EDMONTON — The Arizona Coyotes are going to miss playing the Edmonton Oilers for the rest of the year.
Sam Gagner had two goals and two assists as the Coyotes snapped a two-game losing skid, coming away with a 5-1 victory over the Oilers on Tuesday.
“It felt good, it’s obviously a big win for us, things haven’t been going great,” said Gagner, a former Oiler. “For myself, it’s a good feeling, I just want to help contribute in wins. After Monday night (a 7-1 loss in Vancouver), it’s a big win for us.
“It was one of those night where things seemed to go in for me. I haven’t had a lot of that this year, I’ll take it when I can get it.”
The Coyotes swept the five-game season series with the Oilers and the 10 points they gained doing so account for 36 per cent of their 28 total points on the year.
Arizona head coach Dave Tippett said it is difficult to account for his team’s domination of Edmonton this year.
“Who knows? Probably because we’ve played them more than anybody else,” he said. “It’s a crazy game sometimes.
“We have games where we think we should win and we don’t win and then there is times when you don’t play well and for whatever reason you win the game. I have no answer for that.”
Martin Erat, Keith Yandle and Brandon Gormley also scored for the Coyotes (12-18-4), who won for just the third time in their last 13 games- all three of those victories coming against Edmonton.
Another former Oiler, goalie Devan Dubnyk, earned the win in net for Arizona. While glad to win all three of his starts against his old squad, he believes Edmonton has to come out of its funk at some time.
“I know those guys can blow up over there and light the lamp,” he said. “I’m real happy with the way it went this year. I feel for some of those guys over there though.”
Justin Schultz replied for the Oilers (7-21-7), who have now lost eight in a row and 19 of their past 20 games.
“We obviously took a step back tonight,” said Oilers interim head coach Todd Nelson. “It wasn’t the game that we wanted. I thought that our execution was pretty poor.”
The Oilers still only have one win against Western Conference opponents as well, sitting at a troubling 1-17-6 in that category.
“There is a disconnect,” said Oilers captain Andrew Ference.
“Everybody has a part to play as part of a machine to make a good team in this league and right now there is a piece missing here and a piece missing there and it throws the whole thing off. It is nowhere near where it has to be in this league.”
Oilers forward Taylor Hall said his team needs to get away from the rink for a few days and clear their heads.
“This season, I couldn’t imagine a worse start to a year than we have,” he said. “But it will be a new year and I think this break will do nothing but good for our team.”
Arizona took a 1-0 lead 1:44 into the first period on the game’s first shot. Gagner took a hopeful bad-angle shot on net that somehow got past Edmonton starting goalie Ben Scrivens for his fourth goal of the season.
The Coyotes scored on their third shot of the game as well, five minutes into the contest. Connor Murphy sent a point shot on net that Erat tipped into the goal. Scrivens was then given the hook, with Viktor Fasth coming in to replace him.
Edmonton got one of those early goals back just over a minute later as a Schultz shot was inadvertently deflected by Coyote B.J. Crombeen past his own goalie, Devan Dubnyk.
The Oilers ended up outshooting Arizona 13-8 through 20 minutes.
The Coyotes made it 3-1 eight minutes into the second period as Doan spotted a wide-open Yandle streaking in from the point and fed him the puck from behind the net to set up a cannon of a shot that beat Fasth.
Arizona took a 5-1 lead early in the third period on goals just 13 seconds apart.
The first one came four minutes in as a shot from Gormley that was going well wide hit defender Oscar Klefbom’s left skate and caromed into the Oiler net.
Gormley factored in on the next goal as well, as his point shot was tipped by Gagner for his second goal of the game.
Both teams take a holiday break until Dec. 27 when the Oilers will travel down the road to face the Calgary Flames and the Coyotes return home to take on the Anaheim Ducks.