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Photo Credit: Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports

The Day After: Never in doubt

Welcome to the day after where we dive into what’s happening with the Oilers the day after a game. 

Those Edmonton Oilers, man.

It took all of 66 seconds for things to look rough for them Oily Boyz. Bo Horvat fired a sharp angle shot that snuck past Mike Smith and there was an undeniable “here we go again.”

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Add in two more Canucks goals and with under five minutes left in the first period things were looking… horrible for the Edmonton Oilers. They were down bad in thanks to some sloppy play.

But Dominik Kahun’s goal with a little over a minute left in the period reinvigorated the team.

“I think things from the coaching end, were pretty calm,” head coach Dave Tippett said of their reaction to the first period. “The players come in and you could hear they wanted to be better after the first period.

“I thought we were better in the second. All the players talked about it after the second period, let’s make the third period the best period of the game and see what happens. We went out and played a strong third period.”

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It’s safe to say the Edmonton Oilers are on a heater. They’ve won nine of their last 11 games and have included three separate three-game win streaks in that time.

They’ve outscored their opponents 46-29 in all situations and their special teams has been nothing short of tremendous. Edmonton has had 37 man-advantage opportunities scoring on 12 of them (33%). They’ve also been shorthanded 35 times allowing seven goals (80%).

Sprinkle in some depth scoring and a heavy dash of good goaltending and all of a sudden you have an Oilers team that’s making some noise in the North.

Edmonton holds the third best points percentage (.619)  in the North this year sandwiched between the cold Montreal Canadiens (.611) below them, and the Winnipeg Jets (.639) and the Toronto Maple Leafs (.750) ahead of them.

And a win like this can go a long way for a still young team like the Oilers. I’ve written about it before, but it came up again tonight: these are the kinds of wins that are crucial for a club.

“I think a game like this will help us as we go on in the year,” said Tippett. “We might find ourselves in a situation like this and when you’ve been through getting behind… and come back from it, you might get another game like this and there’s a belief there you can do it again.

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“It’s a huge two points. You have to kind of park that game and get ready for the next one because their desperation level goes up.”

A 3-0 deficit is a big one in the NHL. According to moneypuck.com, the Oilers had a 13 percent chance of winning the game when Vancouver scored their third goal in the first. Even being down two entering the third, they only had a 10 percent chance of winning the game, let alone being able to snag that win in regulation.

The Oilers will need to be ready for a big game Thursday against the Canucks, who undoubtedly will be coming out desperate for a win.

Backhanders…

  • Caleb Jones slid in on the third pairing alongside Evan Bouchard. It was his first game since Jan. 31, and only his 17th game in the last 12 months. Despite that, he came into the lineup and posted a team high 81.25 CF% and a 78.4 xGFat 5×5, while his defensive partner posted a 72.73 CF% and a 57.52 xGF%. Together, they were the Oilers best defensive pair.
  • Dominik Kahun played his best game with the Oilers last night scoring a big two goals to help lead the comeback. He notched an assist Saturday night against Calgary, too. He’s one player who has had a tough time adjusting to Edmonton scoring six points in 20 games prior. He’s a real solid young player that’s scored in this league in the past. Let’s hope the offence can keep coming.
  • While he didn’t like the comparison after the game, Mike Smith had a Grant Fuhr-esque performance last night. He let in early goals, but rebounded in the best way possible shutting the door and allowing the Oilers offence to do their thing. Credit where it’s due for him in battling back.
  • The Oilers fourth line of Patrick Russell, Gaetan Haas and Alex Chiasson had a solid night. In 6:01 of 5×5 last night they posted a 54.55 CF% and an eye popping 91.74 xGF%. It was low event hockey from and that’s a good thing.

Zach Laing is the Nation Network’s news director and senior columnist. He can be followed on Twitter at @zjlaing, or reached by email at [email protected]