Getting it Done: RNH
Photo credit:Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports
9 months ago
On a night when lapses, spotty goaltending, and playing from behind cost the Edmonton Oilers a point in a 5-4 shootout loss to the Detroit Red Wings, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins put together one of those games fans have come to expect from him this season.
Nugent-Hopkins, who’ll be 30 in April and is the longest-serving player on coach Jay Woodcroft’s roster with 774 games with the Oilers in the books, scored a pair of goals and added an assist to give him 26-40-66, just three points back of his career-high of 69 points, set in 2018-19 – a mark he’ll blow by soon enough.
And while his three points weren’t enough to push the Oilers past the Red Wings during a bit of a rough patch in which they’ve gone 3-1-3 in their last seven games, this was yet another example of a night when RNH went about his business and was one of the best players on the ice – there’s been plenty of those.
Nugent-Hopkins got the Oilers on the board at 2-1 in the second period when he took a pass from Connor McDavid and snapped at shot past Ville Husso. He scored his second on a goalmouth feed from McDavid to cut it to 3-2 and he continued to be prolific with the man-advantage with the second assist on a power-play goal by Leon Draisaitl to cut Detroit’s lead to 4-3 early in the third period.
Feb 9, 2023; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Edmonton Oilers center Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (93) against the Philadelphia Flyers at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports
With his 26-40-66, Nugent-Hopkins sit behind only McDavid, with 42-57-99, and Draisaitl, with 31-49-0, in team scoring. Game-in and game-out, he’s been a go-to guy for Woodcroft whether you’re talking even-strength or with a man advantage. RNH has been as close to plug-and-play as it gets. Put him out there and chances are he’ll make something happen.
“I thought we did a pretty good job of battling back and getting at least one point, but it’s disappointing not to get the second,” said Nugent-Hopkins. “We can’t dwell on it now. We climbed our way back into that game. They had two power-play goals and two face off goals. I thought for the most part, we carried the play and got ourselves one point.
“I think we could have put more (shots) on net early. I thought they came out with some jump too . . . we couldn’t find that extra one tonight.”
“I thought we had control of a lot of parts of that game,” Woodcroft said. “I didn’t mind our start. I thought we generated enough chances to win the game, but I just thought we were a little bit sloppy in some of our details. We lost the special team’s game, which isn’t conducive to winning hockey games. I thought there were a couple of moments within the game where we were the architects of our own chance against.”
NUGENT-HOPKINS SEASON SO FAR
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