3 Takeaways from Edmonton Oilers’ 3-Game Trip
After a two-game winning streak at home, the Edmonton Oilers began a three-game short road trip on November 23 against the Dallas Stars. With injury to the guard Nurse Darnell and Slater Koekkoek, the team suffered another blow when they lost Duncan Keith to upper body injury in a 4-1 loss to the Stars.
However, with three of their regular left-backs left out of the lineup, the Oilers were resilient and stuck together with a “defensive by committee” attitude and won 5-3 over Arizona. Coyotes the next night. They followed up with a tough 3-2 win over the Vegas Golden Knights on Saturday night to complete the road trip. Here are three lessons learned from Edmonton’s three games over five nights.
Kerosene has options on the right on the first line
Edmonton opened the game squarely against the Stars, and Dallas took the advantage with two goals in the first half. To try to spark the team, head coach Dave Tippett juggled his lines and merged Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl. For a short period of time, Brendan Perlini – who averaged 7:39 on ice time (TOI) – was ranked as the winger of the dynamic duo. It was his first chance to show off his superb shot that produced six goals last season, but he looked out of place.
The following night, Tippett played with guts and pushed Zack Kassian up the right flank, while Jesse Puljujarvi dropped to third. It’s worth a try, as No 44 had his best offensive season yet playing with the Oilers captain in 2019-2020 as he scored 15 goals and 19 assists in 59 games.
Bet was successful. The combined line gave 11 points, and Kassian finished with a goal and two assists. An underrated but effective aspect of Kassian’s game has always been his ability to make a clean breakout for McDavid as he dashes into the neutral zone at a brisk pace. That exact play led to a goal from Draisaitl before he scored his own later in the game.
Kassian lined up with McDavid again in Las Vegas, and number 44 set up Zach Hyman for secessionist goals. On the other hand, Puljujarvi also proved effective in the third line. He was in a scored eight games slump that ended when he was snapped by Evan Bouchard and beat goalkeeper Robin Lehner in a breakaway match, shoving it into a five-hole hole.
Kassian may not be the long-term solution on the front lines, but he is a convenient addition when the attacking midfield is exhausted and the team needs a new look. For now, he’s performed commensurately alongside McDavid, but it won’t be long until his hot phase flares up and he drops back down to the third line. However, it says a lot about the Oilers’ depth, as they can rotate the wingers up front to see who catches fire.
Dave Tippett’s Riding the Hot Goaltender
Stuart Skinner was a pleasant surprise when Mike Smith was injured. Before the trip, he collected his first win of the season in emotion Win 2-1 in the penalty shootout overcame the Winnipeg Jets on November 18, making 47 of 48 saves. He continued that with a big win on Hockey Night in Canada against the Chicago Blackhawks.
On a two-game winning streak, Tippett scored against Skinner in the first game of the road trip, but the Oilers came out flat, and the Stars scored two power-play goals. Having said that, Skinner played well and made a number of saves in scoring opportunities in Class A, including a scene when he stole the ball from Michael Raffl in a 2-on-1 match.
Mikko Koskinen started the middle of the pipeline the next night against the Coyotes. He kept the Oilers early and steady throughout the night, stopping 27 of 30 shots en route to a 5-3 win. Going into the game against the Golden Knights, there was no indication which goalkeeper would play. However, Tippett is back with the Finnish netminder, and he hit the clinic in one of his best performances of the season.
Related: Takeaways from the Oilers Close victory over the Golden Knights
There is still no clear plan as to which scorer will take on the starting task, but Tippett seems to be opting for a win-win approach right now. After Koskinen’s spectacular outing, expect him to start his next game against the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Grease slow start
For whatever reason, Oilers are notoriously slow to start. In all three road games, the team played flat. They failed to recover from a slow start to the Stars and had to take two early penalties, which Dallas capitalized on, en route to a 4-1 loss.
To fight the Coyotes, they once again had trouble finding their feet. At 3:45 of the first period, Clayton Keller defeats Koskinen On a breakthrough with a beautiful backhand, Koskinen kept the team early, and it wasn’t until McDavid scored with power at the end of the period that the Oilers began to turn the tide.
It’s the same story against the Golden Knights as the Finnish nether holds the team in the fray. At one point, the shots were 13-5 for Vegas, and Koskinen shut down Max Pacioretty twice in the same power game. The team’s slow start is a cause for concern. If their goalkeepers can’t save them in the first 10 minutes of the game – as they have been – then the Oilers can dig a hole too deep to recover more often, like what happened. with Stars.
Still, the Oilers had a successful road trip. They showed resilience and overcame adversity when they lost another defense early in the trip to win two-thirds of the game. Next, they will look to continue their winning streak with Sidney CrosbyEdmonton’s first visit in almost two years as they host Penguins on December 1 at Rogers Place.
The NHL’s First Final MVP Fan Was Claimed By Upperdeck – CBC Radio Oilers Fan Panel Analyst – Freelance Writer. Edmonton Oilers’ Sportswriter for hockey writers.
https://thehockeywriters.com/oilers-3-takeaways-3-game-road-trip-november-2021/ 3 Takeaways from Edmonton Oilers’ 3-Game Trip