Photo credit:Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports
Oilers blow Hurricanes away
2 months ago
“We’re on our way to losing 50-0 right now. I’ve never seen our team play this brutal. At this point, I’m lost for words to be quite honest.”
That gem of a soundbite from Carolina Hurricanes’ coach Rod Brind’Amour during the second period tells you all you need to know about the 6-1 licking the Edmonton Oilers laid on his Canes at Rogers Place last night. It also answered most of the questions some of the Oilers’ faithful had going into a tilt that came after a five-day break from game action.
Would the Oilers be rusty after putting together four straight wins prior to the break? They opened the scoring 28 seconds after the puck dropped, were up 2-0 after 41 seconds and 4-0 after 14:03 to chase starter Pyotr Kochetkov. What about Stuart Skinner, who got the hook from coach Kris Knoblauch after giving up four goals in a 6-3 loss to the Canes in Carolina two weeks ago? Skinner made 38 saves behind Zach Hyman’s second hat-trick of this season.
Aside from coming up short on Brind’Amour’s projection about the final score in his biting bit with TNT’s Darren Pang on the bench, the Oilers checked every box on the way to pushing their win streak to five games as they get ready to face the Minnesota Wild Friday. This wasn’t their best performance of the season, but it was certainly their most timely.
At 10-12-1, the Oilers haven’t scratched their way back to .500 yet after a terrible 2-9-1 start, but they can see it from here.
WHAT THEY SAY
Dec 6, 2023; Edmonton, Alberta, CAN; The Edmonton Oilers celebrate a goal scored by forward Zach Hyman (18), his third goal of the game against the Carolina Hurricanes at Rogers Place. Mandatory Credit: Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports
“The start helps a lot,” said Hyman, who leads the Oilers with 15 goals already. “Guys were ready to go out there and play even after a little bit of a layoff, so just a huge start and then obviously we were able to settle in. I thought Stu made some big saves and I thought it was a great team win.”
The line of Ryan McLeod, Warren Foegele and Mattias Janmark was terrific. McLeod opened the scoring with his second goal of the season before the crowd had even settled in. Foegele’s 5-0 goal was a breakaway burst that was a thing of beauty. Janmark had three assists on a night the line had six points.
Connor McDavid was on the go all night, finishing with three assists to give him 16 points in his last five games. His steal and set-up on Hyman’s hat-trick goal to make it 6-1 was sweet music. McDavid is all the way back – and was before the break – after a slow start. Evan Bouchard kept rolling with two assists, extending his points streak to nine games (2-10-12).
“Our focus was to break it down into eight-game segments,” Knoblauch said of climbing out of the hole his team dug in its first 12 games. “We don’t want to look long-term because there are so many unknowns, uncontrollables. We just want to control what we can. We can’t think about Game 82. We have to think about what’s coming up next or even a short term . . .”
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