Neal keeps scoring as Oilers top Red Wings Edmonton back in first in NHL

Oilers 2 Red Wings 1

EDMONTON — Darnell Nurse had a pair of assists as the Edmonton Oilers moved back into sole possession of first place overall in the NHL with a 2-1 victory over the Detroit Red Wings on Friday.

James Neal and Ethan Bear scored for the Oilers, who improved to 7-1-0.

Mike Green replied for the Red Wings (3-5-0), who have lost four games in a row.

There was no scoring in the first period with the best chance for Edmonton coming when a Neal hit a post on the power play behind Detroit starter Jonathan Bernier and for the Red Wings when Oilers goalie Mikko Koskinen was forced to make a big leg save on a break by Andreas Athanasiou.

Neal scored eight minutes into the second period when a long rebound came out to him and he put it into the net for his league-leading ninth goal of the season.

With the goal in just Edmonton’s eighth game, Neal has already surpassed the seven he had in all of last season with the Calgary Flames.

Bear scored his second goal in as many games on a long point shot four minutes later for a 2-0 Oilers lead. Leon Draisaitl picked up an assist, giving him at least a point in every game thus far this season for Edmonton.

Detroit clawed back with a goal with just over three minutes left in the second as Green scored his first of the season on a shot through traffic.

The Red Wings had some heavy pressure late in the game but couldn’t get the equalizer in the scoreless third period, one which saw Connor McDavid hit a post on an empty-net attempt in the final minute to go scoreless on the night.

The Oilers hit the road to play the Winnipeg Jets on Sunday, while the Red Wings are off until Tuesday when they return home to face the Vancouver Canucks.

Notes: The Red Wings came into the contest having allowed five goals in each of their three previous games, having been outscored 15-4 in those three defeats after a 3-1-0 start to the season… Oilers general manager Ken Holland faced his long-time former team for the first time since being hired by Edmonton on May 7… The Oilers wore their new third jerseys for the first time in the game.

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