The Day After 56.0: Oilers tighten up and get back into the win column with their best full effort in weeks

Photo credit:© Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports
Cam Lewis
4 months ago
Now that was a four-point win.
While the Oilers lost three consecutive games for the first time in two months, the Kings have been climbing up the standings since firing head coach Todd McLellan during the All-Star break.
Los Angeles beat the Oilers by a score of 4-0 in Jim Hiller’s first game behind the bench earlier this month and the two teams were tied with 68 points in the standings when the Kings arrived in Edmonton on Monday.
Trevor Moore opened the scoring to give the Kings a 1-0 lead a few minutes into the first and Zach Hyman knotted the score at 1-1 with under a minute left to go in the frame. In the second period, Alex Laferrere put the Kings back on top, and they had a prime opportunity to extend that lead when the Oilers took back-to-back penalties, but Edmonton killed off both, and Leon Draisaitl tied the game on a power play later in the frame.
The third period was all Edmonton as the Oilers completely shut the Kings down during the final 20 minutes of play. Evan Bouchard wired a one-timer from the point that gave the Oilers their first lead of the game and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins gave them some insurance later in the period. L.A. had only eight shot attempts during the third and didn’t manage a high-danger scoring opportunity, according to Natural Stat Trick.
For the Oilers, this was their best two-way effort since coming out of the All-Star break. They’ve had offensive explosions in the past few weeks and have managed to make up for poor defence at times, but this win over Los Angeles was much more like the ones we had been accustomed to seeing during the team’s 16-game winning streak.
Between the pipes, goaltender Stuart Skinner also had his best performance since the All-Star break. He had a personal 12-game winning streak snapped by the Vegas Golden Knights at the beginning of the month and then had a stretch of five consecutive games with a save percentage below .900. Against the Kings, Skinner turned aside 38 of 40 shots and made some huge stops when the Oilers were killing a five-on-three penalty in the second period.


What they said…

Mattias Ekholm on how to play against the L.A. Kings…
“The game that they present is for us to be patient. As soon as you get out on your own and try to dangle it through, it’s hard to get through that neutral zone. They usually break it up and come the other way.
I think this is more of the recipe that we are looking for. I thought the third was outstanding from our group. We were patient and played really poised when we had to. We played good defence. It’s nice to get that goal early, kind of get them out of their structure a little bit and knowing that they to go a little bit, but I thought we handled it really well.”
Kris Knoblauch on the turning point of the game coming in the second period…
“[The five-on-three penalty kill] was the difference of the game, the turning point. We were down 2-1, and if we don’t get a kill there, we’re down by two. It makes it really difficult to come back. Stuart Skinner made some big saves and our guys made some big plays on that kill, and then, we were able to obviously score a power-play goal.
“I thought Leon played really well tonight. Goal and an assist, and a lot of good defensive plays, breaking up plays on the back check. Yep, more of what we like.”
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins on the Oilers snapping out of their losing streak…
“It definitely gave us some life. Five-on-threes are tough to kill off. You need some big saves, you need some big plays, and then, you’ve got to make sure that you’re coming back at them after that. I thought we did a great job of that.
It’s probably good timing the way our game was trending lately, to have a game where you have to play simple and stay in it the whole 60. We did a great job of that.”

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