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Zach Hyman can’t stop scoring, Cody Ceci too, and Calvin Pickard backstops Oilers to 4th straight win

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baggedmilk
1 month ago
It was a busy weekend for the Edmonton Oilers. First up, the boys beat the Kraken in Seattle on Saturday before flying home for a matchup with the Pittsburgh Penguins back at Rogers Place on Sunday. And just as they did in the first round of this back-to-back set, the Oilers handled their business with an impressive 6-1 win over a Pens team that looked like they couldn’t handle the heat.

MORE LOVE FOR ZACHARY MARTIN HYMAN

Zach Hyman cannot stop scoring goals. His game opener on the pass from Connor McDavid was his 41st goal of the year, which happens to match his career high in points before he showed up in Edmonton. Hyman added a second goal near the midway point of the second period after Draisaitl’s pass attempt took a friendly bounce right to 18’s stick for an open net tap-in.
The only thing that makes sense about Hyman’s first three years in Edmonton is that Toronto was holding him back, and I think more people should be talking about it. ZHM has now scored in nine straight home games, matching the streak by Connor McDavid from 2022-23 and is one shy of the franchise record that Gretzky set in his 92-goal season back in 1981-82.
I know I don’t have to tell anyone reading this how it’s nuts to be compared to Gretzky in literally anything, but that’s where this Zach Hyman heater landed him, and I couldn’t be happier for a guy who always gives it his all. If anything, I wish the Oilers could figure out a way to clone him and ice a roster with five Zach Hymans who all work their bag off and come up with clutch goals when we need them.

CODY CECI, OFFENSIVE JUGGERNAUT

Cody Ceci went 127 games without a goal before he scored his first of the year on February 13th against the Detroit Red Wings. It only took Ceci 10 games to get another. This time, his shot from high in the zone made its way through a couple of bodies before beating Alex Nedeljkovic high over the shoulder.
Ceci continues to be the focus of trade speculation around these parts  — recently it was reported that he was offered to the Flames as part of a Tanev deal — but he’s doing everything he can to keep moving this ship forward while he’s here. With under a week to go until the deadline, it will be fascinating to see what (if anything) Ken Holland does with Ceci ahead of Friday’s roster freeze.
Only time will tell what’s going to happen between now and the trade deadline, but one thing I can say for sure is that Ceci is playing some decent hockey despite all of the noise that surrounds him. If we are getting close to his final days with the team, you have to appreciate that he seemed to be saving his best for last. If for no other reason than to increase his value ahead of Friday’s trade deadline.

CALVIN PICKARD ANSWERS THE CALL

Calvin Pickard was back between the pipes for his 12th appearance of the season, tasked with extending Edmonton’s win streak against a Penguins team that lost 4-3 to the Flames on Saturday. Pickard was looking to rebound from his last start vs. the Minnesota Wild when he gave up three goals on 18 shots against and was handily outduelled by his counterpart, Filip Gustavsson.
Pickard faced no such struggles versus the Penguins. Instead, he was was fantastic for the Oilers from the moment the puck dropped until the final buzzer sounded, and locked in his eighth win of the season with ease. While I’m sure there are some of us that still want Holland to upgrade the backup position, there’s little doubt that Pickard is doing everything humanly possible with the opportunity he’s been given.
In the end, Gino Malkin ended Pickard’s shutout bid with 7:37 left in the game after the puck took a wild bounce off Ceci’s skate behind the net, bouncing up and over the net right to Malkin where he was able to it slam home. But even without his second bagel of the season, Pickard finished with 23 saves and a .958 save%, doing the job he was asked to do and keeping the win streak alive. Another great game by Pickard.

OTHER THINGS WORTH MENTIONING

-You have to love seeing the Oilers increase the gap between themselves and Vegas Golden Knights. I still can’t believe the team is in this position given that Vegas was literally 20 points ahead of them in the standings only a few short months ago.
-Corey Perry picked up his fourth goal as an Oiler (8th overall) after acting as the business end of a three-on-one with Ryan McLeod and Cody Ceci. While there’s no doubt that Perry isn’t the guy he was with those slow boots of his, the fact remains that he still finds ways to get to the dangerous areas of the nice more often than not.
-With the assist on Hyman’s opener and goal in the third period to make it 6-0, Connor McDavid extended his home point streak to 25 games, a run that’s seen him collect an unbelievable 59 points. McDavid also extended his overall point streak to 11 games, a stretch where he’s put up 26 points (2G, 24A) overall.
-Ryan McLeod picked up his 10th goal of the season on a nifty play from a bad angle that saw him thread the needle with his shot, beating Nedeljkovic up high in basically the only spot that would work. McLeod is now two goals away from matching his career high in that department while also being two points away from matching his high there as well.
-How about a casual little three-point night for Leon Draisaitl who picked up an assist per period to give him 48 helpers on the year.
-Jesse Puljujarvi didn’t score, and I will always celebrate these small wins over the former Oiler curse. I mean, I know he didn’t play but I say it still counts.
-Am I going to tell you that the Oilers won 57.4% of the faceoffs? I just did, friend.

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