Weekly Wraparound: Oilers Suffer First Loss, Powerplay Stays Strong

VANCOUVER, BC - OCTOBER 30: The Edmonton Oilers congratulate Oilers Goalie Mikko Koskinen (19) after a 2-1 win over the Vancouver Canucks during their NHL game at Rogers Arena on October 30, 2021 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. (Photo by Devin Manky/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

The Edmonton Oilers finally come back down to earth and suffer their first loss of the 2021-22 season. The Philadelphia Flyers ended their perfect start on Wednesday night by snapping the win streak at 5 games.

No matter how optimistic fans can be, the Oilers weren’t going to go 82-0.

Standing strong after the first month of the season.

Week 1 seen the team go 3-0-0, and than 2-0-0 in Week 2. The Oilers went 1-1-0 in the third week to finish October with a 6-1-0 record.

Accumulating 12 out of a possible 14 points to start the season has kept Edmonton right at the top of the NHL standings (7th place). They currently sit in second place in the Pacific Division, 1 point behind the Calgary Flames, with a game in hand on their Alberta rivals.

How the week went..

The Oilers started the week on Wednesday against the Philadelphia Flyers with a 5-3 loss. The back and forth affair was the team’s first loss of the season.

In what was probably the most exciting game of the year so far, we seen the Oilers team everybody expected to see. Tons of offense and a lack of defense and goaltending.

PHISTATSEDM
57.7FACEOFF %42.3
0 for 2POWERPLAY1 for 4
27HITS21
34SHOTS37

1st STAR: Cam Atkinson (PHI) – 2 Goals

2nd STAR: Tyson Barrie (EDM) – 1 Goal, 1 Assist

3rd STAR: Carter Hart (PHI) – 3 Goals Against, 34 Saves, Win

To finish the week, the Oilers travelled to Vancouver and beat the Canucks 2-1 on Saturday night.

EDMSTATSVAN
50FACEOFF %50
2 for 2POWERPLAY0 for 1
19HITS25
34SHOTS30

1st STAR: Mikko Koskinen (EDM) – 1 Goal Against, 29 Saves, Win

2nd STAR: Connor McDavid (EDM) – 1 Assist, 9 Shots on Goal

3rd STAR: Thatcher Demko (VAN) – 2 Goals Against, 32 Saves

Top Performers

Mikko Koskinen:

The 6’7″ goaltender had an up and down week, but all and all I think he played well. His worst game of the season was against the Flyers, where he allowed 4 goals on 33 shots. It seems like he was saving the shots he shouldn’t have been, but also letting in the ones he should’ve been saving.

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Koskinen was blamed for the loss but he also didn’t get a lot of help defensively, that’s the type of game it was both ways. Fans were quick to start the “get rid of Koskinen” rant.

Before they could say much he bounced back well on Saturday night, allowing 1 goal on 30 shots. He had a few highlight reel saves at the end of the game when the Canucks had a 6 on 4 powerplay (empty net). Koskinen was 5 seconds away from a shutout, but the defense failed to clear the puck, leading to a 3 on 1 down low.

I believe Mikko is blamed too easily and quickly after one shaky game. Goaltenders are the biggest crap shoot in hockey, and you never know what kind of performance they will have.

He’s had a very decent start going 4-1-0, with a 2.26 GAA and a .934 SV%.

Evan Bouchard:

The young defenseman keeps impressing. He only had 1 assist (on the powerplay) for the week but what he did off the score sheet is what stood out to me. Bouchard looked very good in the defensive zone and also contributed with 5 shots and 4 blocks.

Evan Bouchard is quickly becoming the Oilers best defenseman, and I’m all for it.

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins:

The Oilers have guys like McDavid and Draisaitl, hence why RNH has kind of flown under the radar the last couple of seasons. It’s easy to forget the he himself, was a 1st overall pick.

RNH finished the week with 3 assists in 2 games, and what is even more impressive is that he currently leads the league in assists, with 10. His play away from the puck is what I really like about Nuge and is something that is definitely underrated about his game.

I feel like with every passing week, his 8 year deal at 5.125 annually, is looking more and more like a bargain for the Edmonton Oilers.

Let’s hope he can keep it up.

Takeaways from Week 3:

What’s up with Yamamoto?

Kailer Yamamoto has zero points in the first 7 games of the season. Should Oilers fans be worried?

There’s plenty to worry about when a top 6 forward isn’t producing points, especially when his line mates have a combined 23 points, 11 on the powerplay (Draisaitl and RNH).

To be fair, Yamamoto is the only top 6 forward on the Oilers that doesn’t play on the powerplay, but 5 on 5 offense is probably most important.

I’ve been patient like most Oilers fans, but there’s a point where you start to worry.

There’s positives in watching Yamamoto play. He’s very hard on the forecheck and has created offensive opportunities with his relentless play. Him, Draisaitl and RNH have cycled the puck very well early on this season and it’s easy to see the 3 have chemistry.

Fans are petitioning to have Warren Foegele take his spot on the second line. The only problem with that is how good the third line of Foegele, Ryan and Kassian has been. Having a third line that can punish the opposition and also produce offensively is very rare, especially on the Edmonton Oilers.

Chemistry in hockey is key and the top 3 lines on the Oilers all have that right now. Yamamoto is the only top 9 forward not producing right now but I think Oilers fans (and myself) have to be just a little more patient.

Maybe some powerplay time will help spark his offense and leave Oilers fans biting their tongues.

The Powerplay keeps rolling…

I feel like a broken record, but this Oilers powerplay just won’t stop.

The powerplay currently sits in first place in the NHL at 47.8% (second place St. Louis is at 35%). The Oilers only scored on 1 out of 4 chances against Philadelphia on Wednesday but followed that up by going 2 for 2 against Vancouver on Saturday. They finished the week at 3 for 6 (50%).

I honestly don’t know how any teams are going to stop this lethal unit but as an Oilers fan, it’s super fun to watch. I think the only way to stop it is by quite literally not taking penalties against Edmonton.

Winning on the road..

Edmonton is on a club record 10 game road winning streak.

Finding ways to win on the road is what makes teams successful and the Oilers have done just that. Playing well on the road is key and what also makes the good teams in the NHL, that much better.

What’s Next for the Oilers?

Edmonton starts off the fourth week of the season right away. The first ever regular season matchup against the Seattle Kraken goes down at Rogers Place tonight at 7:30 MT.

It’ll be Adam Larsson’s first game back in Edmonton since leaving to Seattle in free agency this summer. So I’d expect some sort of tribute to the defenseman who spent the last 5 years in an Oilers sweater.

The Oilers will stay at home for the rest of the week for matchups against the Nashville Predators on Wednesday and again Friday, against the New York Rangers.

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