The message after the Edmonton Oilers loss to the Detroit Red Wings on Tuesday was clear: don’t lose two in a row.
And a strong 60 minutes from those Oilers Thursday night against the Boston Bruins led them to a 5-3 victory and another tally in the win column.
“There’s lots of things we think we can clean up especially in the second period there, but it means a lot and says a lot about our group that we don’t stop and continue to play our way and try to stick with it,” said Draisaitl after the game. “At the same time, like I said, I think there is lots of things we can improve on (so) we don’t have to score five goals every game to win a game.”
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Despite a sluggish start to the game, the Oilers were strong and it paid off. Although Boston scored four and a half minutes into the game, the Oilers responded quickly 45 seconds later as Evan Bouchard fired home his 2nd goal of the year.
Then in the second, Boston scored again and Edmonton, once again, responded with a goal of their own. Zach Hyman found twine just 24 seconds later.
And while the Oilers let in a third giving Boston the lead into the third period, Leon Draisaitl took over. He was aggressive on the forecheck and forced the Bruins to cough up the puck right to him and he quickly found the top corner.
More aggressive forechecking by the Oilers gave them goal five and Cody Ceci was there to capitalize on his first goal with the team.
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“He’s been amazing,” said Draisaitl of Ceci. “Probably not the prettiest guy to watch if that’s what you want to say, but he’s so effective and good at what he does. Guys like that who work so hard and do things that don’t get noticed, it’s especially night to get a goal, make a huge play on the game winner. he’s not all dzone and hard to play against, there’s lots of skill there too and that’s great to see. we’re very happy for him.”
All around, it was exactly the kind of night the team needed. They knew they threw up a stinker Tuesday night against the Red Wings, and a strong comeback performance against Boston was just what the doctor ordered.
Give the Bruins credit: they’re a feisty, veteran team loaded with top-end talent. But the Oilers’ resiliency was just too much for them to handle and now, Edmonton is 10-2 on the season.
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“We competed way harder. All the way through our lineup we competed hard,” said head coach Dave Tippett of his teams performance against Boston vs. Detroit earlier in the week. “We got behind, but the ability to get it back quick… was a big factor. We turned one over in the second, one that shouldn’t have been a goal because there was a penalty on the play, third one Mikko should’ve stopped, but for the most part, we were pretty strong. That’s good, we don’t want to lose two in a row so we came out and played well.”
The road trip continues for the Oilers as they head to Buffalo tonight where Stuart Skinner is expected to get his third NHL start. Despite giving up three against Detroit earlier in the week, he was rock solid and a big reason why the score wasn’t higher.
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Edmonton needs to come out with another strong start and get an early lead against a bad Buffalo team and they will be able to get the rookie his first NHL win.

Backhanders…

  • A beautiful pre-game tribute was held for the late Colby Cave. His story started in Boston before he joined the Oilers, and it was the first time the two clubs played since his passing in April 2020.
  • Cody Ceci had a strong game last night, but left in the dying minutes. He took a puck off the ear and trainer T.D. Forss was seen holding a bloody cloth to his ear as he skated off the ice.
  • The reffing continues to be an issue, and Oilers head coach Dave Tippett wasn’t happy about it. Here’s his full comments: You think? You see that up there? I saw that on the bench too. I just didn’t know if anyone else saw it. It’s frustrating because the tone is set on the first call of the game on Draisaitl, which shouldn’t be a call. If you’re going to set the tone like that, you better call the rest of the game like that — and that’s not the way it went. I thought there was a missed call on the goal, the Draisaitl penalty to start it off. I thought when a referee does that early, he sets the standard in the game and that wasn’t a standard that was upheld through the game.”

What they’re saying…

Bruins implode, lose to Oilers, 5-3
The Edmonton Oilers possess some of the most potent offensive weapons in the National Hockey League in Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl. But when you commit the gaffes and misplays that the Bruins did in their own end on Thursday, you get what you deserve.
For the B’s, that was a 5-3 loss at the Garden to the Oilers, their first loss at the Garden this year, after Edmonton scored the tying and go-ahead goals just a few deflating minutes apart in the third period.
There was plenty of blame to go around in this one, but coach Bruce Cassidy chose to take the heat for the implosion, seeing not just the glaring mistakes in the defensive zone but the missed chances at the other end.
“We absolutely beat ourselves. One hundred percent,” said Cassidy. “So I’ve got to do a better job, because obviously the mistakes we made…when a team beats itself, it’s on us as a staff to do a better job in getting them ready to play and understanding the details and what it takes to win, the lack of shooting, it’s a hundred percent on us. So we’ve got to get that message across. Because we’re not good enough to make some of the plays we’re trying to make so that’s on us to make sure we play the right way and have the best chance to wn. Again, another good team found a way to beat us in crunch time. At some point, it’s not by accident anymore. We’ve got to do a better job.”
Let’s look at the disastrous ending first.
The B’s took a 3-2 lead into the third period but for the third time in the game they coughed it up, this time on an unforced error.
Brad Marchand played the puck back to Brandon Carlo, who’d given the B’s the lead late in the second, in the right corner for what looked like a routine breakout. But when Carlo picked up his head, the puck rolled off his stick and right to Draisaitl all alone in the slot. With a “thank you very much,” the German lifted it over Linus Ullmark’s glove shoulder to even it up at 6:22.
Draisaitl then gave Edmonton its first lead of the game at 9:28. After the B’s could not break the puck out, Cody Ceci beat Jake DeBrusk down the right wall and he made a nice pass into the slot for Draisaitl, who had gained position on Carlo for the tap-in goal.
“That’s one of those nights in the third period, one of the worst ones I’ve had in my NHL career. But overall, you’ve got to take it, learn from it. Things just got away from us a little bit and I didnt respond very well. Overall, a great learning experience,” said Carlo, who looked less than thrilled about the education. Steve Conroy, Boston Herald

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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]