With four straight losses and still searching for their first win of the season on the road, the Oilers have been trying to look at the positives in their play the last few games. Jordan Eberle commented that getting a win tonight would go a long way to getting a good feeling back in the room.
“It’s definitely been an up-and-down season with the start, then winning the next four then losing the next four," Eberle noted. "It’s been a bit of a roller coaster. I think a win could do everything. It always changes things.”
Keith Aulie, a newcomer to the squad, said he didn't feel that the team was getting down on itself.
“It’s those moments of adversity that you can really see what a team’s made of. I’ve been on teams before where guys hang their heads and get really frustrated. I didn’t see that last night. It’s just a tough moment. You’ve got to learn from those experiences and move on.”
The tendency could be for a team in the Oilers situation (four straight losses) to relax with a team like the Buffalo Sabres (30th in the NHL) coming up, but the team is coming into tonight's game knowing that the Sabres are going to be a tough out.
“They’re not playing their best hockey and I think we need to capitalize on that. And if we play the way we did last night against Boston we’re going to have a lot of chances out there. If we bring the same intensity and will as we did yesterday, we’re going to be fine tonight for sure,” said Benoit Pouliot.
The Sabres are 3-9-1 but have picked up points in each of their last two games and three of their last four, including a win over the Detroit Red Wings in that span.
“We’ve got to play that sense of urgency. We’ve got to expect them to play their best game of the season. Our mindset needs to be to play hard and play a smart game. We need to play with a little more urgency,” Oilers centre Boyd Gordon remarked.
Jordan Eberle stressed that anyone in the NHL can win if you don't come in prepared.
“It’s the NHL. You’ve got to find ways to win hockey games. Any team can beat any team at any time. That’s the best part of this league, every team’s great.
Iiro Pakarinen put up good numbers in seven games with the Oklahoma City Barons this season. He scored eight points, including a team-high five goals.
His efforts helped earn him a call up by the Oilers. They also left a mark on Barons Head Coach Todd Nelson.
“The first thing that comes to mind when you meet him is how mature he is for his age and he’s a consummate professional,” Nelson said. “He’s played in the international scene but coming here we were expecting a bit of an adjustment, but he adjusted fine. He’s a very complete hockey player. When we were looking at him for some of the areas to help him grow there isn’t a lot there, especially at this level. Everybody can get faster, everybody can shoot harder and move the puck better. With him, he plays a skilled game but he also plays an abrasive style where he’s good defensively, he’s good on the walls and he’s a big, strong guy. He has a lot going on for him. If he plays the way I think he can up in Edmonton I don’t think I’ll get him back.”
Pakarinen makes his NHL and Oilers debut tonight in Boston.
The Oilers assigned Luke Gazdic to Oklahoma City for a two-week conditioning stint as he returns from shoulder surgery.
Gazdic scored a goal in his first game with OKC on November 1. His shoulder feels great just two games into his return.
“It’s been good,” Gazdic said. “Last weekend, I got those two games in back-to-back. It felt good, we got a couple of wins here with the guys and I was playing a lot of minutes. I feel great, (the shoulder is) strong, it’s solid. I didn’t have any fights, but I put in a goal and was getting in on the forecheck.”
Gazdic hasn’t had to fight anyone yet to really test out the shoulder, but he knows he might have to answer the bell before his time in OKC is complete.
“There’s a little bit of chirping going on back and forth but that’s just to be expected with the type of game I play. We have another tough team in Toronto coming in on Saturday. I wouldn’t be surprised in the next three games here if something happened but we’ll see. It’s inevitable sometimes with the style of play and the way I approach the game. I play it hard, I play it fast and sometimes the fighting comes to me more than I initiative.”
Will Acton has cleared waivers and is assigned to the Oklahoma City Barons.
Iiro Pakarinen is wearing the number 62.
Ben Scrivens gets the start in goal.
Oiler lines at BOS: Pouliot-RNH-Eberle. Pakarinen-Arco-Perron, Purcell-Draisaitl-Yak. Hendricks-Gordon-Joensuu.— Jack Michaels (@EdmontonJack) November 6, 2014
The Oilers have recalled forward Iiro Pakarinen from the Oklahoma City Barons.
Pakarinen has five goals and eight assists in seven games with a +5 rating in OKC.
To make room on the 23-man roster for Pakarinen, the Oilers assigned Martin Marincin to the Barons.
Oilers recall forward Iiro Pakarinen from Oklahoma City; Assign defenceman Martin Marincin to the Barons.— Edmonton Oilers (@EdmontonOilers) November 6, 2014
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"Marty won't play tomorrow," he said. "Keith's going in. We're looking for some grit, and not just out of Keith. It's got to come from everybody on our team -- but especially our back-end.
"There's going to be some real competition going on for icetime, especially with Oscar coming in and playing the way he did."
Oilers head coach Dallas Eakins talked about the play of Nail Yakupov so far this season and the process to get him to play more of an NHL-style game.
"We talk about it as coaches as muscle memory. His muscle memory reverts back to he got away with that in junior. It's something that we think he's improving on but it's something we're going to have to keep hammering home every day," Eakins began.
"He's gotten away with a certain pace in junior and gotten away with certain plays. We don't want to take those plays away from him because he's very capable of making very conscious and excellent plays on his backhand. He can do it but he's got to realize when the time is to do it and when the time is not."
Specifically, Eakins talked about last night's game and some of Yakupov's struggles.
"There were a couple instances last night where it happened in the neutral zone and even more importantly, in the offensive zone where we've got a great cycle game going and everything's under control and now we're trying to force something in the middle on our backhand."
On the flip side, Yakupov did fire six shots on net tomorrow and the coach was encouraged by that.
"It's always interesting, when you go to a player and you're going to give him a message and he already knows. It started off with Yak, we wanted five shots and he gave us six. I was joking with him this morning, maybe we need him to get nine.
"He's getting some incredible looks. Mason made a couple of big saves. We want Nail to shoot the puck. We play Nail with Leon for a reason. That's a left-handed centreman. And we don't want Nail to be nice. Put the puck on the net, get it to the net. He's a shooter and that's what we want him to do."