Ethan Moreau wasn't named captain of the Edmonton Oilers for his offensive prowess, but that doesn't mean he can't come through with a scoring gem now and again.
Moreau recorded his first career hat trick and Ales Hemsky returned from the injured list with two goals as the Oilers captured their second win in a row, knocking off the visiting Phoenix Coyotes 6-3 on Sunday night.
Moreau, who scored his third goal into an empty net with one second to play, said it felt good to finally get a hat trick in his 13th season in the NHL.
"It's even more special because all of my teammates were looking for me at the end," he said. "I knew when Stevie (Staios) got it he would be thinking about one thing. Trying to get me the puck. It makes you feel good that they were very aware that I had two goals and they wanted to see me get the hat trick."
Moreau's big night was nicely supplemented by the return of leading scorer Hemsky, who looked to be right back to where he left off before he was sidelined for 10 games with a concussion.
"I'm very happy to come back like this," Hemsky said. "I took a couple hits in the game and my head reacted well, so I'm pretty happy about that. I knew it would be tough coming back from this but I got a goal pretty early on and that really gave me confidence."
Dustin Penner also scored for the Oilers (23-19-3) who have won four of their last five games and passed Minnesota for eighth place in the Western Conference standings.
"We haven't had an energetic game like that all year," said Oilers head coach Craig MacTavish. "It was a pretty complete game on our part tonight. All of the lines were good. The team's turning a corner now I think."
Keith Yandle, Daniel Carcillo and Peter Mueller replied for Phoenix (23-19-5), whose two-game winning streak come to an end. The Coyotes have lost six of their last eight games on the road.
"Like every game it was a big game and we didn't have the urgency early on," said Coyotes defenceman Ed Jovanovski. "We scored the first one and they tied it up. Those next few shifts are the most important ones of the period. They got two quick goals.
"We had a chance to really improve in the standings and get six points away from these guys. Are we happy with it? No. it's a .500 trip. We'll take it but I think we left some points out there."
Phoenix head coach Wayne Gretzky wasn't overly critical of his team's performance, feeling the Oilers got a bit of a lift from the jersey retirement of former star player Glenn Anderson before the game.
"I thought as a team we played pretty well tonight," he said. "We're playing against a team in a similar situation that we're in. We're battling for our lives and every game is important. We knew that it was a big night for their organization and their players are going to feed off of that and they played well tonight."
Phoenix started the scoring five minutes in as Kyle Turris rattled a shot off the post and the rebound came out to Yandle who banged it past Oilers starter Dwayne Roloson for an early 1-0 lead.
Edmonton bounced back three minutes later to knot the game back up as Moreau sent a rebound home after Phoenix goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov made an initial toe-save on a shot by Tom Gilbert.
The Oilers went ahead 2-1 as Hemsky made an immediate impact in his first game back, splitting the defence and freezing Bryzgalov with a deke for his 11th the season.
Edmonton made it a two-goal advantage with just one minute to play in the opening frame as Gilbert hit Moreau with a pass as he was driving to the net and the Oilers captain deflected in his second of the contest.
The Coyotes cut into the lead six minutes into the second as Steven Goertzen stole a puck from Ladislav Smid behind the Oilers net and sent it in front to Turris who quickly dished it off to Carcillo at the side of the net for the easy tap in.
Two and a half minutes later it was even again as the Coyotes broke in on a two-on-one and Olli Jokinen made a deft pass under sliding Edmonton defenceman Lubomir Visnovski to Mueller for his 11th of the season.
The Oilers regained the advantage with eight minutes to go after a great job cycling the puck in the Phoenix zone as Shawn Horcoff fed a backhand pass out front to Penner, who rifled it past Bryzgalov for his 11th.
Phoenix out-shot Edmonton 21-14 through the first 40 minutes.
Hemsky added his second of the game with just 1:37 to play as his wrist-shot goal gave the Oilers some late insurance.
Moreau made it 6-3 with his hat trick goal into the empty cage.
Both teams return to action on Tuesday as Edmonton plays the second game of their six game homestand against the Columbus Blue Jackets and the Coyotes return to Phoenix to face Detroit.
Notes: It was Hemsky's first game since Dec. 28th. The Oilers were 5-5 in the 10 games that their leading scorer was absent due to a concussion Phoenix captain Shane Doan is just two goals short of becoming the third player in Jets/Coyotes history to record nine consecutive 20-goal seasons. The other two are Keith Tkachuk and Dale Hawerchuk Before the game the Oilers retired Anderson's jersey No. 9. Anderson, who went into the Hockey Hall of Fame last year, is the seventh player to have his number retired by the club The Oilers entered the contest 2-3-0-1 in games preceded by a banner-raising ceremony.
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