Weekly Wraparound: Injuries Plague the Oilers; Skinner the New Starter?

EDMONTON, AB - NOVEMBER 18: Edmonton Oilers Goalie Stuart Skinner (74) in action in the second period during the Edmonton Oilers game versus the Winnipeg Jets on November 18, 2021 at Rogers Place in Edmonton, AB. (Photo by Curtis Comeau/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

The Edmonton Oilers were back home this past week after a lengthly 5 game road trip that seen the team go 2-3-0. Injuries to Oilers’ top defenseman Darnell Nurse and depth piece Slater Koekoek, seen the much anticipated NHL debut of Philip Broberg.

Along the way the Oilers have seen a breakout from young goaltender Stuart Skinner. Who is looking to stay in the NHL, which is exactly what the team needs right now.

Harsh Wakeup Call..

The Oilers didn’t play their best hockey in week 5 but got away with it. Over the road trip the team had trouble to start games and found themselves fighting back too little, too late. At the same time they still found a way to win half of their games and go 2-2-0.

Edmonton continued with the slow start into Winnipeg and they got a big wake up call, but a wake up call that I believe they needed.

Tuesday, November 16th @ Winnipeg: 5-2 Loss

The first game of the week was Tuesday night in Winnipeg and was also the end of a road trip that seen the Oilers play 5 game in 8 days. The Jets came out with more energy and proved they can shut down Edmonton’s stars.

Winnipeg was up 4-0 after 2 periods and quite deservedly, by winning the game in every aspect. Stuart Skinner started the 3rd to replace Mikko Koskinen, which seen the team fight back with 2 quick powerplay goals.

The Jets shut it down though, and sealed the game with an empty netter.

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1st STAR: Pierre-Luc Dubois (WPG) – 1 Goal

2nd STAR: Connor Hellebuyck (WPG) – 2 Goals Against, 32 Saves, Win

3rd STAR: Josh Morrisey (WPG) – 2 Assists

Thursday, November 18th vs Winnipeg: 2-1 SO Win

Dave Tippet’s squad was back at home Thursday night for a rematch with the Winnipeg Jets. A rematch that seemed like a must win, after being dominated by the Jets just two nights prior.

The Oilers seemed determined to ramp up their physical play and it showed, with the game was tied 0-0 going into the 3rd period. Nikolaj Ehlers broke the scoreless tie 13:57 into the period.

Connor McDavid answered 28 seconds later with this..

It was his second goal of the year candidate in the span of just two weeks, it’s becoming a common thing to watch for nowadays.

The game would end up going to overtime with the Jets on a powerplay for 3 minutes and 30 seconds to start the extra frame. The Oilers were able to kill it off and eventually win the game in a shootout.

The win did come at a cost as it was announced that both Darnell Nurse and Slater Koekoek would both be sidelined for at least 2-3 weeks with injuries.

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1st STAR: Stuart Skinner (EDM) – 1 Goal Against, 46 Saves, Win

2nd STAR: Connor Hellebuyck (WPG) – 1 Goal Against, 31 Saves

3rd STAR: Connor McDavid (EDM) – 1 Goal

Saturday, November 20th vs Chicago: 5-2 Win

It was Skinner’s second straight start in what looked like the Oilers most dominant game of the year. Edmonton came out flying and scored 4 goals in the first frame and were up 4-1.

The game seemed to settle down in the second with the next two goals coming in the 3rd period. Most notable was Edmonton’s penalty kill that was perfect, but also scored 2 goals on the night. One from Yamamoto and one from Draisaitl.

The night was also a special one because it was Philip Broberg’s first NHL game. In which he got his first NHL point with an assist on Ryan McLeod’s first period goal.

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1st STAR: Kailer Yamamoto (EDM) – 1 Goal (SH)

2nd STAR: Warren Foegele (EDM) – 1 Assist

3rd STAR: Philip Broberg (EDM) – 1 Assist (NHL Debut)

Oilers’ Top Performers of the Week

Stuart Skinner

Skinner was called up when Mike Smith was put on the injured reserve October 20th. Stuart came in for relief of Koskinen in Tuesday’s game against Winnipeg and hasn’t left the net since.

In 2 starts (plus 1 period), Skinner went 2-0-0 with a save percentage of .961. Edmonton is starting to rely on the youngster a little more and it’s nice to see. The Oilers haven’t had homegrown talent in net for a very long time.

Ryan McLeod

Ryan McLeod finished the week with only 1 goal. It’s not what he has done on the score sheet that stands out. Every game McLeod has played, has been his best game of the season. He has once again solidified the 3rd line and depth scoring for the Oilers.

Draisaitl and McDavid

Any success that Edmonton has is going to go through these two, and I don’t think they would want it any other way. Both are currently 1 and 2 in the NHL scoring race with Draisaitl (35 points) at 1st, and McDavid (32 points) close behind.

They’re currently the top 2 players in the world and the friendly competition is nothing but awesome to watch.

Takeaways from Week 6

The Penalty Kill

The Edmonton Oilers currently have the #1 powerplay in the NHL which is at 39.6%. The next closest is the St. Louis Blues who are currently at 28.9%. The powerplay is absolutely lethal, but what doesn’t seem to get enough recognition is this team’s penalty kill.

The Oilers’ PK is currently 2nd in the league at 88.9%, only trailing the Pittsburgh Penguins (89.6%). This past week the penalty went an almost perfect 11 for 12 and killed off some key penalties. Especially Connor McDavid’s double minor high stick that continued 3 and a half minutes into overtime.

It’s understandable with how good the Oilers’ powerplay is that the penalty kill can get over looked. At this point this team needs to be recognized for it’s superior special teams on both sides of the puck.

The Oilers’ Young Guns..

The most key players this week were young guys who didn’t make the opening night roster. Stuart Skinner, Ryan McLeod and Philip Broberg were all eventually called up because of injuries and they’re not taking this opportunity for granted.

Skinner is making his case to be the new number one in Edmonton (with a small sample size). As I stated above, McLeod has made the Oilers’ third line, a line to not take lightly like at the start of the season. Broberg has only played one NHL game but he looked like he belonged in the big leagues. The smooth skating Swede looked very confident and his passing and transitional game comes as advertised.

Holding down the fort…

Edmonton has looked very impressive so far at home this season. They’re currently 9-1-0 at home and have out-scored opponents by a score of 38-26. On the other hand, they’re still a respectable 5-3-0 on the road and have out-scored their opponents 28-24.

The road record is helped by a perfect 3 win trip early in the season but was definitely not the same team on the most recent 5 game trip.

Winning at home is very important but to be successful the Oilers have to find a way to come out stronger in games while on the road.

What’s Next for the Oilers?

Edmonton hits the road for a quick 3 game set for week 6. The team is in Dallas on Tuesday to face the Stars for the first time this season.

They then travel to Arizona and Vegas for the second time this year. Oilers won both the first meetings against these two: 5-1 against the Coyotes and 5-3 versus the Golden Knights.

Game to Watch: Saturday in Vegas will be the biggest matchup of the week. Edmonton is currently 4 points up on Vegas in the Pacific Division, with 2 games in hand as well. The Oilers play twice and the Golden Knights just once before their game on Saturday, so the more the Oilers can separate from them, the better.


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