.
The Coyotes made it 3-1 at 7:54 of the second when Shane Doan spotted a wide-open Yandle streaking in from the point and fed him the puck from behind the net to set up a hard shot that beat Fasth.
Arizona made it 5-1 early in the third on two goals just 13 seconds apart.
The first one came 4 minutes in as a shot from Gormley that was going well wide hit defender Oscar Klefbom's left skate and caromed into the Oilers net.
Gormley factored in on the next goal as well, as his point shot was tipped by Gagner for his second of the game.
"We obviously took a step back tonight," Edmonton interim coach Todd Nelson said. "It wasn't the game that we wanted. I thought that our execution was pretty poor."
NOTES: Both teams take a holiday break until Saturday, when the Oilers visit Calgary and the Coyotes return home to face Anaheim. Edmonton forward Taylor Hall said the team needs to get away from the rink for a few days and players need to clear their heads. "This season, I couldn't imagine a worse start to a year than we have," he said. "But it will be a new year and I think this break will do nothing but good for our team." ... Gagner had one point in his first four games against Edmonton this season. ... Oilers rookie Leon Draisaitl returned to the lineup after sitting out against Dallas, the first time this season the 2014 third overall draft pick has been a healthy scratch. ... Edmonton forward Matt Hendricks was out with an illness, paving the way for the return of Luke Gazdic. Also out for the Oilers were Benoit Pouliot (foot) and Nikita Nikitin (back). ... Gormley returned from a lower-body injury, but Lauri Korpikoski (lower body) remained out.