EDMONTON, Alberta - There’s nothing like a victory before a long break.
Riley Sheahan had a goal and three assists and Connor McDavid scored twice as the Edmonton Oilers rode a strong start to a 7-3 victory over the Arizona Coyotes on Saturday.
“It’s a good feeling going into the break,” said Oilers head coach Dave Tippett. “We’ve had a good run here. It has been a good part of the schedule for us. The guys will get a break and come out of it, and we are right into the stretch drive when we know every game will be ultra-important.”
Josh Archibald, Sam Gagner, Kailer Yamamoto and Joakim Nygard also scored for the Oilers (26-18-5) who have gone 6-1-1 in their last eight games.
“I think we just got back to playing our game,” said Archibald, who had a three-point game. “We were trying to do too much and things weren’t going our way and everybody kind of started getting down. To be able to come back, play simple, play our game and stick with what we do best is what’s helping us win.”
Taylor Hall, Christian Dvorak and Oliver Ekman-Larsson responded for the Coyotes (26-20-5) who have lost five of six.
“I thought we came out slow from the beginning and allowed a couple bad goals, stuff like that,” Ekman-Larsson said. “Obviously, we’ve been struggling a little bit when we don’t feel 100 percent and don’t have our legs, but we’ve got to find a way to stick around in games and find ways to get points out of it.
“So, it’s a tough one. They wanted it a little bit more today.”
The Oilers had a good start as Archibald was sprung on a shorthanded breakaway four minutes into the first period and sent his sixth of the season through the legs of Coyotes goalie Antti Raanta.
Edmonton made it 2-0 with six minutes left when Sheahan hooked a puck from behind the net to Gagner, who banked a shot from in tight at the side of the net off Raanta’s skate and in for just his second goal of the season.
The Oilers added to the lead with four minutes left in the first when Raanta accidentally nudged the puck into his own net during a frantic scramble, with the goal credited to Yamamoto.
Edmonton kept coming to start the second period with a power-play goal one minute in when McDavid snuck a shot past the Arizona netminder.
The Oilers made it 5-0 five minutes into the middle period as Sheahan picked up his third assist of the game, stealing a puck and sending it to Nygard, who scored on a long shot.
Arizona responded shortly afterwards as Hall scored his 13th of the year, beating Oilers goalie Mike Smith through a screen.
The Coyotes got another one back nine minutes into the second when Dvorak chipped in a rebound on a power play.
A burst of speed by McDavid with four minutes left in the second allowed him to deflect an Archibald pass into the net for his 27th goal of the season
Arizona made it 6-3 with a power-play goal 11 minutes into the third as Ekman-Larsson hit the top corner.
The Coyotes pulled their goalie early and the Oilers took advantage with just under four minutes left on a goal by Sheahan, giving him his first career four-point game.
Notes: Raanta missed the previous three games with a lower body injury. ... Sheahan notched his first career four-point game. ... Both teams are off for 10 days during the All-Star break.
Coyotes: Off until Jan. 29 at Anaheim.
Oilers: Host Calgary Flames on Jan. 29.