The Day After 25.0: Seventh straight win shows Edmonton Oilers are back

Photo credit:Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports
Zach Laing
7 months ago
In case of any doubt, it’s time to declare it: the Edmonton Oilers are so back.
A seventh straight win for the team came on Sunday afternoon, a 4-1 pounding of the New Jersey Devils, and brought the Oilers to the .500 mark on the season for the first time.
Better late than never, I suppose.
The Oilers have been playing good hockey, and Sunday was just another feather in the cap taking advantage of a Devils team that has sputtered. It wasn’t the smoothest of starts, considering what appeared to be Connor Brown’s first goal with the Oilers having been called back due to linemate Evander Kane getting tied up with Devils netminder Akira Schmid.


And while the Oilers remained on the right side of the game throughout the rest of the first period, it was a Derek Ryan goal with just over a minute left in the frame which broke open the floodgates — at least score-wise.
Because truth be told, it wasn’t exactly a high-event hockey game. Neither team was getting any significant chances. That’s just fine, however, as this Oilers team is showing it can win games in different ways.
Yesterday’s win, at least the game-winning goal, was all thanks to Evan Bouchard, whose turnaround this season from early defensive struggles has been significant. A 99+ mph blast from the point on a late second-period power play ended up being the deciding goal.
His issues early this season have been overblown, and much of it might’ve had to do with Mattias Ekholm’s struggles after a missed training camp set him well behind the eight-ball.
Nonetheless, the Oilers stuck with it all game long, and Connor McDavid was gifted with the easiest goal he may ever score, as Schmid was tied up behind his net. Despite Jesper Bratt breaking Calvin Pickard’s shutout bid, the Oilers held on and a crucial save from the netminder on Jack Hughes in the game’s final minutes allowed Evander Kane to ice the game with an empty net goal.
Play La Bamba, baby.
The Oilers, now 3-0 on this crucial six-game homestand, look like the team we all expected them to be: one that can score nearly at will, control the pace of play all night long, and shut things down when needed. In aggregate, these games have seen the Oilers outscore the Carolina Hurricanes, Minnesota Wild, and New Jersey Devils by a staggering 14-5.
The expected goals have become actual goals, and the goaltending is showing up when it’s been needed.
Edmonton’s homestand continued on Tuesday as the Connor Bedard-led Chicago Blackhawks came down before the Tampa Bay Lightning visit Thursday and the Florida Panthers do Friday.
Slowly but surely, the Oilers are getting where they need to be.

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@thenationnetwork.com.

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