The Day After 52.0: The Oilers never make it easy on themselves

Photo credit:Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports
Zach Laing
4 months ago
It’s never easy with these Edmonton Oilers, is it?
Heading into Mullett Arena on Monday afternoon, the Oilers entered as heavy favourites, with Oilersnation and friends packing the barn. Arizona, meanwhile, had entered the game on a nine-game losing skid, having dropped a 4-3 decision against the Colorado Avalance Sunday afternoon.
While the Oilers jumped out to a 2-1 lead just 6:07 into the game, they weren’t playing particularly sharp. So much so that by the end of two, they were staring down the barrel of a 3-2 deficit against a Coyotes team starting a rookie in net.
But much like we’ve seen from the Oilers team this year, there was no better time than the third period for a massive comeback. With the lines mixed up, Evander Kane tied it back up at 3 4:28 in, and just 26 seconds later, Zach Hyman gave the Oilers a 4-3 lead.
They never looked back.
“I think we were a little slow in the second period, spent too much time in our own end,” said Kane after the game. “In order to win this hockey game, we knew we had to come out and play in their end. I thought we did a great job of getting on top of them a little quicker, and being a little more connected on the forecheck. It led to some scoring opportunites.”


And make the most of them they did.
The game now gives the Oilers their ninth third-period comeback of the season, tying themselves with the Anaheim Ducks, New York Rangers and Detroit Red Wings for most in the NHL. It was also their 17th comeback win of the year, second most to the Rangers, Dallas Stars and New Jersey Devils.
No doubt, this is a great trait to have. Edmonton can feel a level of confidence in themselves to get back in the mix and come back late in games.
“We came out ready to play in the third period,” said Oilers head coach Kris Knoblauch. “You could tell you’re playing a young, fragile team on a losing streak and feeling very tight. I think with our group, we took advantage of it, and I thought our level of urgency was a little bit higher in the third period, and it paid off.”
But as great as the Oilers’ ability to reconvene and mount these comebacks, there undoubtedly needs to be a higher sense of urgency from them earlier in games. There’s no reason they should’ve been facing the deficit they were, and at some point in time, the starts to the Oilers’ games need to be as good as their finishes.
There’s no better time than the present, as Edmonton now returns home for a five-game homestand. It kicks off Wednesday against the Boston Bruins, before the Minnesota Wild, Calgary Flames, LA Kings, and St. Louis Blues come to town.
The Bruins, one of the best teams in the league, give up the second-fewest goals against in the first period while scoring the fourth-most in the first, right behind the Oilers. Wednesday’s game will be a key one to watch for this Edmonton squad.

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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