Clips and Quotes: Edmonton Oilers sink San Jose Sharks 5-2

Photo credit:Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports
Zach Laing
11 months ago
The Nuge was, in fact, huge. Final Score: 5-2.
A nice complete effort from the Oilers saw them take a lead and hold onto it. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins’ return was massive, while newcomers Derick Brassard and Brett Kulak looked great, too.

The Clips

The Quotes

Zach Hyman

On the game: “Every point matters at this time of year. I thought the two guys we brought on, coolie and brasser were great too, and nuggy coming back. I think we start to see our team fully healthy with all the guys and it was awesome to get the win and keep building confidence moving forward.”
On what a fully healthy Oilers lineup is capable of: “I think you see a lot of depth. I think you see four lines contributing, all six d, and then in net, we got two stellar netminders. Just everyone contributing and stacking points.”
On Derick Brassard, Brett Kulak’s contributions: “I thought it was great. It’s not easy coming into a new team especially midway through the season. I thought those two guys fit in seamlessly. They stood out in a good way. That’s what you want out of new players.”
On what he can do to be Ben’s favourite player: “I think I need a little more time, I just got here. Ben’s picked two great guys and two great players. I’m just happy to be on stage with him.”
On Mike Smith being in and out of the lineup, if he thinks he’s finding his game: “I think it can be said for our whole team. I think it’s nice to be fully healthy. For Schmiddy as a goalie, it’s tough when you play a couple games, you get hurt. I think for him to finally get healthy, just like our team, I think you’re seeing what he can do. Playing against him last year, he’s a phenomenal goalie and he’s hard to score on. I have personal experience from that. It’s great to see him back on track.”
On what’s more important: where you finish in the playoff race, or how you’re playing when they start: “I think the playoffs are a testament to seeding really doesn’t matter. Obviously, you want home-ice advantage, but it’s about how you play going down the stretch and how you play in the playoffs that matters most and just building confidence in the group.”
On Calgary Saturday night: “I’m new to the battle of Alberta, but it seems to not matter what the standings are. If one team is good, one team is bad. This year, obviously, you have two really good teams and it’s going to be a great matchup and we’re excited for it. They’re first in our division and that’s a rivalry you don’t have to play many games in to know how important it is to the fans here and to the city. Looking forward to that, definitely.”
On his PK shift holding the puck, hearing the cheers: “It’s nice, it’s nice to have fans that are passionate and care and the building gets loud. They’re excited not just about scoring goals, but a play like that. It’s pretty cool. I was just trying to eat some clock.”

Mike Smith

On the game, how the team looks in front of him vs. earlier in the season: “Obviously, acquiring some people at the deadline makes us a deeper team. When you’re making a playoff push having people that can come in the lineup and play important minutes for our group is beneficial going into the most important games of the year. I think it’s something every team looks for, is depth. We acquired some guys who have been in the playoffs before, played important roles on teams and obviously getting some guys back healthy just solidifies our lineup. It was great to see guys in there tonight, Nuge back. The two guys we got at the deadline played extremely well for us. I think just playing with a lot of confidence in our system and doing a lot of things really well out there.”
On where he feels his game is at: “I feel like I’m getting better and better, to be honest. I felt like tonight I was pretty solid. I didn’t like either goal. I got out of position a bit, but I felt like my game was letting more pucks come to me tonight. I feel more comfortable every game I’ve been in there. The last few I felt like my game is coming along. I want to be playing my best hockey this time of year and it’s trending in the right direction.”
On staying healthy, getting in games: “The rhythm to it has been, you know, sporadic through the course of the season. That weighs on things too. When you’re in and out of the lineup, you’re not healthy, and then you’re coming back trying to find your way is sometimes difficult. Like I said, I felt the last two or three weeks we’ve really got some traction here, played some good hockey against some good hockey teams. We feel confident that things are trending in the right direction at the right time of year.”
On if he feels anything has changed that he’s 40: “Pffft.. I don’t know, not really. I don’t think so. It went from 30 to 40 pretty quick. other than that, I feel the same. Still a dad, still playing hockey which is kinda cool. It feels good to be helping the team win.”
On what’s more important: where you finish in the playoff race, or how you’re playing when they start: “I think it’s how you’re playing. It’s peaking at the right time. We’ve done a lot of things in the last few weeks that’ve kind of gave this team a lot of confidence and that we can feel we can play with any team in the league. We go on that eastern swing against Tampa, Carolina and Florida, we were right in hockey games and losing one-goal games to Colorado and Dallas, two top teams. We’ve played good hockey against good teams in the league. Like you said, I think it’s about playing your best hockey at the most important part of the year, and that’s heading into playoffs and then in the playoffs. I can remember my first year in Arizona. We were kind of out of a playoff spot, or humming along, then we end up winning the division and going on a run. We were playing some of our best hockey all season long and we weren’t supposed to do anything.”
On what he thought about Ben’s performance: “I mean, he lit up the building pretty quickly, so I think it was pretty easy to get up for the game after ben skated on the ice. It always put things into perspective when you see a little guy like that, what he’s been through, to get on the ice like that to get the Rogers Arena (sp.) bopping right off the faceoff. Obviously an inspiration to us all and happy we got a big win for him.”
On the Calgary game Saturday, how much weight it carries: “Man, I don’t even know who we were playing next… I was worried about this one. It’s always fun playing the rival to the south. it’s going to be a tight game. They’ve played good hockey in their home building and all season long they’ve been a top team. it’s a good test for our group.”

Jay Woodcroft

On the Oilers closing out the game: “There was a lot of really good parts to our game tonight. We got contributions up and down the forward lines and d pairings. I thought we tried to play the game fast tonight, and that was noticeable. Got a really good performance out of Mike Smith, it was a team effort. I was able to spread the minutes out tonight, so good win for the team.”
On Nugent-Hopkins’ return: “For me, Nuge is a real key piece to what we have going on here. Having him in the lineup, he touches a lot of areas in the game and allows us when we play the three centers down the middle to have a real strong spine of our team. I find when he’s in the lineup, it leads to a really nice balance.”
On the powerplay with Nugent-Hopkins: “Two for two, and the penalty kill was very good tonight too. I thought we did some things in the morning skate to increase our puck confidence and to do things in tight areas. We saw a result tonight, and that’s a credit to both units on the powerplay.”
On Brassard: “I think he’s a very headsy type player. He makes good plays with the puck. He doesn’t force little plays, he actually has some poise in the offensive zone in order to find that open man. That line scored the goal in the third period that turned out to be the winning goal. They made a lot of really good plays in the first two periods as well, it just didn’t go in for them. I thought Jesse Puljujarvi got in on the forecheck, was physical, and added a size element to that line. I thought it was a good line for us.”
On Kulak’s game: “I thought he played a good game. He’s a very good skater, he helped our puck movement on the backend. I just felt comfortable with him on the ice tonight.”
On the Calgary game Saturday: “I’m just trying to enjoy this win tonight, Spec. In all seriousness, we will enjoy this win for the next 10-15 minutes, then it’s onto the preparations for Calgary. They’re the team to beat in our division, their record says that. Their record on home ice over the last while is beyond impressive. They seem to be firing on all cylinders. they made a few big trades to bring in players to solidify their lineup. They’re going to be a good test, but before we get there, we’ll digest this one tonight. Like I said earlier, I thought it was a very, very good team win with everybody contributing.”
On Mike Smith: “We’ve had good starts from him, especially over the last while. I’ve seen him play well during my time here as the head coach of the Edmonton Oilers. Anytime someone of his stature — and he has stature above his station almost. He walks through the room, the way he carries himself. He’s a leader amongst our team and when he’s feeling good, the team is feeling good. That said, we have confidence in both of our goaltenders and it hasn’t wavered.”
On if he feels like he has three good scoring lines, how it can help down the stretch: “I actually would say we have four really good lines that all can create momentum in our team. Some lines create momentum in a different way. But yeah, I thought there was nice balance tonight. It was the first time we’ve had a fully healthy lineup and have had to make hard lineup decisions. I thought we got a good effort from everybody who was dressed tonight and certainly as we move forward, it will be tough to make decisions on who is in, who is out, because three really good hockey players didn’t play for us tonight.”
On if that’s a good problem to have: “Yeah, those are the types of problems you want to have. We also know we’re not just going to keep people on the side and let them die on the vine. We have depth, we will use our depth.  We think that is the way we’re going to win hockey games as we move forward to keep everybody fresh and use every available people at our disposal.”
On if this is the best he’s ever seen Kailer Yamamoto play: “Well, he’s feeling it — he’s feeling it. He’s doing a lot of really good things in order to have success. I think everyone goes to his production over the last little while, but he’s making a lot of really subtle, subtle plays that makes that line go. I think he’s a good complimentary piece to both Connor and Kane. They’ve been a heckuva line for us over the last little while and we’re going to need them going forward.”
On Ben’s performance tonight: “I know who the MVP of tonight was for sure — absolutely, without a doubt. And you should’ve seen our dressing room after the game. man, that was the most juice I’ve seen in our dressing room in a long time. It was a pretty special night.”

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 zach@oilersnation.com.

Check out these posts...