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Three Key Things: Corey Perry’s debut, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, and put Leon Draisaitl’s face on Nashville’s jerseys

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baggedmilk
24 days ago
Saturday’s game marked the third and final matchup of the season between the Oilers and Predators, with each side picking up a win on the road in the prior two. However, with a 16-game winning streak on the line, the team wasn’t about to be denied as they found a way to grind out another victory that was by no means a given. Final Score: 4-1 Oilers.

LEON DRAISAITL DOES IT AGAIN

I always enjoy seeing the Nashville Predators’ logo on the Oilers’ game calendar because I’m fascinated by what Leon Draisaitl will do to that franchise next. It’s come to a point where we don’t wonder if he’ll get on the scoresheet but rather how many times. In his last 14 games versus Nashville, Leon Draisaitl has scored 23 goals, accumulated 36 points, and earned a +11 rating to go along with a 10-1-2 record. Needless to say, he’s highly effective whenever these two teams meet.
Given that multi-point games against the Preds are expected from him, why not pick up another one with the added bonus of reaching the 800-point plateau against a team he’s feasted on over the years? In 19:48 of TOI, Draisaitl scored a goal and two assists, added one shot on goal, two PIMs, and finished with a +2 rating. Once again, the scariest predator on the ice was Leon Draisaitl, and there really is nothing they can do about it.

WELCOME TO THE COREY PERRY ERA

I must have said this a thousand times at this point, but I’ll say it again: It was weird to see Corey Perry in an Edmonton Oilers uniform. I’ve disliked this man for nearly two decades, so having him on our side for the first time in game 1274 of his NHL career was incredibly exciting, despite also being scary and strange.
As expected, Perry did the things we all anticipated. He was annoying, he was chirping, and he still moved around the ice reasonably well, even though his boots aren’t quite what they once were. Never one to shy away from confrontation, Perry crashed the net hard and caused a scrum on one of his first few shifts of the game, and that’s exactly why I look forward to having him in the lineup. It’s a brand of sandpaper that I always think the Oilers need more of.
Perry finished with two shots on goal and two hits in 12:44 worth of TOI, but beyond whatever he’ll do on the scoresheet, Perry has won basically everything there is to win in hockey, and that experience could prove invaluable down the stretch. Playing with a couple of younger guys in Holloway and McLeod, you’d love to think that they could learn a thing or two from the former Hart Trophy winner about what it takes to succeed at the highest level.

NUGE GETS HIS GOAL

Even though he’s been collecting plenty of assists lately, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins hasn’t been getting the goals we’d like to see from him. So, yesterday on Oilersnation Radio, I felt like it was my job to call him out a little bit, as I am the sitting President and CEO of the RNH fan club. If he needed to hear bad news from anyone, it’s best that it comes from me. I said, “Nuge, I know you’re an apple tree right now, but we need you to get a goal or two here, pal.”
Like the good team guy he is, he took the feedback and executed a power-play snipe from the slot with his signature wrister to the blocker side.
Saturday’s matchup against Nashville was also RNH’s 846th career game with the Oilers, putting him past Glenn Anderson for fourth place all-time with the franchise for most games played. In only six more games, Nuge will pass Mark Messier for third overall, trailing only Ryan Smyth (971) and Kevin Lowe (1037). You know how much I love that we kept him forever.

OTHER THINGS WORTH MENTIONING

  • With the 16th consecutive win, the Oilers have tied the 2016-17 Columbus Blue Jackets for the second longest winning streak in NHL history.
  • Stuart Skinner was back between the pipes for his 34th appearance of the season and looking to extend his franchise record for most consecutive wins to a remarkable 12 games. And just as we’ve seen throughout this entire streak, Skinner was simply remarkable for the Oilers and gave them the kind of goaltending you’d expect from your starter. But even more than that, today’s performance marks 10 games in a row where Stuart Skinner has finished with a save% of .926 or higher to go along with an incredible run of winning 21 wins in his last 23 games overall. If you’re looking for a big part of the Oilers’ turnaround then you can look no further than what their starter is giving them in the crease.
  • Over the course of this 16 game win streak, the Oilers have outscored the opposition by a ridiculous 33-7 margin in the third period and overtime, and that stat near blew my brain out the back of my skull. We talk about developing a killer instinct a lot around these parts, and I don’t think there’s a better example of having that happen than dummying your opponent more than 4:1 on the scoreboard.
  • One of the best parts about writing recap articles is that I get to profess my undying love of faceoffs. That’s why I’m disappointed to report that the Oilers won only 42.3% of the draws they took against the Predators.
  • Dylan Holloway has been playing some really fun hockey in the four games he’s played since coming back from injury. Even though he didn’t score today, Holloway was all over the puck and was highly noticeable despite playing only 12:56 on the afternoon.
  • You love to see that the Oilers’ PP1 unit got the job done again for the second straight game. The Oilers’ big guns actually picked up a pair of power play goals on three power play chances, and I could think of nothing scarier for the rest of the NHL then if Edmonton started heating up on the man advantage. It’s weird to nitpick the power play this season given that the Oilers currently rank 4th in the NHL with the man advantage, but we’ve seen it be even more lethal than what we’re currently getting.
  • Not to be outdone, Edmonton’s PK continues to shine as they killed off all three shorthanded situations they faced.
  • I haven’t complained about the refs in a while so I think it’s fair to light these dummies up for the awful job they did on Saturday afternoon. I don’t know if they agreed on the Prison Rules interpretation of the rulebook beforehand, but there were obvious penalties not being called and what was
  • The Oilers improved their all-time record in matinees — games that start at 3 pm (local time) or earlier — to a slightly less miserable 65-83-23. You know the team is really buzzing when they’re able to win in the daylight.

THE #NATIONVACATION TO ARIZONA

Oilersnation is headed to the desert! Escape to Arizona on our next Oilersnation Vacation presented by Alberta Blue Cross from Feb 18-20th, 2024! Join the party for just $1,999/person (double occupancy rooms). Your ticket includes roundtrip flights from Edmonton, two-night stay in a popular hotel, transportation to the airport and premium hockey game tickets! Limited spots are available so don’t hesitate to get your ticket now!
Edited with further links and context (1/28/2024)

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