The Day After 77.0: Leon Draisiatl scores 50th, Jack Campbell gets a shutout and the Edmonton Oilers beat the Anaheim Ducks 6-0

Photo credit:Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports
Zach Laing
1 year ago
Surely no shortage of storylines, hey?
After playing one of their best games of the season just days ago against the LA Kings, the Edmonton Oilers followed it up with another strong performance in a 6-0 shutout win against the Anaheim Ducks on Saturday.
The most obvious story was Leon Draisaitl, who for the third time in his career hit the 50-goal. His goals each came in different ways, too. His first of the night came 2:03 into the second period at 5×5, then he added a powerplay tally at the 11:44 mark. It was right after this where I knew that he was going to get the hat trick done.
As he admitted in a post-game interview on the broadcast, he was pushing for it and rightfully so. It was refreshing to hear a player be real in a situation like that. How could he not want to hit 50 at home? His teammates were trying to find him and eventually, with 4:59 left in the third period, Drasiatil was sprung for a partial breakaway while shorthanded and wired a long shot home.
Down flew the hats.
And as great as it was to see him hit that mark again, Jack Campbell posting a shutout was also massive news.
When it was announced that he was in the starter’s net at the morning skate Saturday morning, there was a firm eye roll among legions of Oilers fans. It made sense. The last time Campbell allowed less than four goal against in a game was back on February 11th, when he allowed three in a 6-3 win over the Ottawa Senators. It’s been a rough road since then.
But credit where it’s due because Campbell played a big part in the Oilers clinching a playoff spot on Saturday night. By night’s end, he faced xx shots from a persistent Ducks team that wasn’t interested in going away. Now, to be fair, that could also just have to do with the fact the Oilers knew they were playing the Ducks, but I digress.
Campbell still didn’t have an easy night by any means. The Ducks fired a ton of pucks on the net and especially early in the game, there were multiple Anaheim flurries where he had to be sharp. While the quality of the shots felt like they deteriorated through the course of the game, Campbell still stood tall in the crease.


At this point, I wonder how much more Campbell we see down the stretch here. With six games to go, would it be unreasonable for the Oilers to give him at least three of the final starts? It’s very much clear that Stuart Skinner is the guy for the Oilers and will be the guy when the playoffs start. But in the same breath, the 46 games he’s played so far this season is the most he’s played in a year since he played 82 games between the Lethbridge Hurricanes and Swift Current Broncos amid the 2017-18 WHL season.
It’s not to say that Skinner can’t handle the workload as a starting goalie. We know this much from his time in the American Hockey League under Jay Woodcroft where he was the guy often finding himself playing in back-to-back scenarios. The leagues are different animals, and Skinner’s no stranger to a heavy workload.
But now that the Oilers have a playoff spot clinched, should there be that much pressure on him to carry the load down the stretch? Playoff positioning is important because you do want that home-ice advantage, but so is making sure that the everyone is as ready as can be. I don’t think giving Campbell a few extra down the stretch is the worst thing here.
For the Oilers as a whole, they get a few days off before heading to Los Angeles on Tuesday, then Anaheim on Wednesday.

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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