They don’t ask how, they ask how many.
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Last season, it took 97 points to make the playoffs in the Western Conference. The Oilers are entering a softer part of their schedule this month with a handful of opponents who are beneath them in the standings. If they can capitalize and rack up some points, life becomes significantly easier down the stretch.
Saturday night’s game against the Montreal Canadiens was a perfect example of two points the Oilers need to pick up. This wasn’t a dominant or pretty win by any stretch of the imagination but the result is all that matters, as the travel-tired, injury-riddled Oilers are far from 100 percent right now.
Nick Suzuki opened the scoring in the first period but the Oilers answered with three power-play goals in the first half of the second frame to take a 3-1 lead. Montreal battled back to tie the game but Darnell Nurse scored right before the end of the second period to give the lead back to Edmonton.
In the third, the Oilers shut the door, and Connor McDavid scored a dazzling goal to give the team some insurance.
THE DAY AFTER IS PRESENTED BY BETWAY
- Normally after a game in which the Oilers scored four goals and Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl each had four points the focus would be put on the team’s lack of depth scoring. For now, with Evander Kane, Ryan McLeod, Warren Foegele, and Kailer Yamamoto on the shelf, we can cut them some slack.
- That being said, it’s puzzling that the injuries to Edmonton’s middle-six forward group hasn’t resulted in Dylan Holloway getting an opportunity to play a larger role. The rookie played just 7:07 on Saturday, less ice time than everybody on the team other than Tyler Benson. The Oilers can’t send Holloway to the Bakersfield Condors right now because they need talent on their roster, but if the coaching staff isn’t willing to give him a look while all of these players are out, when will they?
- A game-changer for the Oilers in the second frame came when Joel Edmundson hammered Zach Hyman with a wildly undisciplined cross-check to the head while the Habs were already killing a penalty. Edmundson was booted from the game and Montreal had to navigate a five-minute major penalty on top of the minor they were already killing. There’s been talk that Edmundson could be a good fit for the Oilers as they seek a defensive defenceman to make them harder to play against in their own zone. As nice as it would be to add some nastiness to the blueline, we saw on Saturday night how detrimental it can be when that type of player goes overboard.
- Next up, the Oilers host the struggling Washington Capitals on Monday. It’ll be the fifth game in a six-game road trip for the Caps and they’re coming off of a 5-2 loss in Calgary to the Flames. Washington currently sits at 10-12-4 on the season, good for 12th in the Eastern Conference.