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NHL Rink Wrap: Oilers win Woodcroft debut; Ducks lose tough game

NHL Scores

EDMONTON, AB - FEBRUARY 11: Jay Woodcroft of the Edmonton Oilers stands on the bench during the game against the New York Islanders on February 11, 2022 at Rogers Place in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. (Photo by Andy Devlin/NHLI via Getty Images)

NHLI via Getty Images

Top player in the NHL on Friday

Steven Stamkos, Tampa Bay Lightning

The Tampa Bay Lightning gained some ground on the Florida Panthers for the top spot in the Atlantic Division on Friday night by holding on for a 4-3 win against the Arizona Coyotes. Steven Stamkos was the big difference maker in the game by scoring a pair of third period goals to help lead the Lightning to a win. They now trail the Panthers by just a single point in the Atlantic Division standings, though they have played in one additional game at this point. Stamkos is having another fantastic season for the Lightning and is now at 22 goals and 54 total points in 47 games. He is on pace for nearly 40 goals and 95 total points this season.

Highlights from around the NHL on Friday

Jason Robertson with a big goal for the Dallas Stars in overtime to give them a huge win in their quest for a playoff spot.

Jesse Puljujarvi snapped a 15-game goal scoring drought for the Edmonton Oilers with this nice goal against the New York Islanders.

Jordan Eberle snapped a 3-3 tie against the Anaheim Ducks with this late third period goal to give the Seattle Kraken a 4-3 win.

Three takeaways from the NHL on Friday

Oilers win Woodcroft’s debut

The Edmonton Oilers played their first game since their recent coaching change and were able to get an important 3-1 win against the New York Islanders to give Jay Woodcroft his first career NHL coaching win. They had to rely on a strong goalie performance from Mike Smith who made 37 saves on 38 shots, while Cody Ceci, Zach Hyman, and Jesse Puljujarvi provided the offense. Connor McDavid assisted on all three Oilers goals. So in other words, the same recipe for how the Oilers have managed to win this season: McDavid helping to drive all of the offense and hoping that the goaltending could make enough saves. The Oilers still remain on the outside of the Western Conference playoff picture as of now.

Tough game for Ducks and a missed opportunity

The Anaheim Ducks entered Friday’s game against the Seattle Kraken riding a six-game point streak (4-0-2) to keep pace in the Western Conference playoff race. They had a chance to extend that streak on Friday night against the expansion Seattle Kraken, but gave up a late goal to Jordan Eberle (seen above) in the final two minutes of regulation. The Ducks now start a three-game road trip in Calgary, Edmonton, and Vancouver. Given how close that race is for a playoff spot in the Pacific Division that is a tough point to allow to slip away against a Kraken team that entered the game having won just five of its previous 23 games.

Jason Robertson is a star for Dallas

The Dallas Stars have been a very streaky team this season and are starting to get on a roll again. Their 4-3 overtime win against the Winnipeg Jets on Friday night is their seventh win in the past nine games, and it featured a slick overtime winner (seen above) from Jason Robertson. That is his 20th goal of the season and continues what has been a sensational sophomore season. Robertson was the runner up for the Calder Trophy rookie a year ago for the league’s Rookie Of The Year Award (behind Minnesota Wild forward Kirill Kaprizov) and is currently on a pace that would give him 45 goals and 98 points over an 82-game season.

Saturday’s big story

There are two big storylines to watch on Saturday. The first of which is whether or not the Montreal Canadiens can get Martin St. Louis his first win as an NHL head coach. After losing to the Washington Capitals on Thursday night, 5-2, the Canadiens are back in action at home against the Columbus Blue Jackets, a team that has won four of its past five games. The other is a great matchup -- maybe even a potential Stanley Cup Final preview -- with the Carolina Hurricanes facing the Minnesota Wild in a game featuring two of the league’s best teams so far this season.

Friday’s NHL Scores

Dallas Stars 4, Winnipeg Jets 3 (OT)
Edmonton Oilers 3, New York Islanders 1
Tampa Bay Lightning 4, Arizona Coyotes 3
Seattle Kraken 4, Anaheim Ducks 3