INSIDE THE OILERS
POSTED ON Tuesday, 12.8.2015 / 11:18 AM MT
By Chris Wescott - edmontonoilers.com / Inside the Oilers

The Oilers have hit the ice for practice at Rexall Place. Still no Benoit Pouliot or Andrew Ference, who are on IR. Rob Klinkhammer is skating. Brandon Davidson is not on the ice.

Stay tuned for more updates.

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POSTED ON Sunday, 12.6.2015 / 10:38 PM MT
By Chris Wescott - edmontonoilers.com / Inside the Oilers

Anders Nilsson inspires confidence in his teammates, as he should. The Oilers goaltender has started 13 times in the last 15 games. His season numbers continue to get better as he added a 32-save performance in a 4-2 win over the Buffalo Sabres tonight.

“We talk about confidence. From the crease out is the best way and right now we have that,” said Oilers Head Coach Todd McLellan. “He feels good when he’s in there. I can tell you that the 23 guys, even the ones that weren’t dressed tonight, feel good from the crease out. They feel good about him. They believe he’ll make that save when we make mistakes and we’re not going to be perfect. Again tonight, he made some big saves when we needed. We got him some (goal) support and we all get a win, so that’s good for us.”

Nilsson has a .951 save percentage in his last five games. He is also 4-1-0 in that span.

“I’m trying to stay in the present moment all the time and not look back too much and not get ahead of myself. I felt alright today, definitely not my best game,” Nilsson said after the win over Buffalo. “I think I could have had the first one, I definitely want to have that back. It was nice to see after that first goal how the team responded and how we bounced back and scored three unanswered goals right away. It feels good as a goalie when you let in a weak one but then you see your teammates really step up for you and score a few goals. That’s a really nice thing.”

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POSTED ON Sunday, 12.6.2015 / 10:37 PM MT
By Chris Wescott - edmontonoilers.com / Inside the Oilers

Two games removed from scoring a shorthanded goal, the Oilers penalty kill was aggressive again. In Wednesday’s game against Boston they had a few shorthanded rushes, and they had some again tonight against the Buffalo Sabres, including a backhand off the post from Anton Lander.

While the Oilers couldn’t capitalize against the Sabres, their aggression on the penalty kill has been a little bit of a theme in recent games. It’s not a scheme or system thing though, it’s just consistency of the players now that they’re healthier there.

“We haven’t altered anything tactically or technically with the killers,” said Head Coach Todd McLellan. “They just feel more confident. We just started the year really well penalty killing and took a dive for a while, but most of our penalty killers were hurt at that point. Now we’ve got them back and we’re able to roll them out and feel better about that. In turn with our power play now, we’ve lost some key people and we’re giving some others opportunities there and we don’t see real good numbers. But once we get our bodies back, we think we’ll have two good units of special teams.”

The Oilers PK is 14-for-17 in their last five games (82.4%).

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POSTED ON Sunday, 12.6.2015 / 10:33 PM MT
By Chris Wescott - edmontonoilers.com / Inside the Oilers

Following the Oilers 4-2 win over the Buffalo Sabres, their third-straight victory, the club could look at the standings and see they were three points out of a playoff spot.

Exactly one year ago, the Oilers were 15 points out. It shows that this team has a chance to continue to play meaningful games as they progress.

“That’s great. I think it’s really important for us just to stay in the race,” said Taylor Hall. “As we start getting bodies back and as we keep improving as a team, we just want to stay in it and make sure that by the end of the year, there’s some important games in the mix there. You never know what can happen if you stay within four or five points. You get on a roll, you get a hot goalie or a line that really gets going at the end of the year, it can be dangerous.”

The head coach isn’t watching the standings now, however, as it is still early and there’s work to be done.

“I’m not going there,” said Todd McLellan. “The schedule, the standings, the wins, the points, will all shake out when it’s said and done. I want our guys to know we’re slowly improving and we’re evaluating based on progress. We’re not going into the newspaper or stat sheet and pointing anything out as far as that goes. We’d like to keep this homestand going. We’re going to face two very good teams coming up.”

Much of the focus in the Oilers locker room was on the next game, not the playoff race.

“Winning is why we play hockey. It’s fun,” said Jordan Eberle. “It’s nice to be on a bit of a streak here. The way I look at it, as most of us do, is this is one game. We can be happy about our effort and move forward. We’ve got a good team coming in Wednesday. We’ve got to be ready for that. That’s our mindset.”

Regardless of where their focus is, the team has won three straight and has managed points in five of their last six.

“Everyone is excited, excited to go play for each other,” said Darnell Nurse. “We go out there and we’re making plays for each other at big times… It’s a great feeling. With that said, it’s only December. For us, it’s continuing to get better on a daily basis with the way we want to play. It’s definitely very positive when you string together wins like this.”

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POSTED ON Sunday, 12.6.2015 / 10:10 PM MT
By Meg Tilley - edmontonoilers.com / Inside the Oilers

Give them an inch and they’ll skate a mile.

That is the motto the Oilers displayed in their 4-2 triumph over the Buffalo Sabres.

“There were way too many turnovers, that was the reason that we lost that one,” said Sabres centre Ryan O’Reilly.

Photo by Andy Devlin.

“You know, we have to be better, especially on the road…we have to establish that game.”

Though the Sabres took the lead seven minutes into the first, Edmonton made up for lost time less than three minutes later to even the score.

“I think, pretty much for the first 30 minutes of the game Edmonton did a great job of putting every puck behind us, putting a lot of pressure on us with their speed and it forced us in a lot of areas,” said Sabres Head Coach Dan Bylsma.

With an unusually high number of calls made, O’Reilly said the Sabres were unable to gain a rhythm on the ice, even when playing with a man advantage.

“It wasn’t a good night for us on the [power play],” he said.

“I don’t know if we were just lazy or not wanting to put in the work. We have to be out there and use that opportunity to at least just outwork them and we’ll gain our opportunities, but it was frustrating and we have to be better.”

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POSTED ON Sunday, 12.6.2015 / 9:30 PM MT
By Marc Ciampa - edmontonoilers.com / Inside the Oilers

Ryan Hamilton was re-assigned to Bakersfield following tonight's game. He did not suit up for the Oilers tonight against Buffalo.

Hamilton, 30, has appeared in 18 games with the Condors this season, posting eight points (6G, 2A) and eight penalty minutes.

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POSTED ON Saturday, 12.5.2015 / 3:13 PM MT
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POSTED ON Saturday, 12.5.2015 / 2:30 PM MT

The Edmonton Oilers announced today, they have recalled winger Ryan Hamilton on emergency basis from the American Hockey League's (AHL) Bakersfield Condors.

Hamilton, 30, has appeared in 18 games with the Condors this season, posting eight points (6G, 2A) and eight penalty minutes.

The Oshawa, Ontario native has accumulated five points (1G, 4A) and eight penalty minutes in 30 career NHL games. He has also appeared in two playoff games, posting one assist.

The Oilers also announced they have placed winger Benoit Pouliot and defenceman Andrew Ference on Injured Reserve.

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POSTED ON Saturday, 12.5.2015 / 1:36 PM MT
By Chris Wescott - edmontonoilers.com / Inside the Oilers

Brandon Davidson has sat out the last two games due to injury, but the Oilers defenceman was close to returning last night when the Oilers faced the Dallas Stars. However, he took the extra day and is now nearing his return, which is likely tomorrow against Buffalo.

“He should be ready to go tomorrow,” said Oilers Head Coach Todd McLellan. “Coming off the ice today, he was smiling and said it felt even better.”

That skip in his step means Davidson feels he’s ready too.

“Yeah, I’m very excited,” said Davidson. “I think that will be a good game for me to get back in. I’ve missed the last couple because of injury but I’m ready to go on Sunday. It’s nice to come back to a team that has won two (in a row). It’s good.”

Davidson started the year in Edmonton out of camp but had to earn a regular spot in the lineup. Watching from the press box when he’s worked hard to get more games is a tough pill to swallow.

“It’s painful for sure,” said Davidson. “I think watching your team struggle or win is hard either way. If they’re struggling, you want to be there for them and if they’re winning, you want to be a part of it too. It’s tough, but as long as you have the right mindset and luckily enough it was only a minor injury and I can get back into my groove.”

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POSTED ON Saturday, 12.5.2015 / 1:36 PM MT
By Chris Wescott - edmontonoilers.com / Inside the Oilers

Oscar Klefbom and Jordan Eberle were among those absent from practice today but Head Coach Todd McLellan says they should both be good to go tomorrow against Buffalo. Those two are among the several Oilers players nursing bumps and bruises after a rigorous schedule.

“Maintenance days. Expect both of them to play tomorrow,” said McLellan. “We’ve played eight games in 14 nights. There’s a lot of guys who could have used maintenance days. They were a little further along. Hope that they’re feeling real good tomorrow morning when it’s time to report.”

One player who will miss more time is Benoit Pouliot. The Oilers winger has missed the last two games and could go on IR. An official announcement has yet to be made, but the Oilers will likely recall a player from Bakersfield.

“He’s going to be a little bit longer now than originally thought,” said McLellan. “He had a day-to-day window where we thought he could make it through. He won’t play tomorrow and now we’re into a week and he’s potentially an IR-type player.”

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INSIDE THE OILERS BLOG