EDMONTON — It took a shootout for the Edmonton Oilers to bust out of their slump.
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins scored the shootout winner as the Oilers snapped a four-game losing skid with a 2-1 victory over the Anaheim Ducks on Thursday.
Kris Russell scored in regulation for the Oilers (18-20-3), who were outscored 10-0 in their previous two games.
“You never want to give away important points in divisional games, but we got the extra one and that’s what matters most,” said Oilers goalie Cam Talbot, who made 33 saves. “We leave on a road trip with some confidence against a really good team. The way we played, the way we defended, we can take a lot of positives from this game and carry it forward on the trip.”
Oilers captain Connor McDavid picked up an assist, his first point in four games, to end the longest drought of his brief NHL career.
“It’s been a while since we put a performance like that together. It’s a good win for us,” he said. “It is so tight in the West, nobody is really out of it. It is easy to say and harder to do, but we’ll find a way here.”
Ryan Kesler replied for the Ducks (19-14-9), who saw a three-game winning streak come to an end.
“We didn’t have a very good start, it was like we were skating with our boots on and they were playing with their skates on,” said Ducks head coach Randy Carlyle. “We were playing catch-up and if it wasn’t for our goalie, he kept us in the hockey game and gave us a chance.
“We battled back and we got a point in the game and we have to credit our goaltender and our power play and special teams.”
Edmonton controlled the bulk of the play in the scoreless first period, outshooting the Ducks 13-2.
After being denied on a breakaway earlier in the middle frame, McDavid set up the game’s first goal with eight minutes remaining in the second period, dropping a puck back to Russell on an odd-man break to allow the Oilers defenceman to beat Ducks goalie John Gibson and score his third goal of the season.
It was Edmonton’s first goal in 153:43 after getting shut out their previous two games.
The Ducks picked up their game in the second, though, putting 15 shots on Talbot.
Anaheim tied the game on the power play just 18 seconds into the third period when Kesler tipped in a Cam Fowler point shot for his first goal of the season.
Edmonton had a pair of power plays in overtime and some great chances, but couldn’t score, sending the game to the shootout.
Both teams are back at it on Saturday night, with Ducks playing the third game of a five-game trip in Calgary, while the Oilers embark on a five-game trip of their own, starting in Dallas.
Notes: It was the first of four meetings between the Oilers and Ducks this season, and first encounter since Anaheim prevailed over Edmonton in Game 7 of the second round of last year’s playoffs… Edmonton came into the game with the worst home penalty-killing record in NHL history of just 55.6 per cent this season… Oilers forward Patrick Maroon served the first portion of a two-game suspension for a hit to the head of L.A.’s Drew Doughty on Tuesday… Among those out for the Ducks were Patrick Eaves (lower body) and Corey Perry (lower body).