The Oilers probably played one of their best games of the season against the Nashville Predators on Thursday night. Despite outshooting their opponent 37-25, the Oilers fell in overtime. They played well again against St. Louis that next night, but fell again in overtime.
The Oilers watched two leads disappear in that 4-3 loss to the Blues.The team is hoping to have more consistency with the way they play moving forward.
“We’d like way more consistency,” Head Coach Dallas Eakins said. “I thought we had that game in Nashville. We’ve talked a lot about that game and that’s the game we want to play 5-on-5, with a little more finish. Our power play has to step up in certain games like that. Then going into St. Louis, that’s the challenge in this league to be able to bring that game every night. It’s a difficult thing to do but it’s a necessity. What you run into is you’ve played, you’ve played a hard game the night before, there’s been some guys play some heavy minutes and now you have to do it again against a team that’s been sitting there waiting for you for a few days. You can’t run into the excuse in this league that we’ve played back-to-back and we’re just going to grind out a point. You have to find a way to get both.”
The Oilers were 0-for-4 on the power play against Nashville on Thursday night, in a 1-0 overtime loss to the Predators. They weren’t awarded a power play on Friday night, in a 4-3 overtime loss to the Blues. Overall, Edmonton’s man advantage is 28th in the NHL at 12%.
Head Coach Dallas Eakins says the lack of power play success is just a lack of execution. Despite numerous setups and an increase in shot volume, the team hasn’t been able to convert.
“It’s execution,” Eakins said. “I think we’ve tried every setup possible here now. We’ve had every entry possible. Our shot volume is good, compared to the other teams in the league. Our entries are good, compared to the other teams in the league, but we haven’t had the finish. We have to be willing to be ready for that one chance you might get to put the puck in the net. It comes down to execution. Our shot volume, our ability to enter the zone, the different setups are no different than the other teams in the league. But in the end, that power play always comes down to execution and we’ll continue to try to work on it everyday.”
The Oilers are on the ice at the Royal Glenora Club for practice.
The team has not run line rushes yet, but by sock colour the lines are:
Hendricks (leg) not skating
Jesse Joensuu was placed on waivers on Sunday morning for the purpose of assignment to Oklahoma City.
The Oilers will know by 10:00 a.m. Monday morning (Mountain Time) whether Joensuu has cleared.
Oilers winger David Perron returns to his old stomping grounds on Friday, as he played the first six seasons of his career in St. Louis.
The 26-year-old put up 198 points in 340 games with the Blues before he was dealt to Edmonton in July 2013 in a trade that sent Magnus Paajarvi to St. Louis. Perron played in St. Louis against his old team just once last season, so the nostalgia of being back in the Show Me State still has an effect on him.
"It's only the second time, so yeah it is (special)," he said Friday morning at the team hotel. "Just seeing the baseball stadium driving in yesterday and all those little things, it's pretty fun. I think I'll be a little bit less nervous than I was the first time around. It'd be nice to get two points."
Perron is currently tied for fourth in team scoring this season with two goals and eight assists and said he feels his game has progressed lately, including some chemistry playing with Luke Gazdic and Leon Draisaitl Thursday in Nashville. He's looking to return to his 2013-14 form that saw him tied for the team lead in goals with 28 and set a career high in points with 57.
"I really liked my game yesterday," said Perron, whose off-season training was hampered by a hip injury. "I played with (Gazdic) yesterday and I expected it to be more a simpler night, a more hard-working night, and it paid off for us. It was a real good performance and he almost scored when I hit him in the slot."
Trades are a part of the business of hockey. Players understand that in the media and amongst fans, trade rumours can circulate involving their name.
David Perron has been a subject of such rumours as of late. The Oilers winger brushes it off and tries to stay focused on one day at a time.
"It's just the way it goes,” Perron said. “One more day in the NHL and we keep going. There's always rumours, and obviously it's been more and more the last little while. I'm just trying to stay focused on this team and stay positive."
The Oilers acquired Perron in a trade with St. Louis on July 10, 2013.
Dallas Stars forward Ryan Garbutt was suspended by the NHL for two games on Thursday for his hit on Taylor Hall. From the NHL's press release:
NEW YORK (Nov. 27, 2014) – Dallas Stars forward Ryan Garbutt has been suspended for two games, without pay, for kneeing Edmonton Oilers forward Taylor Hall during NHL Game No. 319 in Dallas on Tuesday, Nov. 25, the National Hockey League’s Department of Player Safety announced today.
The incident occurred at 12:17 of the third period. Garbutt was assessed a minor penalty for tripping.
Garbutt is considered a repeat offender under the terms of the Collective Bargaining Agreement and, based on his average annual salary, will forfeit $43,902.44. The money goes to the Players’ Emergency Assistance Fund.
Dallas forward Ryan Garbutt has been suspended 2 games for kneeing Edmonton forward Taylor Hall.— NHL Player Safety (@NHLPlayerSafety) November 27, 2014
It appears both Justin Schultz and Martin Marincin will be healthy scratches. Jesse Joensuu draws in with Luke Gazdic coming out.
"Justin has struggled a little bit as of late, and we felt it was best to hit the reset button." - Coach Eakins on Schultz sitting tonight— Edmonton Oilers (@EdmontonOilers) November 27, 2014
The Oilers did not get the win they desperately needed to open their road trip on Tuesday night in Dallas, losing 3-2 to the Stars, but Taylor Hall did reach a milestone in the game, scoring his 100th career goal.
With Edmonton trailing 3-1 early in the third period, Jordan Eberle found Hall with a brilliant no-look pass from behind the Dallas net, and #4 made no mistake, beating Kari Lehtonen far side to close the team within a goal. The 23-year-old hit the century mark in his 262nd career game, to go along with 138 assists.
"I'm very proud of Taylor Hall," Head Coach Dallas Eakins said post-game. "He's growing, he's turning into a leader right in front of us. You could argue that he's the best left-winger in the game."
Hall is the third player from the 2010 NHL Draft to join the 100-goal club, as Tyler Seguin (110) and Jeff Skinner (102) have also hit the milestone. The Oilers star only took 262 games to reach 100 goals, however, while Seguin is at 305 and Skinner has played 275. Hall's 238 points are tops in the draft class.