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Three Key Things: Depth Scoring, Evander Kane, and the Oilers’ playoff picture

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baggedmilk
2 months ago
The Oilers won a big game last night in New Jersey and were looking to turn one win into two with last night’s matchup against the New York Rangers. And while it wasn’t the smoothest ride we’ve ever seen, the Oilers still managed to get the job done with a four-goal outburst in the third period that powered them to a 4-3 victory at Madison Square Garden.

MOAR DEPTH SCORING!

I can’t even begin to tell you how much I love seeing the Oilers get goals from throughout the lineup. It makes me so happy. So, to see goals from Warren Foegele and the game-winner from Ryan McLeod was a thing of beauty that must be celebrated. If I’m going to complain about the lack of depth scoring as much as I have, then it’s only fair to pump the boys’ tires when they get the job done. And last night, at a time when the Oilers needed heroes, two of the four goals they scored were from players who needed to contribute after getting a bump up to the second line to play alongside Leon Draisaitl. With the goal he scored, Ryan McLeod now has five goals and seven points in his last 10 games played. The kid is starting to heat up.

EVANDER KANE GETS ON THE BOARD

I don’t know what is going on with Evander Kane exactly, but our man doesn’t look quite right at the moment. A few days ago, Gregor talked about some kind of nagging ailment that hasn’t been shared publicly, but it makes total sense given the scoring struggles he’s had over the last few weeks. The good news is that Kane picked up a big goal early in the third period to give the Oilers their first lead of the night only moments after Hyman got them on the board. It was Kane’s first goal since December 10th against the New Jersey Devils and his first on a goaltender since November 28th against the Golden Knights.

THE CHRISTMAS BREAK

It’s honestly wild to me that the current playoff race has the Oilers on the outside looking in as we hit the Christmas break. I never would have believed you in a million years if you had told me before the season started that this is the way the first 31 games would go. It’s impossible to understand how a team with this much high-end talent can be so inconsistent from night to night. It’s honestly a puzzling mystery that I can’t even begin to explain without trying to figure out what kind of demons seem to be following us right now. Outside of black clouds, jinxes, and other mythical creatures, I’m running out of things to blame for where we’re at after 31 games, and I guess the only solution is for the boys on the ice and the guys with the suits to pick it up down the stretch. Is it doable? We shall see.

OTHER THINGS WORTH MENTIONING…

  • Stuart Skinner was back between the pipes for his 23rd appearance of the year and tasked with sending the Oilers into the Christmas break on a high note. Up for the task, Skinner kept the Oilers in the game from start to finish and gave his teammates the foundation they needed to ultimately grind out the win. Had it not been for the Rangers’ third goal that came with only 0.1 seconds left on the clock, Skinner’s stats would have been even more impressive than the .912 save% he finished with.
  • Zach Hyman just keeps scoring goals and it’s remarkable how effective he’s been so far this season. I don’t know that he’ll end up with the 50 goals he’s pacing for, but I wouldn’t at all be surprised to see him get close. The guy is having a hell of a season so far.
  • Connor McDavid picked up an assist on Zach Hyman’s goal to give him 44 points on the year, which is good for fourth in league scoring. It wasn’t so long ago that Connor was ranked 130-something overall in points and it’s been fun to watch him fly up the leaderboard.
  • Who scores first: Connor Brown or Cody Ceci? It’s a weird thing to think about, but I also don’t know that the answer is overly obvious either.
  • Do you love possession numbers? It’s your time to thrive, dear reader. The Oilers came up short in the possession game against the Rangers as illuminated by the 45.56 CF%. They did lead the way in expected goals after posting a 57.55 xGF%.
  • Looking at the Corski counter, the Oilers were outshot for the first time in seven games after New York put 34 shots on the board compared to Edmonton’s 28 shots.
  • I love faceoffs and that’s why I’m overjoyed to tell you that the Oilers won 58.9% of them.
  • Friendly reminder that our man Frank Seravalli interviewed Kris Knoblauch this week, and there were some interesting tidbits about team identity and handling the pressure of being an NHL head coach. Check it out here.

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!

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