Leon Draisaitl scored the game-winner with 5:31 left in third, giving the Edmonton Oilers a 5-3 decision over the Calgary Flames Saturday night at Rogers Place.
The Oilers end a seven-game winless skid that saw them go 0-5-2.
“We’re not the team that loses seven in-a-row,” Draisaitl said. “We’re not that bad, and I think everybody knows that. We know that. And I think that’s most important. Tonight feels really, really good but we have to continue pushing and getting better.”
LISTEN BELOW: Leon Draisaitl and Mikko Koskinen
For the 24th time in the last 28 games, the Oilers allowed the first goal. Matthew Tkachuk slammed in a rebound to make it 1-0 8:29 into the game. Milan Lucic deflected a puck past Mikko Koskinen for a power play goal in the final minute of the first.
“It would’ve been easy to fold up shop and worry about the next one down two, but I thought our group responded well,” Connor McDavid said.
The Oilers broke through on the power play in the second when Evan Bouchard bombed one past Flames goaltender Jacob Markstrom. Bouchard wristed home another power play marker four minutes later.
“Jesse (Puljujarvi) was doing a great job net-front, doing the dirty work in front and that’s how goals come,” Bouchard said.
LISTEN BELOW: Connor McDavid and Evan Bouchard
Brendan Perlini rifled in his fourth of the season to make it 3-2 with 1:41 to go in the second, but Noah Hanifin replied for the Flames 57 seconds later.
Koskinen made a brilliant, stretching save to deny Dillon Dube on a two-on-one halfway through the third.
“I think it’s my top save in the NHL if you think about where we are,” Koskinen said.
“Saturday night against your biggest rival on Hockey Night in Canada, and you’re on a losing streak—there’s a lot of pressure with that, and he performed very well,” Oilers head Coach Dave Tippett said of Edmonton’s goaltender.
“(Koskinen) is a guy that’s faced a lot of criticism—same with a lot of our group—but he’s a guy we want to battle for and he played great for us tonight,” McDavid said post-game. “He made a lot of great saves and that one in particular was massive for us. It gave us a chance to win.”
Later, Draisaitl took a long pass from Duncan Keith and went in down the right side. He cut around Chris Tanev, out-waited Markstrom and flipped in his 27th tally of the season. Draisaitl, who finished with two goals and two assists, added an empty netter just before time expired.
Koskinen made 44 saves for his first win since December 1.
“There’s relief but there’s a happiness,” Tippett said post-game. “People don’t realize the toll it takes on you when you lose. It hurts everybody, so it’s great to see them feel good about it for a night and, hopefully, it’s a night we can use to start building ourselves back up again.”
LISTEN BELOW: Dave Tippett
The Oilers, 19-16-2, will play in Vancouver on Tuesday.
With files from Brenden Escott, 630 CHED