Ryan Nugent-Hopkins powers Edmonton Oilers past Dallas Stars 5-4
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EDMONTON — The offence finally arrived for the Edmonton Oilers on Thursday.
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins scored a pair of goals as Edmonton defeated the Dallas Stars 5-4.
Connor McDavid, Patrick Maroon and Matt Benning also scored for the Oilers (3-5-1), who came into the game with the fewest goals scored in the NHL so far this season, with 15 through their first eight games.
"Just getting the two points right now is big for the morale of the group," Nugent-Hopkins said. "We are a pretty mentally solid team in here no matter what we go through. For us, we needed the confidence at some point so this was a big step for us."
Benning, who had the winner, said it was huge for the team to find a way to come back from a late 4-3 deficit.
"It was a good sign for our team," he said. "It was a close game going into the third and those are the kind of games you need to win to be there in the playoffs. It's a step in the right direction to get some confidence in this locker room."
Jamie Benn struck twice for the Stars (5-5-0). Alexander Radulov and Esa Lindell also scored as Dallas dropped back-to-back games.
"Once you get the lead, you expect to win that game, we have to learn to win that game," said Stars alternate captain Jamie Benn. "It's a disappointing result. I think we're all upset about this game tonight."
Edmonton started the scoring midway through the first as Ryan Strome came out of the penalty box and sent McDavid on a partial breakaway, scoring his fifth of the season up high on Stars goalie Ben Bishop.
It took just over a minute for Dallas to tie it back up, as Radulov dropped a puck to Benn in front of the net, and he put his sixth past Oilers starter Cam Talbot.
Maroon helped Edmonton regain the lead with 24 seconds left in the first, put his shot off a Dallas skate and into the net.
Radulov beat Talbot with a howitzer of a one-timer as the Stars tied the game back up on the power play three minutes into the second period.
Edmonton made it 3-2 with six minutes left in the middle frame when Nugent-Hopkins picked up a rebound on a wide shot and hooked it in from behind the net.
The Stars evened it up once more a couple of minutes later with another power-play goal as Benn picked up his second of the night by chipping in a rebound from the doorstep.
Lindell waited for Talbot to commit before lifting a shot into the net as Dallas took its first lead midway through the third on yet another power-play goal.
The Oilers bounced back a couple of minutes later as a Stars turnover led to Nugent-Hopkins scoring on a shot that deflected off a defender and in.
A Benning point shot hit Radulov and got past Bishop as Edmonton surged back ahead with 2:27 left.
"I could talk about the negatives that we have to fix (special teams), but I'm going to focus on us having the ability to outscore that team 5-1 at even strength," said Oilers head coach Todd McLellan. "That's a good sign."
The Stars are right back at it on Friday, heading to Calgary for the third game of a five-game trip. The Oilers host the Washington Capitals on Saturday.