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The Day After 42.0: Sam Gagner continues to dial back the clock for Edmonton Oilers

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Photo credit:Sportsnet
Zach Laing
1 month ago
What can you say about Sam Gagner?
Ask any Oilers fan anywhere, and they’ll undoubtedly ask you to pinch them when asked about his return to Edmonton. Quite frankly, he never should’ve left either time before, but that’s a story for another day.
Because last night, he turned back the clock once again, scoring the game-winner in a 3-1 win over the Calgary Flames, all from below the goal line.
“Puck coming around the wall and I just tried to corral it. I saw Dylan open there in front, tried to make a play to him, and got fortunate,” Gagner told Sportsnet’s Scott Oake in a post-game interview. “I got a bounce, and it goes in.”

THE DAY AFTER IS PRESENTED BY BETWAY


A bounce indeed, as somehow that pass managed to bounce the right way off Flames netminder Dan Vladar, and into the top of the net.
And in the year 2024, 17 after he was drafted by the Oilers 6th overall in the 2007 draft, here we are watching Sam Gagner score game-winning goals. How can you not love the game?
His latest stint in town, which saw him land a professional tryout with the big club working his way back from double hip surgery, has culminated beautifully. While he’s only played in 20 games so far, in part due to lineup construction early and a recent stretch where injury held him out, his contributions have been significant.
He’s scored five goals and 10 points in those games he’s played, two of which tallies were game-winners. Talk about clutch.
Among all Oilers forwards this season, Gagner’s 2.81 points per hour at 5v5 rank second on the team, next to only Connor McDavid, while his 1.56 goals per hour trail just Zach Hyman. He shoots the puck at the highest rate among Oilers forwards, too.
His point contributions are excellent in the small sample size of his ice time, no doubt, but play continues to drive in the right direction. At 5v5 with him on the ice, Edmonton has controlled 56.12 percent of the shot attempt share, 58.36 percent of the expected goal share, and 58.82 percent of the actual goal share.
Pinch me.
It’s impossible to argue the value he’s brought on the ice for the Oilers, and for any who follows the team closely, it’s well-known how liked he is in that room.
Now, one of the longest-tenured Oilers of all time is helping them string together record-setting winning streaks.
“Honestly, we don’t talk about it much. We had a tough start to the season, dealt with some adversity, and we need all the points we can get right now,” said Gagner. “We’re just trying to play the right way. We’re kind of getting contributions all throughout our lineup.
“Our goaltending has been great, defence, PK, PP, everything has been really good for us. We’re just trying to push forward, and take every game as it comes.”
How long can the fairy tale run continue? As long as they can make it, for sure, and while you can’t take any opponent lightly, the next trio of games are against the Columbus Blue Jackets, Chicago Blackhawks and Nashville Predators.

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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