- Associated Press - Thursday, December 22, 2016

GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) - Edmonton’s fourth line, centered by feisty Mark Letestu, does not get the recognition it sometimes may deserve. Fourth lines rarely due, especially on teams with stars like Connor McDavid.

Those fourth liners were the difference Wednesday night, helping the Oilers end one long, frustrating streak.

Letestu had a goal, two assists and a fight, anchoring a fourth line that combined for seven points in a 3-2 win over Arizona, the Oilers’ first regulation win against the Coyotes in 26 games.

“We’ve won now, so we don’t have to answer all your questions,” Oilers coach Todd McLellan said. “Tonight’s game was not different probably than many during the streak, but we found a way to win.”

Arizona had gone 21-0-4 its previous 25 games against the Oilers, including a pair of wins this season. Edmonton jumped on the Coyotes with two goals in the first period and pushed the lead to 3-0 in the second to beat Arizona for the first time since Jan. 25, 2011.

Arizona’s points streak had been tied for sixth-most against one opponent in NHL history.

The fourth line made the victory happen.

Letestu scored the first goal, had assists on the two others and went toe to toe with Martin Hanzal in the third period to complete the “Gordie Howe Hat Trick.”

Linemate Matt Hendricks had a goal and an assist, and fellow fourth-liner Zack Kassian had two assists.

“I’d like to say it’s all the saucer passes and toe drags, but no, it’s definitely simplicity with us,” Hendricks said. “We just try to play to each other’s strengths.”

Cam Talbot stopped 28 shots in Edmonton’s fourth win in five games.

Arizona started slow and finished strong. It still resulted in another one-goal loss.

The Coyotes were flat against the flying Oilers in the first period but showed some life in the second when Hanzal scored on a power play. Arizona made a big push in a testy third period and Oliver Ekman-Larsson scored with 6.1 seconds left, but it came too late.

“We’ve had some good breaks against this team for a long time,” Coyotes coach Dave Tippett said. “Tonight, the breaks went against us.”

The Oilers got off to a good start in their quest to end the streak against Arizona, scoring midway through the first period.

Letestu had it, one-timing a feed from Kassian to beat Mike Smith to the stick side for his seventh of the season. The Coyotes challenged that Smith was interfered with, but the goal stood after a review.

“I guess I didn’t sell it enough,” Smith said.

Edmonton went up 2-0 late in the period on a power play when a shot by Letestu hit Coyotes defenseman Alex Goligoski’s skate, then Milan Lucic’s, and slipped inside the right post.

The Oilers had the Coyotes on their heels to start the second, sending a flurry of shots at Smith. Hendricks scored at the end of it, beating Smith after the puck bounced off the boards out front.

The Coyotes finally showed a glimpse of life on a power play midway through the second, with Hanzal redirecting a shot by Radim Vrbata past Talbot.

Ekman-Larsson scored on a power play in the closing seconds, but the Coyotes didn’t have enough time to score again.

“It’s tough to get down two goals and tough to battle back, especially against a high-skilled team like that,” said Ekman-Larsson, who took a big hit in the third period, triggering several skirmishes. “They did a lot of good things and we didn’t.”

NOTES: Arizona captain Shane Doan played in his 1,499th career game, matching Mike Modano for 17th on the NHL’s career list. … Kassian appeared to have a goal on a wraparound seconds after Hendricks scored, but it was ruled no goal on the ice and upon review. … Edmonton D Eric Gryba was issued a game misconduct for a hit to the head for a check on Jakob Chychrun, who was falling to the ice after being hit by Kassian.

UP NEXT

Oilers: Close out their three-game trip at San Jose on Friday night before getting six days off.

Coyotes: Host Toronto on Friday night and Dallas three days later.

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