EDMONTON — It was just last week that the Edmonton Oilers and the Carolina Hurricanes were the two remaining teams without a win in the NHL.
Things have picked up for one of those clubs.
Jordan Eberle had two goals and an assist as the Oilers won their third straight game, defeating the Hurricanes 6-3 on Friday.
Jesse Joensuu, Leon Draisaitl, Matt Hendricks and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins also scored for the Oilers (3-4-1), who have turned things around on their current homestand after a troubling beginning to the season.
“We found a way to win in the third, and that’s the most important thing,” Eberle said. “We got the win, we got the two points. That’s something we weren’t doing last year. We have a little bit of a streak going here.”
Eberle’s goals were his first two of the season.
“It’s definitely nice to get the monkey off my back,” he said. “It seems like it’s the same every year, you get one and I feel good and I start playing my game again.
“It’s funny how it works, you get one and the net turns into a soccer net.”
Joensuu said he feels the current Oilers group has a bit more composure this year.
“Last year we had some frustrating losses in games like this,” he said. “This time it was a good frustration in some of the guys. We knew we had the tools to win the game, we have the skill in this room. We said let’s go out and do it instead of talking about it.”
Riley Nash, Jeff Skinner and Jay Harrison responded for the Hurricanes, the only team in the NHL yet to record a win. They are off to a franchise-worst 0-5-2 start.
“It was tough the way it ended, it’s tough to swallow,” Skinner said. “We showed some character coming back as many times as we did. We just couldn’t find that one goal to put us up.”
Harrison said the Hurricanes need to find a solution to their winless woes — and fast.
“We’re a bit emotional in here right now,” he said.
“We knew it wasn’t going to be easy and it is not going to get any easier. It’s up to the guys in this room to get us out of this. We’re professional athletes and nobody is going to feel sorry for us. We have to continue to get better and work our way out of this. It is the only way.”
There was almost an early start to the scoring as Hurricane Jay McClement hit a post behind Oilers starter Ben Scrivens in the opening minute.
Carolina had 15 shots on Scrivens in a scoreless first period, while the Oilers put 10 on Anton Khudobin in the Hurricanes net.
Edmonton finally scored the first goal of the game midway through the second period as Eberle picked off Harrison’s clearing pass and went in on a two-on-one, dishing it off to Taylor Hall before getting it back and scoring his first goal of the season.
Carolina tied the game up with five minutes left in the middle frame as Nash tipped a Justin Faulk point shot past Scrivens to make it 1-1.
The Oilers regained the advantage two minutes later as Khudobin mishandled a Nikita Nikitin shot, allowing Joensuu to bang in the rebound from the doorstep.
However, Carolina came right back to knot the game 2-2 with two minutes left in the second as Skinner fought off Martin Marincin and then sniped the top corner for his first of the year.
Edmonton moved ahead once more four-and-a-half minutes into the third period with a power-play goal as Eberle used Hall as a screen before beating Khubodin glove-side with a slap shot. Carolina complained that there should have been a penalty on the play to Edmonton’s Benoit Pouliot after breaking his stick on a slash of Hurricane defender Brett Bellemore, who then turned the puck over to Eberle.
The Hurricanes battle back eight minutes into the third as Scrivens got caught out of position after trying to play the puck behind the net, allowing Harrison to score on a wrist shot through traffic.
Edmonton went up 4-3 with seven minutes left as Draisaitl scored his first NHL goal, picking up his own rebound and sending a backhand into the net.
“It was really exciting, that’s something that every hockey player as a kid dreams about,” said the German product.
“To make this happen with this team is even more special.”
Draisaitl, the third overall pick in the 2014 Entry Draft, was playing his eighth game with one more to go before the Oilers need to decide whether to keep him for the entire season or send him down to junior with Prince Albert of the Western Hockey League.
“It was good that he (Draisaitl) stayed with the puck, he had the chance and then to get the goal, that was a big burden off his back,” said Oilers coach Dallas Eakins. “I don’t know if he’s ever in his life gone that long with only a point or two. It’s not mandatory for him to get points every night, but it wears on a kid like that when he doesn’t.”
The Oilers added some insurance with four minutes left as Hall raced to negate an icing and then crowded the front of the net, allowing Nugent-Hopkins to score his third goal in as many games.
Hendricks sealed the deal with an empty-net goal.
“We need a win, sooner rather than later,” said Hurricanes head coach Bill Peters. “It’s a good group of guys who work hard. They believe and they work for each other. It will happen, we just have to stay with it.”
The Oilers play the fifth game of a season-long seven-game homestand against the Montreal Canadiens on Monday. The Hurricanes conclude a five-game road trip in Vancouver on Tuesday.