The Oilers performed Sunday like they have been again within the franchise’s Stanley Cup days. They scored 5 targets within the first interval and three extra within the second and steamrolled the last-place Senators 8-5 in Edmonton.
Just a few of the present Oilers even bought their names talked about alongside Wayne Gretzky and Mark Messier with their performances:
— Leon Draisaitl tallied six assists, one shy of the NHL document Gretzky shares with Billy Taylor. (Gretzky had seven helpers thrice.)
— Dominik Kahun broke Gretzky’s franchise document by scoring eight seconds into the competition.
— Connor McDavid had 5 factors (purpose, 4 assists), his second consecutive night time with three-plus factors. Messier, in 1990, was the final Edmonton participant to perform that feat, according to the NHL.
Of larger significance to at the moment’s group: The victory moved it right into a tie for fourth within the North with the Jets, who’ve performed three fewer video games. It can begin its February slate with one other house sport vs. the Senators on Tuesday.
Three different takeaways from the victory:
The ability play finds a spark
Edmonton (5-6-0) got here in averaging simply three targets per sport, so eight was greater than sufficient to make folks pleased. Higher nonetheless for the Oilers, half of the eight tallies got here with the person benefit. The 4-for-5 effort was an enormous increase to a particular groups unit that was in the course of the pack within the league previous to Sunday at 21.6 p.c.
Draisaitl and coach Dave Tippett have been each requested postgame concerning the unit having to regulate to new level man Tyson Barrie, a right-handed defenseman who changed left-handed D-man Oscar Klefbom, who’s out for the season with a shoulder problem.
“It is a completely different look, proper?” Draisaitl stated. “We have had this power-play unit collectively for therefore lengthy, for therefore a few years, and you’ve got a brand new man coming in, he brings various things to the desk, a special participant, so typically it simply takes a bit of bit.”
“I feel Tyse has executed a fantastic job of adjusting and understanding the best way that we need to play on the ability play,” Draisaitl added later. “Yup, he is been an enormous assist for us.”
“If you put a right-hander on there, it modified the look of it. It is taken a while, however Tyson’s sport, the final couple of video games, I feel, are one of the best video games he is performed,” Tippett stated. “He is beginning to transfer the correct course, the dynamic participant we have been hoping for. So he is performed higher, our energy play’s getting extra snug and we have discovered some outcomes.”
Porous protection places a damper on the night time
The 5 targets towards have been paying homage to the Oilers’ title groups, too, and that is one thing the ’21 squad will attempt to clear up earlier than Tuesday.
“Clearly, giving up 5, that is not going to chop it most nights,” Draisaitl stated. “Good begin, after which we ended up scoring sufficient to win it. However we’re clearly trying to be quite a bit tighter subsequent sport.”
Welcome to the NHL, Stuart Skinner
Skinner needed to cope with defensive breakdowns whereas additionally making his NHL debut together with his hometown group and taking part in in a sport for the primary time in additional than 11 months. The 22-year-old from Edmonton made 33 saves on 38 photographs. He allowed three targets within the first and two extra within the third, however the offense gave him sufficient respiration room.
“It positively helps once you’re up 5 or nonetheless many we have been on the time,” he stated. “Form of helps you to get your toes beneath you and sort of take a few deep breaths and settle in.”
Skinner’s final sport earlier than Sunday was March 6, 2020, for the Oilers’ AHL affiliate in Bakersfield, Calif. The AHL halted its season days later amid the coronavirus pandemic.