Ryan Nugent-Hopkins Keeps Coming Up Big For Edmonton Oilers

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Anne-Marie Sorvin – USA TODAY Sports

Things have been pretty rough for the Edmonton Oilers so far this season. On Saturday, they got a much-needed win behind the goaltending of Devan Dubnyk and a great offensive night from Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. After a disappointing 2012-13 season, Nugent-Hopkins is bouncing back in a big way this season, and has now tied his goal total from last season (40) in just seven games this season. The Oilers got past the Ottawa Senators on Saturday afternoon as Dubnyk made 35 saves. He made 37 saves on a loss to the New York Islanders on Thursday night, but didn’t get the offensive support for the win.

Nugent-Hopkins scored 18 goals and had 52 points in his rookie season after the Oilers took him with the first overall pick in 2011. He battled injuries in each of hist first two seasons, and although he performed well in the AHL during the lockout (eight goals, 20 points in 19 games) he was unable to deliver once the season kicked off in Edmonton. The young center scored only four goals last season and had 24 points, and he already has four goals and six points this season. His two-goal, three-point performance against the Senators helped show that the Oilers have weapons beyond Taylor Hall and Jordan Eberle, and that they are starting to find a balance to their offense. Hall was the star on Thursday as he scored two goals in eight seconds, and if the young trio can keep up their hot start things should continue to get less stressful in net for Dubnyk.

Jonathan Katje is an NHL featured columnist for Rant Sports. You can follow him on Twitter or add him to your circles on Google Plus.

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