It wasn’t the prettiest goal but it counted. A bonus for Jesse Puljujarvi is that his dad was in the building to see it go in.
The Edmonton Oilers forward fired a wobbling shot from beside the boards Monday night in Nashville.
The puck trickled past Predators goalie Juuse Saros as Puljujarvi fell in the corner.
It was his first goal in 25 games.
“It’s been a long time since I scored the last time, so it felt good. It went in. It was a little bit lucky,” Puljujarvi told reporters Tuesday.
He was “a little bit upset” the Oilers went on to lose 4-3 in overtime, but said he hopes to build on his new-found momentum Wednesday night against the Dallas Stars.
“I don’t have that many points. It’s good to get in the game and get those good hits and be physical…I’ve been working hard,” he said.
“I thought that was real positive for him. The bench was very happy to see him get that [goal],” Head Coach Jay Woodcroft said.
Puljujarvi is expected to play on a line with Dylan Holloway and Warren Foegele again Wednesday.
Their team has lost three in a row to St. Louis, Anaheim and Nashville. Two of those defeats were in overtime so the Oilers did get two of a possible six points.
Another bright spot lately is the play of Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, who scored twice in Nashville. He has 17 goals on the season and is on pace for a career high.
“I’m shooting the puck a little more to create a little more offence and get those second and third opportunities and trying to get to the net,” Nugent-Hopkins said.
Edmonton is looking for revenge against the Stars, having lost the last matchup 6-2 on Nov. 5.
“I think everybody is focused on putting in a good effort against the central division leading team. We weren’t happy with the game we played against this team at home so we are expecting a big response,” Woodcroft said.
He added that his players are looking to make their friends and family proud as a group of them have joined the team on the road trip, including Puljujarvi’s father.
“It was nice. He doesn’t [get to] be here every game, so it was a good time to score,” Puljujarvi said.
He joked that his dad may have to come to all of his games now.
“Woodcroft said that’s gonna be OK, if I score tomorrow,” he said with a laugh.
Edmonton (17-14-2) plays Dallas (19-8-6) at 7:30 p.m. MT.
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