The Day After 51.0: Edmonton Oilers stick together in testy 5-2 win over Detroit Red Wings
Photo credit:Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
By Zach Laing1 month ago
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Yeah, you could tell the Oilers missed playing hockey.
It was a bit of a slow start Tuesday night for the club that carried an 8-2-2 record in 2023 kicking off the post-All-Star Game push. There was a bit of rust to shake off in that first frame, and while some held their breath, others weren’t so concerned.
Credit to the latter, as the Edmonton Oilers roared back from a 1-0 deficit to beat the Detroit Red Wings 5-2.
It was a team effort all the way. In the second period, the Oilers were led by some depth scorers in Ryan McLeod and Warren Foegele, the latter of whom tickled the twine twice. And while Joe Veleno scored in the dying seconds of the second period, the Oilers managed to hold on.
Holding on is probably the best way to describe that game for the Oilers. At 5×5, controlled just 45.31 percent of the shot attempts, 45.16 percent of the scoring chances and 44.88 percent of the expected goal share. Far from a perfect game, but with Connor McDavid being limited to one assist and three shots and zero’s on the scoresheet from Leon Draisaitl, you’ll take it.
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Jack Campbell was a key cog for the Oilers last night. He made multiple big stops and had one of his best games of the entire season. Slowly, Campbell’s game has started to come around. In 2023, he’s now posted an 8-1 record to go along with a .917 save percentage. He has also posted a 2.24 GAA while stopping 1.71 goals above expected. Stuart Skinner did more than enough to carry this team though the early stretch of the season, and now, it appears Campbell is heating up at the right time.
Speaking of heating up, credit where it’s due to both Foegele and McLeod. After being healthy scratched against Chicago in the Oilers’ final game before the break, a two-goal performance is one heckuva way to make a statement. McLeod is another guy who is making a statement. In his last 10 games, he’s now tallied six goals and seven points. He’s scoring at key moments in the game, too, much like he did early in the second period last night. You can’t deny Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, either, who scored his 23rd goal of the season on the powerplay to extend the Oilers lead to 4-2, before Evander Kane threw a hail mary into the empty net to cap things off.
Lastly, we have to touch on the Oilers’ team toughness last night. There were more than enough scrums after the whistle seemingly all featuring Vincent Desharnais corraling multiple Red Wings players like he was a bouncer at the Pint on a Friday night. Evander Kane got into the mix, but as our own Jason Gregor noted on Twitter, he’s been “strongly advised not to” get into any fights as that left wrist continues to heal.
For the Oilers, the road trip continues Thursday with a visit to the Philadelphia Flyers.
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 email@example.com.
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