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The Day After 82.0: Dylan Holloway continues dominance as Oilers eye playoffs

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Photo credit:Jessica Alcheh-USA TODAY Sports
Zach Laing
16 days ago
What a long, strange trip it’s been.
On Thursday night, part of that trip ended for the Edmonton Oilers, who finished off their regular season with a 5-1 loss to the Colorado Avalanche.
The Oilers were clearly not in this one, and above all else, it appears they walked out of Denver unscathed. That’s partially thanks to the likes of Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl, Zach Hyman, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Mattias Ekholm, and Evan Bouchard sitting in the even more elevated press box, resting instead of playing.
The other part comes with the 17 skaters and two goaltenders not getting banged up. Stuart Skinner had got the start, getting shelled for four goals against on 13 shots on goal lasting the first period, before Calvin Pickard drew in to close it out.
The lone Oilers goal was scored by Dylan Holloway, who is now up to three goals and five points in the six games he’s played with the club since being recalled last week. He’s tied with Warren Foegele for goals in those games, and second in points to only Darnell Nurse.
Holloway looks like a different player now than he did earlier in the season, using his size and speed to wreak havoc on the forecheck while using his hands to put up some points. Kris Knoblauch and co. will have some tough decisions to make when it comes to the roster for game one of the playoffs, because Holloway has shown a lot in this last little stretch of games.
Here’s what the Oilers had to say of the game:
Perry on the game:
“We had quite a few regulars out tonight, but I thought the first half of the first period we were just standing around watching them, and they were skating around us making plays. But after that, it’s all about work and we battled hard. It’s just one of those games where the way you start just wasn’t there.”
Perry on the mindset entering this game:
“It’s not easy replacing six guys that play over 18, 20 minutes a night. I thought we battled hard. They’re a great team, they had their full lineup, they’re ready for their playoff mode and they came out hard.”
Perry on it almost being like a pre-season game, what the goal of it is:
“It’s just about good habits, just working hard, keeping it simple. It’s not the easist thing to do, but we’re all professional here. We’re all nhl players, and I thought after that first period, our game came alive. We started skating, and we started to play with the puck a little more.”
Perry on if there’s a preferred playoff matchup for the oilers:
“I don’t care. They’re both tremendous teams and it’s just a matter of wait and see and we’ll go from there.”
Nurse on the game:
“I thought our first obviously wasn’t good enough, but I thought the last 40 we competed and played hard and stuck in the game. I think that’s what you take away from it, and for us, we regroup and get ready for the big time of the year. It just sucks to lose, no matter the time of the year, or who’s in, who’s out of the lineup. I think fo us, we got to take the lesson of ‘that’s a team over there that came out and played playoff-ready hockey’ and it took us a bit to respond to that. You don’t have that luxury and wiggle room once you get into the real thing next week.”
Nurse on potential playoff opponents:
“For us, it doesn’t really matter. At the end of the year, there’s so many good teams that make the playoffs you got to beat everybody to put yourself in the position to compete in the end. It doesn’t matter who we play.”
Knoblauch on the Oilers’ response after the first:
“I think the first 10 minutes we were a little starstruck, or paralyzed just trying to make the perfect play. We weren’t moving our feet, we’re overthinking and ultimately, we were just defending. They were making plays and they really took it to us in the first 10 minutes. And then, got a little bit better. In the second, I think we started skating and simplifying our game, just playing hockey and it was much better after that.”
Knoblauch on, if in hindsight, Skinner should’ve started:
“It wasn’t fair for him. It was very difficult. We had a plan on how much of the game he was going to play. The chances he saw wasn’t a very structured game. The chances were point blank chances that are very difficult for the goalie. Not easy for him.”
Knoblauch on the play in the second and third:
“Anytime you get beat up it leaves a mark, but I thought it was a good experience for our second and third, fourth line guys who got more ice-time. They were playing really well. For us to play with that intensty, that speed, it was a good test for those guys to get ready for the playoffs, because I think colorado was treating it as a precursor to the playoffs and wanting their team to get ready. Obviously, we used that not for our top guys to get ready for the playoffs, but our other guys. I thought at the end of the game when we juggled the lines, the second and third period, I thought they played pretty well.”

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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