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Oilers hold off Coyotes 5-4; McDavid reaches 140 points

TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) — Ryan Nugent-Hopkins scored the tiebreaking goal with 7:55 remaining and the Edmonton Oilers beat the Arizona Coyotes 5-4 on Monday night.
Edmonton Oilers left wing Zach Hyman (18) celebrates with center Ryan Nugent-Hopkins after scoring a goal aginst the Arizona Coyotes in the first period during an NHL hockey game, Monday, March 27, 2023, in Tempe, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) — Ryan Nugent-Hopkins scored the tiebreaking goal with 7:55 remaining and the Edmonton Oilers beat the Arizona Coyotes 5-4 on Monday night.

Zack Hyman, Evan Bouchard, Darnell Nurse and Leon Draisaitl also scored for the Oilers, who extended their points streak to seven (6-0-1). Jack Campbell stopped 29 shots.

“We’re walking out of this building with those two points, but there were moments where we can be better,” Oilers coach Jay Woodcroft said. “But we found a way to win and that’s a good sign. They’re a good young skilled team.”

Connor McDavid picked up an assist for his 140th point of the season, becoming the first player to reach the mark since Pittsburgh’s Mario Lemieux and Jaromir Jagr both achieved it in 1995-96. The last Oilers player to do it was Wayne Gretzky in 1987-88.

Matias Maccelli and Barrett Hayton scored two goals each for the Coyotes, who lost their fifth straight overall and snapped their eight-game home points streak. Lawson Crouse had three assists and Karel Vejmelka finished with 24 saves.

Arizona coach Andre Tourigny, having seen his team complete a difficult stretch that saw two games in three days against defending Stanley Cup champion Colorado, said he will give them the day off Tuesday. The Coyotes don’t play again until Friday.

“It was a tough one, five games in seven days and (against) those kind of opponents,” Tourigny said. “They worked really hard and I’m really proud of them.”

Nugent-Hopkins' goal was his 34th of the season and came with Arizona's Clayton Keller in the penalty box for hooking. It was the Oilers' second power-play goal of the game.

The Oilers hadn't played yet in Mullett Arena, which seats only 5,000 and has been a tough place for opponents, especially recently.

“The rink's probably the same size, I would imagine,” Hyman said. “Just with the limited seating it's a college game obviously with the fans on top of you. It was a different experience. … It's a weird throwback environment.”

Edmonton entered Monday as the highest scoring team in the league with 286 goals. They showed why in the first period with three goals — one on a power play, one short-handed and one at even strength.

Arizona scored first, though, as Maccelli scored his ninth goal from the slot off Campbell's glove 3:50 into the game.

That didn’t last long as the Coyotes’ Nathan Smith was penalized for holding at 4:34. Just 6 seconds later, Hyman tied it up on a rebound for his 32nd. McDavid had his 80th assist of the season on the play.

Hayton put the Coyotes in front again with a power-play goal with 7:01 left in the period, exactly one minute after Edmonton’s Vincent Desharnais went to the penalty box for holding. But that advantage also went away quickly when Bouchard scored his fifth of the season, on a second-chance goal with 6:26 remaining after Nick Bjugstad drove to the net.

Despite McDavid being in the penalty box for hooking, the Oilers took their first lead on Nurse’s ninth goal at 18:11 when he and Kailer Yamamoto broke in on Vejmelka 2-on-1.

After five goals and six penalties in the first period, the second period just had one goal, when Draisaitl scored his 46th, beating Vejmelka from the faceoff circle to the goalie’s left with 5:28 remaining to push the Oilers' lead to 4-2.

The Coyotes, who have made a habit of rallying in the third period, did it again on Monday. Maccelli's 10th goal of the season 3:52 into the third period — assisted by Crouse and McBain as on the first goal — cut it to 4-3, and Hayton tied it up less than a minute later with his 17th goal with assists by Keller and Nick Schmaltz. But this time Arizona was unable to get the game into overtime.

“Proud of the fight we put up, but at the same time it’s frustrating," Hayton said.


Oilers: LW Ryan McLeod (undisclosed) was a scratch.

Coyotes: D Josh Brown (upper body) returned after missing six games. Former Oiler RW Zack Kassian (upper body) was a scratch.


Oilers: At Vegas on Tuesday night.

Coyotes: Host Minnesota on Friday night.


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Jack Thompson, The Associated Press