Weekly Wraparound: Oilers Prove They Can Find Ways to Win

GLENDALE, ARIZONA - NOVEMBER 24: Head coach Dave Tippett and assistant coach Jim Playfair of the Edmonton Oilers watch from the bench during the third period of the NHL game at Gila River Arena on November 24, 2021 in Glendale, Arizona. The Oilers defeated the Coyotes 5-3. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

The first two months of the 2021-22 NHL season has passed as the Edmonton Oilers still find themselves near the top of the standings. Currently the club sits 2nd in the Pacific Division and 7th in the entire league.

What’s even more positive is that the Oilers have 2 games in hand of the Pacific leading Calgary Flames, while only trailing by 1 point and have the best points percentage in the NHL (.750).

Injuries Keep Piling Up..

Defensemen Darnell Nurse and Slater Koekoek were both injured the previous week and are both expected to miss 2-3 weeks.

Duncan Keith was hurt midway through the second period against the Dallas Stars and later left the game. He was placed on the injured reserve November 30th.

Cody Ceci was placed on the COVID protocol list on Tuesday as well. Prospect Markus Niemelainen was called up from the Bakersfield Condors of the AHL.

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The Oilers defense definitely has a different look now: Russel – Barrie, Lagesson – Bouchard, Niemelainen – Broberg

It’s a much younger back-end but also a great opportunity for younger guys to show what they can bring.

How week 7 played out…

Tuesday, November 23rd @ Dallas Stars: 4-1 Loss

The first game of the week was in Dallas, and the Oilers did not show up to play. The Stars came out firing and held the momentum for most of the night.

Edmonton couldn’t stay out of the box and it costed them. Dallas scored 2 powerplay goals, along with a 3rd right after the man advantage had ended.

Ryan McLeod scored the lone goal for the Oilers, and Connor McDavid’s 17 game point streak was ended.

Goalies:

Jake Oettinger (DAL) – 21 Saves, 1 Goal Against, .955 SV%, Win

Stuart Skinner (EDM) – 29 Saves, 4 Goals Against, .879 SV%, Loss

EDMSTATSDAL
22SHOTS33
39.7FACEOFF %60.3
0 for 2POWERPLAY2 for 5
13HITS13
20BLOCKS20

1st STAR: John Klingberg (DAL) – 3 Assists

2nd STAR: Roope Hintz (DAL) – 1 Goal, 1 Assist

3rd STAR: Miro Heiskanen (DAL) – 1 Assist

Wednesday, November 24th @ Arizona Coyotes: 5-3 Win

The Oilers were back in action the very next night against the Arizona Coyotes. After being held pointless for the first time all season, Dave Tippet loaded up the top line.

Along with Zack Kassian, the top line combined for 5 goals and 6 assists, and also a whopping 19 shots on net.

Edmonton had a 4-1 lead with under 7 minutes to go but the Coyotes didn’t go away. They scored 2 quick goals and made it interesting. The Oilers would end up sealing it with an empty netter.

Goalies:

Scott Wedgewood (ARI) – 39 Saves, 4 Goals Against, .907 SV%, Loss

Mikko Koskinen (EDM) – 24 Saves, 3 Goals Against, .889 SV%, Win

EDMSTATSARI
44SHOTS27
58.2FACEOFF %41.8
2 for 4POWERPLAY0 for 2
19HITS22
7BLOCKS8

1st STAR: Leon Draisaitl (EDM) – 2 Goals, 2 Assists

2nd STAR: Connor McDavid (EDM) – 2 Goals, 2 Assists

3rd STAR: Clayton Keller (ARI) – 1 Goal, 2 Assists

Saturday, November 27th @ Vegas Golden Knights: 3-2 Win

The biggest test of the week was Saturday nights in Vegas. The Golden Knights were the pre-season favourites to win the Pacific Division (which is definitely still possible), but were in the midst of a slower start to the season.

Edmonton won the previous meeting back on October 22nd by a 5-3 score, and this matchup was more of the same.

The Oilers had the better first period for maybe one of the only times all season. They were up 2-0 after one and also took a 3-1 lead into the third.

The Golden Knights had all the pressure in the 3rd, as they were trailing by 2, but the Oilers only conceded once. Mikko Koskinen shined in this game with a couple 5 star saves.

It was also only the 3rd time since 2017 that the Edmonton Oilers have won a game when Draisaitl or McDavid didn’t record at least 1 point.

Goalies:

Robin Lehner (VGK) – 27 Saves, 3 Goals Against, .900 SV%, Loss

Mikko Koskinen (EDM) – 36 Saves, 2 Goals Against, .947 SV%, Win

EDMSTATSVGK
30SHOTS38
55.4FACEOFF%44.6
0 for 2POWERPLAY0 for 1
19HITS21
20BLOCKS15

1st STAR: Zach Hyman (EDM) – 1 Goal

2nd STAR: Chandler Stephenson (VGK) – 1 Goal

3rd STAR: Jonathan Marchessault (VGK) – 1 Assist

Oilers’ Top Performer of the Week

Mikko Koskinen

When it looked like Koskinen was possibly losing his starting job to Stuart Skinner, he stepped up. Especially in Saturday night’s big win in Vegas. In 2 starts Mikko had 2 wins and stopped 60 of the 65 shots he faced for a save percentage of .923 for the week.

On the season he now has a record of 11-2-0, to go along with a 2.89 GAA and a .912 SV%.

Zack Kassian

Kassian was promoted to the top line with 97 and 29, and put up 1 goal and 2 assists against Arizona. He also contributed 1 assist against Vegas and looked to gain some new life this week.

Zack is a type of player that the Oilers need to play with energy and add that extra depth scoring, not just when he’s playing with the big guns.

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Philip Broberg

The rookie defensman didn’t have any marks on the scoresheet but he definitely stood out. He seems to get more comfortable every game, and lead the team in ice time against Vegas with 23:34 minutes played.

Broberg’s transition game has stood out the most and he seems to be more engaged offensively, especially in Dallas where he had 5 shots on goal.

Takeaways from Week 6

Perfect in the Pacific?

The Edmonton Oilers are currently 7-0-0 against the Pacific Division this season. A key to do well and make the playoffs, is to beat your division rivals and the Oilers have done exactly that. Most notably is 2 wins over Vegas and 1 against both Calgary and Anaheim, who are all the closest in the standings.

The Oilers are also 13-2-0 against the Western Conference.

Injuries aren’t slowing them down

A barrage of injuries have hit the Oilers lately, mainly to the defense. Darnell Nurse, Duncan Keith, Cody Ceci and Slater Koekoek have all been regulars for the club and are now out of the lineup for the foreseeable future.

The positive is that management and fans get a good look at some of the Oilers prospects like Philip Broberg and now Markus Neimelainen. It also gives a young guy like Evan Bouchard a bigger role which is exactly what he needs right now for his development.

Kris Russel: Shot Blocking Machine

On Saturday night in Vegas, Kris Russel became the first player in NHL history to record 2000+ blocked shots. Russel has been with the Oilers since 2016 and has been solid his whole tenure.

It only seems fitting that Russel breaks this record, from seeing him sacrifice his body night in and night out for the past 6 seasons.

Shot blocking is one of the most over looked stats. When a player hits a milestone like this, it kind of puts it all in perspective of how hard it can be.

What’s Next for the Oilers?

The Oilers are back home at Rogers Place to face the Pittsburgh Penguins on Wednesday, December 1st.

They pay their first visit to Seattle on Friday and are back home to face the LA Kings on Sunday night.

Game to Watch: The first game this week will be the most exciting. It will be the 8th career meeting between Sidney Crosby and Connor McDavid, two generational talents who are set to be Olympic teammates in early 2022.

The Penguins are also on a 2 game skid, while the Oilers are looking for their 6th straight win at home.

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Author

  • Hockey is my #1 passion whether it is playing, watching, on a video game or in fantasy sports. When I'm not at the rink in the winter, I'm at the golf course in the summer. Writing is a big hobby of mine and I'm excited to be able to share my thoughts with our readers about my favorite team: the Edmonton Oilers Leave a comment.. I'd love to hear your thoughts! Twitter: @canaday16

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