Eberle leads Oilers past Coyotes 3-2 in shootout
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, nine-game trip.
"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 habits."
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 that."
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.
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