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Clips and Quotes: Edmonton Oilers stay perfect on homestand downing New Jersey Devils 6-3

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Photo credit:Walter Tychnowicz-USA TODAY Sports
Zach Laing
8 months ago
That’s a perfect homestand. Final score: 6-3.
Nice work by the Oilers for not only getting out to the early lead, but sticking with it after being down early in the third. BaggedMilk has the Wrap Up.

The Clips

The Quotes

Leon Draisaitl

On how much difference scoring first has made: “It’s very obvious I think that we like playing with the lead. It feeds into our game a little better. It got a little away on us for a couple minutes in the third, but good teams find ways to win. At the end of the day, it’s two big points for us.”
On the 5-0 homestand: “It was a big stretch for us, right? Important games, some good teams in here. This was a really good stretch for us. That being said, we’re focused on next game. We’ve got two hard opponents coming up in a back-to-back. we got to make sure we’re ready for that.”
On the 3rd period comeback: “You don’t ever want that to happen. That’s not ideal, but they got some shifty players that can make plays. I think maybe we fell asleep for a second there. I thought our team did a good job grabbing it again and putting it back together.”
On what’s working for the Oilers: “I think we’re just playing very connected hockey right now. Everyone knows their role, everyone knows the system, everyone knows the way we want to play and the way we can be successful. We can truly beat any team. We’re getting healthy, which helps a lot. I think everyone is just in their spots now and hopefully, we can stay healthy for the stretch run here.”
On Evander Kane, his scoring touch: “He’s been big for us. He gives you a top-six winger, right? Those are hard to find especially with his physicality and the way he plays the game. Those are hard to find, hard to come by. We’re very lucky to have him. He knows how to score. I think that’s the easiest way to say it. He finds the right areas, he knows how to score. He’s done it for a long-time. He’s been big for our team.”
On if there’s a maturing process going on with the Oilers: “I think that part comes with a little confidence, right? When you get a couple wins in a row, you get a little streak going — you know you can come back from a bad shift, or from getting scored on. I think we’re growing in that area of the game. It obviously makes us a better team.”
On hitting the ref with the puck: “it’s just a really unlucky play, i hope he’s okay. i obviously didn’t mean to hit him. i have nothing against him at all. I just hope he’s okay. I’m going to try and go see him.”
On the team is rounding out: “We’re getting healthy, which helps. We were missing some big-time players in our lineup that eat a lot of important minutes. Everyone is kind of slotted in where they’re supposed to be right now. We can’t wait to get nuggy back in there as well. He’s obviously a great player and he’s going to help us a lot. we got to keep this rolling. There’s still a bunch of games left.”
On how they view the deadline, players maybe being bumped out of the lineup: “It’s a weird time for everyone. For some players maybe a little more than others. We’re focused on our game right now, we’re looking to get better. Whatever happens, happens. That’s part of the business. I think everyone, I hope everyone understands that part.”

Evander Kane

On the difference he’s noticed in the Oilers since he joined: “I think there was a tough stretch before i got here. These guys got off to a great start early in the season, but I think a couple wins in a row can really change the mindset and get that belief a little higher. We got healthy and started playing a lot tighter as a unit of five and I think it’s really helped our game. it’s led to some success.”
On what he feels he brought to the team: “That’s not necessarily for me to judge, I just try to bring my attributes to the team and any team I’m on and try to be a positive player for our group.”
On the Oilers having pushback in their game: “I think it’s believing. we can score goals, we know that. I think it’s really just about playing a certain way, having the right attitude and staying with that attitude no matter how bounces go in a game. You look at the third period. We come out, know what we need to do, but they get a couple of bounces and take the lead. We stick with our game plan, we get pucks to the net, we turn up the heat a little bit, stay with it and we were able to respond. It has been a good homestand for the most part. You look at the teams we played, you can say they’re not very good, but those are tough games. I thought it was a good test for our group and now we go on the road.”
On the homestand, if there’s some confidence coming from it: “For sure. Nobody is ever going to complain about winning. We’re happy with that, but like I said, those are some tough games to play. Every point, especially with the position we’re in, is very important. We took care of business at home, and now we get to go on the road and play two really good teams.”
On being 2-5-1 coming into the homestand, what turned it around: “The way we ended off that road trip in Chicago was disappointing. Coming back home and losing against montreal was tough, but we knew the position we’re in. Teams are starting to pull away from us and we needed to climb back into that race. We are in a good position now, but it’s definitely nothing to be satisfied about.”
On the potential he sees in this Oilers team: “I see great potential in this team, that’s why I came here. I think you’re starting to see what it can look like as we continue to grow our game and become even tighter as a team in the way we play. I think we’re going to be a tough team to beat.”
On if he thinks the oilers need to add at the deadline: “Guys, that’s not my job.”

Jay Woodcroft

On scoring first, being 21-0 doing so: “I think it’s pretty remarkable when this year’s version of the Edmonton Oilers scores first. I don’t know if it’s a statistical oddity, or why that is the case. When our staff came in a month ago, we wanted to make it important to start well — we put a premium on starting well. We talk a lot about early urgency, wanting to sink our teeth into the other team immediately, putting a little bit of onus on personal responsibility for players finding their game within the team right off the bat.”
On the Oilers pushback: “It wasn’t according to script to give up two goals in the first few minutes of the third period there. There was some good fortune for the other team off the end wall and all that stuff. I like what our players were saying on the bench, how they were supporting each other, their belief system didn’t waver. I think when you talk about resiliency — and that is a word we want to describe our team — what that comes down to is when there’s a shock to the system, or something bad happens that you just don’t abandon your structure, or your way of being. For our team to maintain our shape and continue to press forward, it was a good sign and bodes well for us going forward.”
On tinkering with lines: “I didn’t think we skated very well in the first period as a group. it was just trying to push some buttons, move a few pieces around the chessboard in an effort to get some people going. Also I didn’t love my deployment of people and spreading the minutes around right off the bat. We just tried to find a way to find the right combinations to win the game, that’s what was most important.”
On being critical of himself, how he corrects that: “I put a lot of emphasis on self-assessment. Usually at tv timeouts when you get a chance to think and to talk to your assistant coaches. It comes from feel, it comes from experience. I just didn’t love the way we skated collectively and it was trying to find the right combinations for us to win the game. We also have to give the other team credit. They have some good players on that team and we’re just trying to find the right matchups to gain a little bit of an advantage.”
On Kane, his scoring ways: “I think he’s feeling it right now. I think there’s a good chemistry with him and Connor. He has found a niche by going to hard areas to score goals. He’s also someone that can score from distance, but he doesn’t just resort to playing on the outside. He goes to hard areas to score and I think it’s a good example for our younger players. We’re talking about line combinations a little earlier, i thought in the second period Zack Kassian did something for our team to inject a little bit of emotion into the game. I know that the bench grew a little bit taller when he did that. At that point in time, we made the decision to put Kass up with Kane and Connor and that was an effective unit for us too.”
On how much discussion there is between gm/coach on trades: “It’s been my experience over my three different organizations there’s usually quite a bit of communication at this time of year. There’s communication on a daily basis on the general state of the team. The lineups you’re going to ice, who you liked in certain games, who you might’ve not liked in certain games. There’s constant communication between our coaching staff and management groups.”
On if he suggests players to management that he may have coached before: “The lane I like to stay in is trying to get the most out of the people in front of me. If I’m asked questions, I’m not hesitant in any way to give my opinion. Usually, if that’s the case, it’s one where I put a lot of thought and work into forming an opinion about players on our team, or players around the league.”
On the differences he’s seen in Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl between when he was an assistant coach and now as a head coach: “Both of those guys were extremely young and finding their footing in the national hockey league when I first was an assistant coach. They were both dominant players as young players, as we know. Their game has evolved. I said this the other night: I don’t think Connor specifically and Leon specifically get enough credit for some of the things they do defensively and how hard they play the game. I see two young men who have physically matured. I think their games have matured and both of them are driven to be the best they can be. They’re driven to be the best players in the world and most importantly, they’re driven to win.”
On how McDavid/Draisaitl have embraced being leaders: “I feel good with them on the ice because I see them trying to do things right. Do they make mistakes even though they’re the top players in the game? They still make mistakes on the ice but they take ownership of those mistakes. They know when they can be better, they’re constantly craving information to help them be the best they can be. They’re hugely respected not only by the coaching staff here but by their teammates. They’re two people driving us forward. They’re supported by some really good leaders in our room as well, guys like Darnell Nurse. Some leaders who have gained experience in other organizations, guys like Duncan Keith and mike smith and those types. I think where their game is at is in a good spot right now. They’re trying to do it right night-in and night-out.”
On Connor/Leon getting hot: “Ever since our staff has been here for the last month or so, I’ve seen their game take off. Most importantly, the emphasis for our team has been work back to our own zone and I see those two players leading that way in the charge and when they do it, it’s contagious.”

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.

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