Edmonton Oilers center Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, out with an upper-body injury, left the team to return home before the end of an American road trip and is considered week-to-week, coach Jay Woodcroft announced.
With Edmonton in a tight battle for one of the final postseason spots in the Western Conference, the Oilers may be without their third-leading scorer for a considerable period. Nugent-Hopkins missed his second straight game Tuesday night, a 3-0 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers, after leaving Saturday's victory over the Florida Panthers with the injury.
Nugent-Hopkins, a former No. 1 overall pick, has seven goals and 37 points in 45 games for Edmonton this season, and like leading scorers Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl, he is relied upon to amass a considerable amount of ice time. He is third on the team with a 19:49 time-on-ice average, and has just 10 penalty minutes.
Without him for the majority of this road trip, the Oilers have managed a 2-2 mark and will close out the trek on Thursday against the Chicago Blackhawks.
Against the Flyers, Draisaitl had a goal and two assists, McDavid had a goal and an assist and Mikko Koskinen made 39 saves en route to the victory.
"I think we played really, really well here," Koskinen said. "I'm super happy for the boys. I think they did an unbelievable job."
Kailer Yamamoto also scored for the Oilers, who improved to 17-0-0 when scoring first. Draisaitl and McDavid are tied for the NHL point lead with 77. The Oilers improved to 7-3-0 since Woodcroft replaced former coach Dave Tippett.
"We've liked the way we've played, basically, over the last 18 or 19 days," Woodcroft said. "We've seen positive signs, and now it's time to continue to grow."
Philadelphia lost for the 20th time in the last 23 games while falling to 9-19 on home ice. The Flyers dropped to 1-4 during a franchise-record eight-game homestand and were shut out for the fifth time. Carter Hart made 29 saves against the Oilers.
Edmonton is right in the thick of the West postseason mix. With the win, the Oilers slid into the No. 3 playoff slot in the Pacific Division, two points behind the Los Angeles Kings, and could well end up in a wild-card position if they fall out of that third spot. The Oilers have 28 games remaining.
"The whole team is playing so well right now," Koskinen said. "When a team is playing well, usually the goalie looks good, too, so it's all 20 guys. It's everyone."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.