The Edmonton Oilers keep the good times rolling and have now set a franchise record with a 9-1-0 start to the 2021-22 season. Another perfect week with 3 wins in 3 games, sees the team stay atop of the Pacific Division and top 5 in the NHL.
This Oilers’ team keeps finding ways to win games. Not all of them are pretty but that’s what good teams do. They find ways to win.
Oilers have a another perfect week..
The first game of the week was Monday the 1st against the Seattle Kraken. It was the first regular season game in history between the two. Seattle was strong but the Oilers’ skill shined in a 5-2 win.
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1st STAR: Leon Draisaitl (EDM) – 2 goals, 2 assists
2nd STAR: Duncan Keith (EDM) – 1 goal
3rd STAR: Mikko Koskinen (EDM) – 2 goals against, 27 saves, Win
Next game was on Wednesday against the Nashville Predators, and the Oilers came away with another 5-2 win.
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1st STAR: Leon Draisaitl (EDM) – 2 goals, 1 assist
2nd STAR: Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (EDM) – 2 assists
3rd STAR: Tyson Barrie (EDM) – +1, 15:33 TOI
Friday nights game against the New York Rangers was the game of the year, so far. The Oilers erased a 4-1 deficit late in the second/early in the third, and another 5-4 Ranger lead late in the 3rd. The final was a 6-5 overtime win for the Oilers.
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1st STAR: Kevin Lowe – #4 jersey retired
2nd STAR: Jesse Puljujarvi (EDM) – 2 goals
3rd STAR: Connor McDavid (EDM) – 1 goal, 2 assists
The reigning MVP continues to dazzle and add to his highlight reel of goals. It almost seemed like McDavid had a down week for his standards, with “only” 6 points.
He has scored plenty of spectacular goals over his young career but this one on Friday night was on another level.
Not only was it a highlight reel goal but it came at a crucial point in the game. The Oilers were down 5-4 with around 2 minutes to play when he scored. It sent the game to overtime, where they would eventually win.
How Connor McDavid keeps raising the bar and getting better is beyond me, to think he may not even be in his prime is a scary thought. (Good for Oilers fans of course).
6 points in 3 games is a good week for most NHL players, but not for McDavid. As he was “slumping”, Leon Draisaitl stepped up his game in a big way. The big German finished the week with 5 goals and 5 assists, and tied his teammate at the top of the NHL points leaders. Draisaitl is also currently tied for 1st in goals with Capitals’ Alex Ovechkin, who both have 10 early in the season.
In last week’s weekly wraparound I asked: “What’s up with Yamamoto?”. After no points in the first 7 games, we seen Yamamoto put up goals in back-to-back games and it looks like he’s gained some confidence. If Kailer keeps playing the way he is, he’s going to keep putting up the points. Yamamoto, RNH and Draisaitl have great chemistry and have a chance to be one of, if not the, best second lines in the NHL.
Barrie had a very slow start to the season and Evan Bouchard took his spot on the top pairing with Darnell Nurse. It’s looking like Barrie is slowly returning to his 2020-21 offensive form as he finished this week with 1 goal and 3 assists (1 goal and 2 assists against NYR).
To the eye test Barrie’s defense has looked a little better which may contribute to his slow offensive start. He’s still the quarterback of the league’s best powerplay so the points are going to keep adding up.
Takeaways for Week 4:
Third line slowing down?
Through the first 3 weeks of the season, the Oilers’ third line was one of the best on the team. Unfortunately, the line was a combined minus 9 this past week, between Foegele, Kassian and Ryan/Shore.
Derek Ryan was demoted to the 4th line for Friday’s game which seen Devon Shore take his spot. Shore ended up scoring the only goal for the third line all week, which was assisted by Foegele. Shore also left the game due to injury and is expected to miss some time, with the injury is a Ryan McLeod call up on the way?
The Oilers had success even though the third line struggled, but got a timely goal against Nashville on Wednesday from the 4th line.
If the team wants continued success they need the third line to be back at their early season form. At the same time, timely goals from anyone in the bottom six is crucial for good teams. Depth scoring has always been a problem for the Oilers, but this year it’s finally noticeable.
Game of the Year?
Kevin Lowe’s #4 was raised to the rafters, all the Oilers legends were in the building, the crowd was loud and it felt like an 80s hockey game.
This game had everything: lots of goals, a big comeback, goal of the year candidate, and a thrilling overtime finish.
Mikko Koskinen had one of his weakest games of the season, even though it was his 8th start in a row. Thankfully it was the Oilers’ best offensive game of the season, which seen them out shoot New York 39-25.
The score ended up being 6-5 for Edmonton in overtime but it could have been a lot more lopsided in the Oiler’s favour, based on their 3rd period effort.
Hopefully not every game is like this and the team can play a little better defensively as the season progresses, but it was very entertaining to say the least.
When is Mike Smith coming back?
The veteran goaltender was injured back on October 19th against the Anaheim Ducks. He was put on the injured reserve with a lower body injury with no specifics.
Coach Dave Tippett has said that Smith has been practising with the team for at least 2 weeks and seems to be getting closer most days, but also has had set backs.
Smith was projected to be an option for Wednesday against Nashville and then again Friday against the Rangers, but didn’t dress in either game. I think the team was just being cautious with the 39 year old net-minder, but I would not be surprised to see Mike Smith back with team for the upcoming road trip.
What’s Next for the Oilers?
Edmonton starts a 5 game road trip on Tuesday going to Detroit to face the Red Wings. Then they’re off to Boston on Thursday, Buffalo on Friday and St. Louis on Sunday.
With a jam packed week of 4 games, I think this will be the biggest week so far for the Oilers.
They’ve had an abundance of home games to start the season. Along with the fact that Edmonton hasn’t travelled to any of these cities since late 2019 or early 2020, this will be a biggest test yet.Embed from Getty Images