The Edmonton Oilers have done their job against the weak opponents in the middle of this road trip.
They came into Anaheim on Wednesday and completely outclassed the Ducks, nearly doubling them in shots and winning by a score of 6-2. And then on Friday night, the Oilers rolled into San Jose and pounded the Sharks with seven goals and nearly came out with their first shutout on the season.
Connor McDavid opened things up mid-way through the first with a power-play goal and Klim Kostin continued his hot streak with a lucky goal to make it 2-0 before the end of the frame. The Oilers busted the game wide open in the second, as McDavid scored another power-play goal and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins scored short-handed to really break San Jose’s back. Leon Draisaitl, Jesse Puljujarvi, and Ryan McLeod also all got on the board to turn this into a no-doubter.
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After a frustrating loss to the L.A. Kings to kick off the trip on Monday, the importance of earning four points against Anaheim and San Jose became even greater. The Oilers did just that, and now they’ll have an opportunity to put together a winning trip if they can beat the Golden Knights in Vegas on Saturday.
“We certainly need to keep building on our game and two good ones in a row,” McDavid said after the game. “Obviously we keep talking about consistency, so that’s a good sign, but the test is tomorrow night against a good Vegas team trying to make up some ground as well. So it’s a big one.”
“I said this at the beginning of the trip, that our focus is one at a time here,” head coach Jay Woodcroft said. “One day at a time, taking care of your business, one shift at a time, one period at a time, one game at a time and that’s been the focus. We came in expecting to get two points tonight. We were going to work to get those two points, but we expected it and that’s the attitude that we carry into every game.”

THE DAY AFTER IS PRESENTED BY BETWAY


Parting notes…

  • The Oilers will head into Vegas with a 23-18-3 record, good for eighth place in the Western Conference standings. They’re currently nine points back on the Golden Knights, who have a game in hand, so winning this four-point game is massively important for Edmonton keeping Vegas within reach down the stretch. The Oilers beat Vegas in November in overtime and they’ll meet twice in the span of a few days in late March.
  • Though Edmonton’s six and seven goals in their last two games have taken a lot of pressure off of him, Jack Campbell was rock-solid for the Oilers in their wins over the Ducks and Sharks, stopping 46 of 49 shots. Stuart Skinner won’t join the Oilers for their game with the Golden Knights on Saturday so we could see Campbell get the nod in Vegas. He said after the game in San Jose that he’s comfortable playing back-to-back… “I love playing anytime I can and love playing in that building, too. It’s a big game for us and guys are playing well, and if not, Picks is ready to go and, you know, I’m trying to do my job whenever I get called.”
  • It looks like Evander Kane will soon be returning to Edmonton’s lineup. Ken Holland said on Friday night that two weeks would be the long end for Kane’s return but he’s hoping for sooner than that. “He’s chomping at the bit. He’s been in every practice here, and I think he’s sick of getting extra skated at the end, and that’s driving him to heal fast.”
  • Rookie Vincent Desharnais picked up an assist on Klim Kostin’s goal in the first period, which was the first point of the defenceman’s NHL career in only his second game. The 26-year-old who started in the ECHL on a minor-league deal a few years ago has looked very poised in his two games in the NHL thus far. Against the Sharks, Desharnais logged 9:04 at even-strength and broke even at 10-to-10 in shot attempts and he also logged 3:52 on the penalty kill.