The Edmonton Oilers are finding their legs.
And on a Saturday night at the Calgary Saddledome, they staved off wave after wave as they dowsed the Flames 3-2.
It was Zach Hyman scoring two — including the game-winner — and Connor McDavid chipping it a goal and two assists, who played key parts in the win. But it was also Stuart Skinner, who looked the part of a starting goaltender turning aside 40 of 42 shots. The young netminder has played an incredibly calm game out there and that seemed to seep through the lineup.
He made big save, after big save all night long and allowed the Oilers to hang in the game. His defencemen didn’t give him much help as Edmonton allowed 14 high-danger scoring chances against at 5×5. Lots of work to be done still.
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The Oilers and Flames traded barbs early on in the game. The Calgary had a good push, then Ryan Nugent-Hopkins rang one off the bar moments later. Edmonton got some powerplay time towards the end of the frame continuing to push, and then it was Zach Hyman who rang bar.
On another powerplay nearly five minutes into the second, Eilas Lindholm won a puck battle at the blueline springing Mikael Backlund, who beat Skinner to give the Flames a lead. While the Oilers gave him another clean break after the next draw, it was Zach Hyman who would fire a shot on net that would trickle past Jacob Markstrom.
Calgary’s push was hefty, and with just under four minutes left in the period, Milan Lucic was pinned against the wall behind the Oilers net. He flug a backhand pass right to the stick of Brett Ritchie, who went upstairs on Skinner. Heading into the third, the game was well within reach.
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And they don’t always ask how, but how many. For McDavid, he got goal number nine nine minutes into the frame. He broke in along the wall to the left of Markstrom, firing a low-angle shot that somehow managed to find it’s way in. Dylan Holloway got credit for the second assist giving him his first even NHL point.
The bow-on-top was tied when Hyman scored the game-winner three minutes later. Hyman was in deep and managed to find a loose puck he batted out to the high-slot to McDavid, who quickly gave it back to him on the back door and that was all she wrote.
As a whole, I really didn’t think the Oilers played all too bad of a game at all. The underlying numbers are far from kind, and they really did get shelled beind outshot 42-25 by the end of the night. Despite that, there wasn’t one moment in the game where I wasn’t thinking “this game could go either way and you couldn’t be upset about it,” save for a blowout loss, that is, but even that didn’t feel possible.
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The Oilers met the Flames’ game in otherways, too. They laid 29 hits to Calgary’s 31 and an unsuspecting name was heavily involved: Jesse Puljujarvi. The Big Finn laid a big hit on Milan Lucic in the first frame and then early in the second, he was backchecking hard and caught a Flames forward with a big hit. Come the third, Lucic took a late run at Ryan McLeod near the benches and Puljujarvi quickly came in giving the big lug a shove.
Beyond offensive consistency, one of his biggest knocks has been he isn’t an overtly physical player. He has a big body and uses it incredibly well in puck battles and to shield pucks, but we saw some hitting from him last night we hadn’t before. Hopefully that excudes some confidence and keeps it coming.
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As a whole, the Oilers have closed out their three-game road trip with a perfect 3-0 record. They beat St. Louis in a tight game. They stuck with it against Chicago to win, and got it done against the Flames.
The Oilers now headed up the highway for a three game homestand. The Nashville Predators visit Tuesday, the New Jersey Devils Thursday, and the Dallas Stars for a matinee on Saturday.

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]