Hockey

Kovalchuk beats Oilers in OT

An overtime laser-beam from Iyla Kovalchuk gave New Jersey a 4-3 victory over Edmonton, the Devils' first home win of the season.

Prudential Center – Newark, N.J.

 Final  1  2  3 OT  T
 Edmonton  2  1  0 0  3
 New Jersey  1  1  1 1  4

Top performers

Ilya Kovalchuk (NJ)  — 1 goal 

Colin Fraser (Edm)  — 2 goals 

Devan Dubnyk (Edm)  — 35 saves

After Wednesday's shootout blooper against the Buffalo Sabres, it seemed not even the puck respected Iyla Kovalchuk anymore.

Yet, no matter how bad it can get, a good sniper will always finds his target again, eventually.

On Friday night, an overtime laser-beam from Kovalchuk gave New Jersey a 4-3 victory over Edmonton, the Devils' first home win of the season.

"We've been working hard and it's nice to get that first home win," said Devils head coach John MacLean.

"It's great that we won but we have some work to do. We have some things we have to clean up. We'll take the positives tonight and tomorrow we'll look at it and get ready for Monday."

It was the Oilers, though, who controlled proceedings for much of the evening.

Oilers centre Colin Fraser scored his first of the season at 4:34 of the first period after Jordan Eberle dragged the puck down the wing and through the middle of the Devils' zone.

Fraser was moving toward Martin Brodeur and took the puck to the side of the net, where he eventually hit a floating rebound behind the goaltender for his 14th career NHL goal. 

Halfway through the first period the native of Surrey, B.C., doubled his account for the season.

At 9:50 Fraser found the chance on his stick after teammate Zack Stortini blocked Olivier Magnan's attempt to bring down the flying puck. Brodeur had no chance to save the centre's quick shot.

Fraser's second goal of the night marked his third multi-goal game in the NHL — and his first since April 9 against the Colorado Avalanche. 

The Devils did get on the board before the end of the first, at 15:43.

Travis Zajac started the play when he worked his way into the Oilers zone, playing a give-and-go with Patrik Elias. When he got the puck back, Zajac found Alexander Vasyunov open in front of Edmonton's net. 

Vasyunov's tap-in was the first of his NHL career.

That goal sparked the Devils and they started the second period with a sense of urgency. Elias and Jason Arnott fired a number of shots at Oilers goalkeeper Devon Dubnyk.

Yet Edmonton's transition game continued to befuddle New Jersey, and Sam Gagner and Taylor Hall had a two-on-one after another defensive mistake from the Devils.

Brodeur saved Hall's shot, but Gagner easily scored his fourth goal of the campaign at 5:11.

The Devils tried to fire pucks past Dubnyk from distance, but found crashing the crease was the best way to get by the 24-year-old netminder.

With 3:43 to go in the second, Briain Rolston poked at Dubnyk's pad for his first goal.

Then Mattias Tedenby completed the comeback for the Devils at 11:00 of the third, after he buried Arnott's redirection of an Andy Greene slapshot.  

Like Vasyunov, Tedenby's third-period goal was his first in the league.

"A couple young fellas get their first NHL goals, which is nice to see," MacLean said about Vasyunov and Tedenby.

Dubnyk kept the Oilers in the game with 35 saves, but he could not stop Kovalchuk's blast in overtime, which was the product of a great pass play involving Kovalchuk, Elias and Henrik Tallinder.

"We're looking for building blocks all over the place. Certainly by coming into a foreign rink, in most cases for the first time for some of these guys, we did fine," Oilers coach Tom Renney said.

"We lost the hockey game. Nobody's happy about that and I'm not going to pretend that I am."

With files from The Associated Press

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