EDMONTON – You can add Devan Dubnyk’s name to the lengthy list of former Edmonton Oilers who have come back to haunt them.
Dubnyk made 33 saves and Mikkel Boedker scored the game winner as the Arizona Coyotes defeated the Oilers 2-1 on Sunday.
“It does (feel good),” said Dubnyk, who began last season as the Oilers starting goalie prior to being traded away in January and bouncing around before signing on as a free agent to serve as the backup in Arizona. “I tried not to think about it too much and tried to build off of my last game and things I did well. That helped take away from the situation and not letting it get to me.”
Brandon Gormley also scored for the Coyotes (8-9-1), who have put together back-to-back victories after dropping three in a row.
“He was solid, just like the other night,” said Coyotes head coach Dave Tippett of Dubnyk, who was coming off a shutout win over Vancouver. “We blocked a lot of shots in front of him, but just like the other night, he was big and solid in the net and gave us another real strong game.
“Our penalty killing did a heck of a job, blocked a lot of shots, got in a lot of lanes. It was kind of an ugly road game that we’ll take the points and move on.”
Taylor Hall replied for the Oilers (6-10-2), who have lost three straight and have yet to defeat a Western Conference opponent this season— falling to 0-8-1 in that department. Twenty of Edmonton’s next 23 games are against the West.
“It was a close game for the most part,” Hall said. “It was just one of those game where we were just a bounce away from being there, but those are the games we have to find a way to win somehow.
“They blocked a lot of shots. It seemed like they were always in the lanes and taking away the best shooting angle they could. We have to find a way around that and maybe be a little more creative with our shot selections.”
Oilers head coach Dallas Eakins said he was pleased with the overall effort.
“It was one of those nights where it’s hard to look at anybody in our lineup and fault them, say they had an off game or anything like that,” he said. “When you get into games like that, the difference is who’s going to drive the net, who’s going to get to the net and who’s going to find the greasy goals.
“There were a number of times where instead of driving through we sort of drove halfway through and opened up looking for a pass.”
Hall said he is glad to see Dubnyk, who is now 4-0-1 on the season, doing well. He just wished it hadn’t come against the Oilers.
“Dubnyk played great,” he said. “You don’t want to see someone like that play well against you, but he is a really good guy and someone who it is easy to root for. It was bittersweet seeing him playing well.”
The best opportunity to start the scoring came with seven-and-a-half minutes remaining in the first period as Oiler centre Ryan Nugent-Hopkins almost had a short-handed breakaway. Dubnyk, however, came flying well out of his net to knock the puck away.
“I thought I was going to get killed there,” Dubnyk said. “That was for Dominik Hasek’s Hall of Fame induction, that was a tribute to him.
“I never thought he was going to beat me to it, but I thought we were going to get there at the same time. I thought I was going to get clocked. I’m going to have to thank him after for not killing me.”
Arizona capitalized on the same power play just over a minute later as Gormley unleashed a bullet from the top of the circle through traffic and past Oilers starter Ben Scrivens. It was Gormley’s first NHL goal.
Edmonton outshot the Coyotes 15-8 through 20 minutes.
The Coyotes had a glorious chance to pad their lead late in the second period on a two-man advantage after Scrivens was charged with a delay of game penalty, But the Edmonton penalty killers didn’t allow them a sniff at the net.
The shots favoured the Oilers 25-16 after the second period, with Arizona blocking 14 shots in the second frame alone.
The Coyotes went up 2-0 with seven minutes left in the third as Edmonton had trouble clearing the zone and Antoine Vermette was able to send it in front to Boedker, who beat Scrivens stick-side for his seventh goal of the season and fourth in two games against the Oilers this year.
Edmonton broke Dubnyk’s shutout bid a minute later on the power play as Jordan Eberle put a pass through traffic to Hall out front, and he sent his seventh of the year into the net.
The Oilers had a great chance to tie the game with Justin Schultz looking at an empty net, however Martin Erat got a stick out to deflect the shot and preserve the victory.
Scrivens made 26 saves in a losing cause.
The Coyotes return home for one game against the Washington Capitals on Tuesday before heading out on the road for three more. The Oilers play the third game of a five-game homestand on Wednesday against the Vancouver Canucks.
Notes: It was the second of five games between the Oilers and Coyotes this season. Arizona won the first encounter 7-4 on Oct. 15… The Coyotes entered the game riding a 14-game point streak against the Oilers, tied for the longest point streak against the same opponent in franchise history. The Coyotes last lost in regulation to Edmonton on Jan. 25, 2011… Hall returned to the Oilers lineup after being out the past six games with a strained knee… The game marked the return of a couple of former Oilers for the first time as Dubnyk, fresh off a shutout win over the Canucks, and Coyotes forward Sam Gagner, who was dealt over the summer by the Oilers, played their first games against Edmonton. Gagner spent his first seven seasons in the NHL with Edmonton… Out for Arizona was forward David Moss (upper body). The Oilers were completely healthy for the first time this season… It was Oilers’ head coach Dallas Eakins 100th career game behind the bench. His record is 35-54-11.