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The Edmonton Oilers finally found their offensive touch.
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Connor McDavid each had a pair of goals as the Oilers exploded for an 8-2 victory over the Vegas Golden Knights on Tuesday. The Oilers came into the game with the fewest goals scored in the NHL.
“It is definitely good for the confidence of the group,” Nugent-Hopkins said. “We kind of put everything together tonight and things went well for us. We can’t get away from that now.”
Oscar Klefbom, Patrick Maroon, Matt Benning and Mark Letestu also scored for the Oilers (7-9-2), who snapped a two-game losing skid.
“We’ve had a lot of tight, one-goal games,” Klefbom said. “It’s nice to see some of the players who usually don’t score a lot get some points tonight. I heard that 13 guys had at least a point for us tonight. It was a huge game for us.”
Pierre-Edouard Bellemare and James Neal scored in response for the Golden Knights (10-6-1), who have lost three of their last four games.
“Everything went wrong tonight, we weren’t skating, we gave them too many odd-man rushes and they’re a talented team and they take advantage of that,” said Vegas head coach Gerard Gallant. “Right from the start it wasn’t a good game for us. I thought we got a little better in the second, but it was a bad game overall.”
Edmonton got a good start with a short-handed goal six-and-a-half minutes into the first period. Klefbom converted a two-on-one pass from Jujar Khaira to beat Vegas goalie Maxime Lagace.
The Oilers made it 2-0 on the power play with just over two minutes left in the opening period as Maroon fed the puck from behind the net to Nugent-Hopkins, who scored his seventh of the season.
Maroon got a goal of his own just 57 seconds later, beating Lagace up high on a shot from the slot.
Edmonton padded its lead midway through the second when Benning redirected a Klefbom shot on its way to the net, which seemed to catch Lagace by surprise.
The Golden Knights got on the board with five minutes left in the middle frame as Bellemare tucked a shot over the shoulder of Oilers goalie Cam Talbot.
The Oilers started the third on the power play and had a goal credited to McDavid after Vegas’s Deryk Engelland inadvertently swatted it into his own net.
The Golden Knights got that goal back shortly afterwards as Neal scored his 10th of the season.
McDavid scored his second of the game and ninth of the season five minutes into the third.
Nugent-Hopkins gave the Oilers seven goals for the first time this season with his eighth midway through the third before Letestu scored late to make it 8-2.
“Tonight a lot of guys got rewarded, and it was a little more relaxed on the bench,” said Oilers head coach Todd McLellan. “A little bit of fun in the game, and we haven’t had that in a while.”
Both teams return to action on Thursday night. The Golden Knights are in Vancouver and the Oilers host the St. Louis Blues.
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