It was just a matter of time before Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Jordan Eberle and the Barons' power play started tearing up the score sheet.
Nugent-Hopkins scored two goals, and Eberle also lit the lamp as Oklahoma City scored four power-play goals in a 4-3 win over the Lake Erie Monsters Tuesday night at the Cox Convention Center.
OKC entered Tuesday's game 1-of-17 on power play opportunities.
The Barons were 4-of-7 in Tuesday's win.
Three goals, including the game-winner, were when the Edmonton Oilers' young stars were on the ice. Less than six minutes into the third period, Eberle found a way to shuffle the puck to Nugent-Hopkins.
“At the end of the day you just have to shoot the puck and be greasy,” Eberle said. “That's what we did. We had the one off Mags (Magnus Paajarvi) that (Teemu Hartikainen) put it in. I lost the one to Nuge. We had some greasy stuff around the net. When it's clicking, it's clicking.”
Eberle and Nugent-Hopkins combined for 23 shots in Oklahoma City's first four games but scored only one goal. They combined for three in Tuesday's win.
“It's always good to get the first (goal) out of the way,” Nugent-Hopkins said. “It can take awhile sometimes. But I thought as a line we had been playing really well. ... We got some good bounces out there today. It's just kind of been building the first four games.”
Eberle and Nugent-Hopkins were the Edmonton Oilers' top two scorers last year but had combined for only three points the first four games.
“They didn't play in the exhibition games and got thrown into the league right away,” said Edmonton general manager Steve Tambellini. “You're starting to see them now. They've had chances. Now those chances are turning into goals.”
Some credit also goes to Lake Erie, the AHL affiliate of the Colorado Avalanche.
Four of the Barons' first five games have been against the Monsters, who posted 4-0 wins in their two non-OKC games.
“They're one of the hottest teams in the league right now,” Tambellini said. “It's a good match. That's what you want to see, our guys playing against a good, hungry team. That's how you get better. They're very quick and they have mobile defensemen.”
Similar to the first three games, neither team could build a two-goal lead.
“That's a good team over there,” Eberle said. “We've had some good battles. Anytime you go into the third period tied and find a way to come out with a win, that's a lot of character for our team.”
Rookie defenseman Justin Schultz, named the AHL Player of the Week, continues to lead the Barons in scoring. With three more assists on Tuesday, Schultz has nine points, including four goals.
The Monsters got two power-play goals from Bryan Lerg. His first put Lake Erie up 1-0 early. Lerg tied the game 3-3 late in the second period. But the Barons got a split of the four-game season series on Nugent-Hopkins' third period goal.
“I think that's a team that's going to be at the top all year,” said Barons coach Todd Nelson. “They're hard to play against because they're fast and they compete extremely hard. They're a good hockey team. We're done with them this year unless we meet in the playoffs.”