Coyotes lack 'emotional engagement' in loss to Oilers
EDMONTON, Alberta -- Jujhar Khaira had played it out so many times on the streets of Surrey, British Columbia, with his friends.
Khaira gave the Oilers the lead with his first career goal and Edmonton beat the Arizona Coyotes 3-1 on Monday night for their third straight victory.
"It's a relief for sure, you always think about it and now I just want to build off it," the 22-year-old Khaira said. "Growing up as a kid playing street hockey you always picture it (scoring in the NHL) in your head, and it's a reality now and it feels good."
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Leon Draisaitl also scored for the Oilers, who have won five of their last seven games. Cam Talbot had 20 saves.
"Arizona is a team that has really given us trouble in the past, so for us to get out to a good start and build on that throughout the game was big for us," Nugent-Hopkins said. "It shows that we can get it done, which is important for us down the stretch."
Radim Vrbata scored for the Coyotes, who have lost 11 of their last 13 games.
Arizona's Mike Smith sounded very much like he'd had enough following the game after stopping 24 shots.
"I can't speak for anyone else, but we've got too many guys who aren't doing enough to push this thing along," he said. "You could feel it on the ice. We were just playing and it was blah. It was blah. And you can't expect to play like that and compete against a really good hockey team."
Edmonton led 3:34 into the first period after Jordan Eberle dropped it to Nugent-Hopkins on an odd-man rush and sent his ninth of the season past Smith.
Khaira made it 2-0 with eight minutes left in the second period. Mark Letestu fed Kharia a pass, and he chipped it over Smith for his first score.
Connor McDavid retook sole possession of the NHL scoring lead with a pass to Draisaitl a few minutes later. Draisaitl danced around defender Lawson Crouse before going up high for his 17th of the season.
Arizona got one back on the power play with two minutes left in the second when Vrbata was left alone in front and buried his 10th of the season.
NOTES: It was the fourth of five meeting between Edmonton and Arizona this season, with the Coyotes winning the first two before the Oilers came away with a 3-2 victory on Dec. 21, their first regulation time win over Arizona in 26 attempts. ... C Alexander Burmistrov played his first game with Arizona since being claimed off waivers from the Winnipeg Jets on Jan. 1. ... D Adam Larsson returned to the Edmonton lineup after missing a game with a lower body injury. ... The Oilers have seven players with more than 100 shots this season, while the Coyotes only have Vrbata in that category.
Coyotes travel to Winnipeg to play Wednesday night.