The Edmonton Oilers hit a season high in goals scored with an 8-2 decision over the Arizona Coyotes Wednesday night at Rogers Place.
“It’s one of our best games,” Oilers head coach Jay Woodcroft said of the win.
“To see some unusual suspects get on the scoreboard I think is good for their own personal confidence.”
The Oilers hopped into the lead before the game was five minutes old with Ryan Nugent-Hopkins sniping his twelfth goal of the season on the power play.
“We know they’re a work-based team and we need to have the mentality of trying to outwork them early,” Nugent-Hopkins said. “I thought we did a good job of that and built off it.”
Later in the period, Oilers forward Derek Ryan got in behind the defence and went to the backhand to beat Coyotes goaltender Connor Ingram to make it 2-0.
“Scoring goals is not a problem for our group,” Ryan said after the game. “In the long term, that’s not our problem.
“Keeping pucks out of our net is what we need to focus on.”
Edmonton forward Leon Draisaitl flicked in a shot from a sharp angle for another power-play strike in the second.
Arizona got some life when Jack McBain cut in front and tucked the puck past an extended Stuart Skinner. However, Nugent-Hopkins scored 23 seconds later. Then Brett Kulak scored late in the second to make it 5-1 Edmonton.
“I think everybody was involved-and involved offensively,” Nugent-Hopkins said.
“I thought we were solid defensively for the most part, and when we weren’t, (Skinner) was there to back us up.”
Oilers captain Connor McDavid added two goals in the third to get up to 24 on the season.
Edmonton’s Klim Kostin had his second of the season while Shayne Gostisbehere scored for the Coyotes.
“I’ve been waiting for this moment for a long time,” Kostin said.
“It’s an insane feeling. I can’t explain it with words. To score in front of our fans, it’s an amazing feeling.”
“I love playing with him,” Ryan said. “He plays hard, he plays the right way, he holds onto pucks in the offensive and neutral zones and makes good plays.”
Former Oiler Zack Kassian had a fight with Kostin in the final minute.
“He cross-checked me from behind and grabbed my neck, so I said, ‘OK, there’s nowhere to hide from this fight,'” Kostin said.
“I’m not looking for a fight — I just want to play hockey. But if fights come, I’m not going away.”
It was the last of 14 consecutive road games for the Coyotes.
The Oilers (15-12) will host the Minnesota Wild on Friday. You can listen to the game live on 630 CHED beginning with The Faceoff Show at 5:30 p.m. The actual game starts at 7 p.m.
–With files from Brenden Escott, 630 CHED