‘Opportunistic’ Oilers Find Ways To Win Even In Imperfect Games


EDMONTON – So when do we stop saying, “Good start! And start saying, “Good team?” “

What about after the Edmonton Oilers secured Class A efforts of about a quarter of the roster, while handling the Seattle Kraken with relative ease in a 5-2 Monday night win at Edmonton?

“(Leon) Draisaitl’s line was really good, (Duncan) Keith and (Cody) This were really good, and Mikko (Koskinen) was good,” said head coach Dave Tippett. “We were opportunistic, capitalized on a few chances and found a way to get the two points.”

This is the kind of game the expansion Kraken will have to figure out how to win, Edmonton giving him about a 60% effort and then moving away in the third period in a game that was there to take it. If only Seattle could have Kraken.

Hey, let’s not criticize the Oilers 7-1. Every team gets small from time to time. The difference is, the Oilers are good enough and deep enough that right now there is always someone to play the hero.

On a rare night of rest for the third line, Draisaitl rose to first place in the National Hockey League scoring race with two goals and two assists. But it was Keith, Kailer Yamamoto and Kyle Turris whose first goals of the 2021-22 season made the difference between a lethargic loss and a win over an expansion team that had lost at home to the New York Rangers overnight. former.

“It shows the depth of our group that we can win in different ways,” said Draisaitl. “We can win on the power play and special teams in general, our goalie can steal one, our defenders contribute, our third line has won us games … There are different ways to win a game and this is a very good asset to have in a team.

Maybe it wasn’t SO bad …

“Aw, we just didn’t play as well as I would love to see us play,” said Tippett, whose team climbed to number one in the Pacific and comes third behind near-perfect Florida and the Caroline unbeaten in the general classification of the league. with 14 of 16 possible points this season. “The Vancouver game on Saturday, we were much better than tonight. Much better. We were opportunistic tonight, but too much coasting and not enough skating for my taste.

So that’s what was wrong with Edmonton on Monday night. Here is what is going well:

Koskinen, him on the terrible contract, gave Edmonton another gem. Don’t look now, but since Mike Smith fell six games ago, Koskinen looks like a $ 4.5 million goalie.

Among goaltenders who have played five or more games, Koskinen’s .933 save percentage ranks seventh in the NHL, and his 2.21 goals-against average is eighth. He has started the last five games, won four and limited his opponents to two goals or less on three occasions.

“Just about every game he’s played well,” Tippett said. “The Philadelphia game he probably wanted one back, but other than that he was very solid.”

Besides Keith scoring in his 1,200th NHL game, Kraken defenseman Adam Larsson returned to the city where he had spent the previous five seasons, and Seattle made his very first visit to Oil Country, this was a tilt as forgettable as you are. I will find a Monday evening at the beginning of November.

When Draisaiotl scored on Edmonton’s first shot of the night – in fact, a carom out of his skate that changed direction and slipped past goalie Joey Daccord – it was as if the Orange team were loosening up. for a big offensive evening. Then Seattle scored on their second shot, and the Oilers scored on their third, and anyone who appreciates structure and responsible defensive play knew they were in the wrong ice that night.

When Jaden Schwartz walked through Darnell Nurse and Evan Bouchard to score on Koskinen, you got the feeling that it certainly wasn’t a masterpiece painted here. But guys like Yamamoto and Keith, they’ll bring this one home and hang it on their fridge in the morning – especially the little right winger who eventually dented the string, his first goal in 24 games and point No. 1 over the season.

“He’s still working,” Tippett said of Yamamoto. “He’s competitive, but at some point (you) have to start seeing results. Hopefully that will loosen the grip of his stick a bit.

“When you have circles in all of these columns (on the tally sheet) it weighs on your mind. He’s got the first one behind him now. I hope he starts to capitalize on other opportunities.

“It’s huge to come into this group and all the guys want me to score,” beamed Yamamoto. “It means a lot, especially the guys on the bench, it just means a lot.”

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