EDMONTON, Alberta (AP) - Ryan Nugent-Hopkins made an impact in his NHL debut.
The first pick in this past summer's NHL draft scored the tying goal for Edmonton with less than five minutes left in regulation, and the Oilers beat the Pittsburgh Penguins 2-1 in a shootout on Sunday night.
``Going into the game I was really nervous, but I tried to use that to my advantage,' said Nugent-Hopkins, who played his first NHL regular-season game. ``It felt pretty good. ... it was really exciting. But, I'm more excited about the win.'
Ales Hemsky scored the shootout winner and the Edmonton Oilers started off the season with a win.
Kris Letang scored for the Penguins, who were without Evgeni Malkin. The center left after the pregame skate with what appeared to be a lower body injury.
Pittsburgh got points in all three stops of a Western Canadian road trip to start the season. The Penguins beat Vancouver and Calgary before coming up just short in Edmonton.
``We got five out of six points,' Penguins coach Dan Bylsma said. ``I like that. We got some wins in tough places. We've played a lot of hockey already and I think that showed in this game. A lot of guys got taxed. But we're happy with our start.'
Nugent-Hopkins got his first NHL goal as he pounced on a loose puck in front of the Penguins net and slid a backhand shot past Penguins starter Brent Johnson at 15:05.
Oiler Ryan Smyth took an elbowing major soon afterward, but Edmonton was able to kill the penalty.
``It was hormone hockey,' Oilers coach Tom Renney said. ``I guess you have to expect that. Our team hadn't played in a while and we had some guys playing their first ever NHL regular-season game. They were almost over-excited. We turned the puck over a number of times in the first two periods. But we started to play a little better and started to share the puck better.'
Both teams hit posts in overtime, but couldn't score.
Pittsburgh scored early in the first period on the power play. Letang's point shot seemed to go right through Edmonton goalie Devan Dubnyk at 3:13.
Notes: With Malkin out, former Oilers enforcer Steve MacIntyre came in as his replacement. ... Renney is a perfect 8-0 in home openers over his career. ... The Penguins had won their last four wins over the Oilers. ... Penguins star Sidney Crosby practiced with the team on Sunday but has still not been cleared to play. ... The largest crowd response during player introductions went to F Ryan Smyth, returning to the team four years after an unpopular trade sent him to the Islanders.
The Associated Press News Service
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