OTTAWA – Taylor Hall made sure the Edmonton Oilers didn’t finish their three-game Eastern road swing empty-handed.
Hall scored 17 seconds into overtime as the Oilers defeated the Ottawa Senators 4-3 on Saturday afternoon as part of Hockey Day in Canada.
The Oilers (22-28-5) got a 39-save performance from goalie Nikolai Khabibulin and snapped a two-game road slide that included losses in Toronto and Detroit.
“Nik was real dialled in I thought and saw pucks,” Oilers coach Tom Renney. “The three (goals) that got by him he had a hard time with just because of traffic.”
“He really gave us a chance to win. The first 10 minutes was all Ottawa and then we settled in and decided to join the parade.”
It was a full house at Scotiabank Place, including close to 3,000 hockey supporters from Quebec City. Decked out mostly in Nordiques apparel, they were showing their support and desire for a return to the NHL some 16 seasons after their franchise moved to Colorado and became the Avalanche.
With 16 minutes to play in each period they stood and cheered, waving white towels in clusters throughout the upper deck of the arena.
Daniel Alfredsson, Milan Michalek and Erik Karlsson scored for the Senators (28-22-8), while goalie Craig Anderson made 38 saves.
Magnus Paajarvi, Ben Eager and Shawn Horcoff had the other Oilers’ goals.
Horcoff gave Edmonton a 3-2 lead 42 seconds into the third period but the Senators got the equalizer at 9:30 of the period when Karlsson buried his second point shot of a sequence to force the eventual overtime.
The Oilers were down a goal twice in the second period but drew even with the Senators by the end of the frame.
Paajarvi, who had been shuffled up and down this season to Edmonton’s minor league affiliate, raised his arms to the sky at 14:05 to tie the score 1-1 off a rebound. The goal was his first of the season.
“It’s a huge weight off his shoulders,”said Oilers forward Sam Gagner, who had his point streak stopped at 15 points in five games, including eight goals.
“He’s got a lot of skill so for him to get one it’s going to really open up a lot of confidence for him and hopefully he keeps going.”
Ales Hemsky carried the puck on the outside and got a shot off that Anderson stopped, but the rebound went right to Paajarvi in the slot.
“Things started out real well for us in the first period, and then the second period started and it was as if we forgot to come out,”said Senators coach Paul MacLean.
It didn’t take the Senators long to regain the lead, however, as Michalek but a backhand past Khabibulin before driving the Oilers’ netminder into the net.
The goal was the first in 13 games for Michalek and just his fifth in his past 22 games.
Before the end of the period however, the Oilers managed to tie the game once again as Eager beat Anderson between the legs with a shot from the faceoff circle with a little more than a minute to play in the period.
“They came hard and it was a big day for all those guys with Hockey Day in Canada. There’s always a lot of hype around that and they worked hard,”said Senators defenceman Chris Phillips, who was honoured prior to the game for his 1,000 game in the league, an accomplishment he reached Thursday against the Nashville predators.
“They battled back and capitalized on some mistakes that we made. We put ourselves in a good position early on.”
Alfredsson scored the only goal of the first period as he deflected a point shot from Karlsson past Khabibulin at 4:36, just 11 seconds after Hall emerged from the penalty box after serving the first of his two minor penalties in the opening 20 minutes.
Notes: The Senators honoured Chris Phillips before the game. The veteran defenceman played his 1,000th game on Thursday. … Ottawa had won eight of the past 10 meetings with the Oilers by an aggregate score of 44-32. … Ottawa scored the first goal of the game for just the third time in their past 13 games. … Matt Carkner and Zenon Konopka were healthy scratches for the Senators. … Edmonton had lost nine straight roadgames and had just one road win in their past 17 games prior to Saturday. … Cam Barker and Darcy Hordichuk were healthy scratches for the Oilers Saturday.