Goalie Viktor Fasth has had a rough season. Following a solid season with the Anaheim Ducks, Fasth suffered an injury that would allow him to play just five games this season with that club. Then, following a trade to Edmonton, he would hurt his neck in practice and miss some time with his new team.
Fasth is just looking to put this season behind him by finishing it up strong and moving on to next year.
“After every season, you want to end with a good feeling and you’re looking forward to next season with some good memories,” Fasth said. “I mean, the start of the season or most of the season has been a struggle for me with injuries and of course you want to end on a high note here.”
Fasth has played in five games for the Oilers since being acquired via trade and has a 2-1-1 record with a 2.83 goals against average and .896 save percentage. He gets the start tonight against his former team.
22-year-old forward Tyler Pitlick has been banged up this season. Twice injuries have cut his time in the NHL shorter than he’d like. Now recovered from his latest knee injury, Pitlick could play tonight against Anaheim.
This season has been a challenge for Pitlick who earned his first NHL call up early in the year but has played in just eight games due to those setbacks.
“It’s tough,” he said. “I want to be at the best of my ability so I can play my best and show them what I got but I’m just glad it was a minor thing this time and not something that’s going to put me out a while. I guess there’s a bright side to it I guess.”
With four games left in the season, the young prospect wants to show the organization everything he’s got and he knows this last week is a big one.
“They’re huge. I’ve got to give it everything I have, show them what I got and it’s going to lead up to next year. I’ve got to have a few good games.”
The Edmonton Oilers American Hockey League affiliate, the Oklahoma City Barons, earned a huge 5-4 shootout win over the Hamilton Bulldogs on Wednesday night.
The victory gives them 73 points on the season, putting them two back of the 7th (Rockford) and 8th seed in the Western Conference (Charlotte).
The Barons continue their playoff push with two critical games against the Charlotte Checkers on Saturday and Sunday at home in OKC.
The win was also marked by pro debuts for two Oilers prospects; Jujhar Khaira and Greg Chase. Khaira, a third round pick (63rd overall) by the Oilers in 2012, finished the game -2 with two shots on goal.
Chase scored his first professional goal, the game-tying tally at 15:35 of the third period. Chase was selected 188th overall (7th round) of the 2013 NHL Entry Draft. He finished the game +2 with three shots on goal.
The Barons have seven games left in the regular season.
The Oklahoma City Barons announced today that they have signed Mitch Holmberg to an AHL Standard Player Contract for the 2014-15 season. The news came after the team signed the winger to an Amateur Try Out (ATO).
In addition to signing Mitch Holmberg to an ATO, the #OKCBarons have signed him to an AHL SPC for 2014-15.— Oklahoma City Barons (@okcbarons) April 2, 2014
5-foot-10, 175 pound Holmberg has played for the Spokane Chiefs since 2009. This season, he had 118 points (62-56-118) in 72 games for the WHL team.
Holmberg, 21, will report to the Barons to help them in their pursuit of the AHL playoffs.
The Edmonton Oilers held an optional skate on Saturday morning in which many faces were absent. Head Coach Dallas Eakins says the team is trying to give their players, who are banged up, some rest.
“Exactly and mostly guys banged up where we just thought it was better to keep most of the guys off the ice, put a few guys on and go from there,” Eakins said. “We’ve got a ton of guys right now that are banged up and some guys that have been playing big minutes and we’ve got to do our best to get them ready for the games.”
“Pitlick took a shot through his pads, on the knee. There’s nothing in the x-ray so we’re fairly confident he should be able to suck it up and play and Jones is out for the season. He’s got a torn PCL, which I don’t know much about but it’s in his knee.”
Fasth skated this morning and appears to be nearing a return from his sprained neck.
“Viktor is progressing and that’s good news. But there’s never a timeline on that other than he came off the ice yesterday and was good, today he’s had another good day so that all looks very well going forward.”
Nail Yakupov (ankle) also skated and, although it’s a good sign, he needs some more time to heal.
“He’s been out just over a week so he’s going to need some practices for sure but I know he still has some discomfort in there.”
The Oilers do not plan on recalling anyone from Oklahoma City, according to Eakins, and will dress defenceman Philip Larsen in Jones’ place.
#Oilers Fasth (neck) is on the ice this morning.— Chris Wescott (@TheChrisWescott) March 29, 2014
Optional skate for #Oilers this morning. Only the three goalies, Belov, Klefbom, Fraser, Yakupov, Gazdic & Larsen on the ice.— Chris Wescott (@TheChrisWescott) March 29, 2014
Oilers 20-year-old rookie defenceman Oscar Klefbom had a good day. He moved up the depth chart to be paired with Justin Schultz, the Oilers beat the Anaheim Ducks and he scored his first National Hockey League goal.
It was a lot for the rookie to process and he says that he can’t really remember the goal when it happened.
“It’s a lot of emotions right now,” Klefbom said. “I don’t remember the goal even, it’s just like a blackout. It will take a little bit of time to sink in of course but it was very fun to do it tonight when we won a game like this too. It feels amazing.”
Klefbom played 16:40 tonight and finished the game with two shots on goal.
Oilers Head Coach Dallas Eakins had nothing but good things to say about his goaltender tonight as Ben Scrivens made 48 saves on 51 shots, leading his team to a 4-3 overtime win.
What made Scrivens’ performance even better for Eakins was how, even though he allowed a goal just 35 seconds into the game, the goalie battled through ice that seemed off and posted a great performance.
“The ice tonight seemed to be off a little bit, at least from my vantage point,” Eakins said. “The way both of the teams were moving the puck, that puck was bouncing all over the place tonight for some reason and I thought that was part of it back there for Ben. I’ve just seen Ben do it so many times. I’ve got a great history with this young man and that’ s Ben. If it’s not great right off the bat, he finds a way to battle through it and settle in. Again, I loved his leadership with our bench on the timeouts, always talking. Massive reason why we’re able to grab those points.”
Rookie defenceman Oscar Klefbom scored his first National Hockey League goal tonight and he continues to get better and show more confidence on the ice, just nine games in to his NHL career.
“I think that’s exactly what it is,” Head Coach Dallas Eakins said. “You hit it right on the head perfectly. He’s settling in to his own skin and he’s getting to know the guys. Once you play against those big players, again tonight he’s out there against the two big boys so now the next game, it’s oh hey who do they have? Well, I already played against Getzlaf and Perry. It turns into a little bit of a numbing effect for him. I like how he settled in. He’s learning lots in the short amount of games we have left.”