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Back-to-backs can be tough for any team in the league, let alone one on the road where they were unable to lay their head until 3 a.m.
For the Edmonton Oilers, that’s where they found themselves last night. Far from an ideal situation, but the team clearly looked gassed in their 5-3 loss to the Minnesota Wild Thursday night.
This Oilers squad had just played the Chicago Blackhawks Wednesday night in what turned out to be an exhaustive game. The big guns had big performances, but they also played a lot.
29 minutes for Darnell Nurse. 27 for Connor McDavid. 26 for Leon Draisaitl. 25 for Cody Ceci. 24 for Zach Hyman.
The Oilers felt that the Chicago game was the one to win, and it’s a good thing they did. While Draisaitl, McDavid and Hyman all found ways on the score sheet against the Wild, there was only so much they could do.
And there’s only so much this Oilers club in general can do. They’re out four top-nine forwards with a fourth-line fully of AHL callups.
To be frank, it was a night where a breakout performance from Jack Campbell would’ve been great. Instead, he looked as mediocre as he has all year. Not a great start for the $25-million man.
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Every win, every game is an important one for any team. Especially for a team like the Oilers, who have offered themselves little wriggle room in a jam-packed Western Conference wild-card race. Given the significance of Minnesota being right behind the Oilers, you’d think this game would’ve been more important than one against a Blackhawks team with a … *checks notes* … .364 points percentage this season. I digress.
I’m including the game Monday night against Florida in Edmonton here, , but the Oilers, since they left town on Nov. 20, went 3-3. Not ideal, but they managed to keep their heads above water. They spent a week on the east coast, came home for a game against Florida, then got sent out for a back-to-back against Chicago and Minnesota.
To be frank, the Oilers are probably happy with walking out of this six-game stretch .500. Given the rigorous travel, things could’ve gone worse.
For the Oilers now, they have a four-game home-stand that will see them host the Montreal Canadiens Saturday, the Washington Capitals Monday, the Arizona Coyotes Wednesday, and the Minnesota Wild next Friday.
Edmonton will need at least three wins here.
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 [email protected]