The Oilers played on Sunday as they did during the Stanley Cup franchise era. They scored five goals in the first period and three more in the second and beat the Senators 8-5 in last place in Edmonton.
A few of the current Oilers have even gotten their name alongside Wayne Gretzky and Mark Messier with their performances:
– Leon Draisaitl had six assists, one short of the NHL record Gretzky shares with Billy Taylor. (Gretzky had seven assists three times.)
– Dominik Kahun broke Gretzky’s franchise record scoring eight seconds after the start of the contest.
– Connor McDavid had five points (goal, four assists), his second straight night with more than three points. Messier, in 1990, was the last Edmonton player to accomplish this feat, according to the NHL.
More important for today’s squad: The win saw them tie for fourth in the North with the Jets, who have played three games less. He will start his February slate with another home game against the Senators on Tuesday.
Three other takeaways from victory:
The power play finds a spark
Edmonton (5-6-0) came on average with just three goals per game, so eight was more than enough to make people happy. Better yet for the Oilers, half of the eight counts came with the man advantage. The 4-for-5 effort was a big boost for a special teams unit that was in the middle of the field in the league before Sunday at 21.6%.
Draisaitl and coach Dave Tippett were both questioned after the game whether the unit needed to adapt to new pointer Tyson Barrie, a right-handed defenseman who replaced left-handed D-man Oscar Klefbom, out for the season. with a shoulder problem.
“It’s a different look, isn’t it?” Draisaitl said. “We’ve had this power play unit together for so long, for so many years, and you’ve got a new guy coming in, he brings different things to the table, a different player, so sometimes it just takes a little bit. “
“I think Tyse did a great job of adjusting and understanding how we want to play on the power play,” Draisaitl added later. “Yeah, he’s been a big help to us.”
“When you put a right-hander on it, it changed his appearance. It took a while, but Tyson’s game, the last two games, I think, are the best games he’s played,” Tippett said. “He’s starting to go in the right direction, the dynamic player we were hoping for. So he played better, our power play is more and more comfortable and we have found results.”
Porous defense puts the brakes on the night
The five goals against were also reminiscent of the Oilers title teams, and it’s something the 21-year-old will try to clean up before Tuesday.
“Obviously giving up five is not going to cut most nights,” Draisaitl said. “Good start, then we ended up scoring enough to win. But obviously we’re looking to be a lot closer in the next game.”
Welcome to the NHL, Stuart Skinner
Skinner faced defensive breakdowns while making his NHL debut for his hometown team and playing a game for the first time in over 11 months. The 22-year-old Edmonton player made 33 saves on 38 shots. He allowed three goals in the first and two more in the third, but the attack gave him enough breathing space.
“It really helps when you’re five or as many as we were back then,” he said. “Kind of lets you put your feet under your feet and take a few deep breaths and settle down.”
Skinner’s last game before Sunday was March 6, 2020 for the Oilers branch in the AHL in Bakersfield, Calif. The AHL ended its season a few days later amid the coronavirus pandemic.