EDMONTON, Alberta (AP)Zach Hyman scored twice and the Edmonton Oilers beat the Tampa Bay Lightning 5-3 on Thursday night for their fifth consecutive victory.
Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl each had a goal and an assist for the Oilers (26-18-3), who have won their last two at home after losing six of the previous seven at Rogers Place. Ryan McLeod also scored, and Jack Campbell made 28 saves in his fifth consecutive start.
”Unfortunately, the spot we find ourselves in is one we are familiar with, having to battle for playoffs spots and our playoff lives and we have to start that early,” McDavid said.
”We have done that the last three years in a row here, I think. It is a position we are comfortable in.”
Brandon Hagel, Steven Stamkos and Brayden Point scored for the Lightning (29-14-1), who had won five in a row. Andrei Vasilevskiy stopped 29 shots.
”We got off to a slow start, but I think we got better as the game went on,” Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman said. ”I think the end of the first helped to get us into the game. It was an even match, and it could have gone either way.
”It was a tie game going into the third and they got one there. We had some opportunities to tie it up, but it wasn’t our night.”
Edmonton opened the scoring 6:13 into the opening frame when a Vincent Desharnais point shot was redirected by McLeod for his seventh goal this season. It was the third assist in five games for Desharnais, a 26-year-old rookie defenseman.
McDavid found Draisaitl all alone in front and he blasted home his 27th of the season at 3:17 of the first. The assist extended McDavid’s point streak to nine games.
Hagel got the Lightning on the board 1:30 into the second. He scored on a rebound from an Alex Killorn breakaway shot that went off the post.
Hyman quickly responded, sending a shot off the backboards that came right back to him in front. He finished the play for his 22nd goal and a 3-1 advantage at 3:08.
”You want to play against the best and they are a really, really good team,” Hyman said. ”They are passionate and play with an edge and I thought we matched that and brought our own edge and wanted to win that game, and we did.”
Stamkos cut the deficit to one at 7:51 when he beat Campbell with a one-timer for his 22nd of the season and fourth in the last two games. It also extended Stamkos’ points streak to seven games.
The Lightning tied the game 12:03 into the middle period. Hedman sent a pretty pass ahead to Point, who scored his 27th up high past Campbell.
McDavid took it upon himself to restore Edmonton’s lead 2:10 into the third period, dancing around defenseman Ian Cole and chipping it over Vasilevskiy in tight for his league-leading 39th.
With 2:12 remaining, Draisaitl fed Hyman for the empty-netter, sealing the win.
The players selected for the All-Star Game via the fan vote were announced during the first intermission. Draisaitl and goalie Stuart Skinner were added to the Pacific squad for Edmonton, while Tampa’s Vasilevskiy was chosen for the Atlantic.
Lightning: At Calgary on Saturday.
Oilers: At Vancouver on Saturday night.
AP NHL: www.apnews.com/hub/NHL and www.twitter.com/AP-Sports