Viktor Fasth made 28 saves in the Edmonton Oilers 5-1 win over Nashville on Tuesday night. The Oilers have been getting quite the goaltending performances from Fasth and Scrivens and it’s leading to wins.
Oilers Head Coach Dallas Eakins said after the win that the goaltending competition has been great for the team.
“Yeah, it’s perfect,” Eakins said. “The great thing is I think they’ve become friends right away and they’re helping and supporting each other, which is so important and there’s competition going on at the same time. The better that the one plays, the other one is going to play better and they just need to keep pulling each other right to the top… Our goaltending has just been fabulous.”
Moving forward, the Oilers are likely to rotate the goalies each game.
“I think right now, with the way they’re playing, they’re in a rhythm of just kind of playing, switching them back and forth,” Eakins said. “The only thing we’ll look at a little bit is I’m sure Viktor wants to play against his old team and we’ve got them a few times and Ben as well. We’ll look at that to see if we can tweak it but right now, I’m fine just flipping them back and forth and our schedule kind of lines up where we’re okay to do it.”
Oilers Head Coach Dallas Eakins said both are likely day-to-day.
“Yak’s ankle is a problem and this morning it was a big problem but he went out there for warm up and he tried it again,” Eakins said. “He’s trying to stay in the lineup and we’ve been pushing guys like, hey you’re banged up a little bit you’ve got to try to get in there and play and he did that. I respect him for that but it just wasn’t there. He’s kind of day-to-day too and those ankles, you never know what’s going on with them.”
Hendricks’ injury was due to a blocked shot.
“When you block that shot, it always hurts,” Eakins said. “I don’t care how much padding you have. A great sacrifice by him and he hung in there as long as he could and then he just got to a point where that leg wasn’t moving very well anymore so he had to call it a night.”
The team is likely to make some call ups from Oklahoma City shortly.
“(General Manager) Craig (MacTavish) wasn’t here tonight so I’ve got to get on the phone with him and see what he wants to do but we could need as many as two forwards.”
The Edmonton Oilers are expecting big things in the future from the 19th overall pick in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft. Oscar Klefbom will make his home debut tonight at Rexall Place, but the 20-year-old defenceman already has four games under his belt after beginning his NHL career on the road.
“It’s been pretty good,” Klefbom says. “The first game, I was a little bit nervous but the second game and third game, it was very fun to play. I was relaxed and it feels like I’m ready for the NHL right now. I have a lot of confidence on the ice so there’s nothing to worry about.”
Oilers Head Coach Dallas Eakins says the team likes the way Klefbom has played so far and there are building blocks there for the future.
“He’s been steady,” Eakins said. “Like any guy getting his feet wet, I thought he was nervous and a little anxious in his first game but since then, he’s settled down. We threw another loop at him to see how he would do, putting him over on the right side. The way that we’re checking in the neutral zone, playing the right side on our team comes with great responsibility because you’ve got to retrieve that puck almost every time when it comes into our zone. I thought he adjusted well there and he’s off to a good start early in his career.”
Klefbom has all of the things the Oilers are looking for in a defenceman and it’s just going to take some more coaching and acclimation to the league for the young player to continue to develop.
“All of the tools are there,”Eakins said. “They just have to be refined and then just the level of competition every night, for the 82 games, it’s relentless in this league. Especially for a defenceman. I think they’ve got, next to the goaltenders, they’ve got the toughest jobs in the league with the amount of size and the skill combined with these forwards. He’s had a good start, he’s been steady, that’s what we wanted and we’ll see how he progresses.”
Oilers Head Coach Dallas Eakins provided an update on forward Jesse Joensuu’s injury after the morning skate today. The prognosis for Joensuu is not good as he may miss the rest of the season.
“I think Jesse, it’s probably going to be a minimum four weeks,” Eakins said. “He’s got one of those dreaded high-ankle sprains. I think they’re one of the worst injuries in hockey. They’re extremely delicate. It’s a tough one on Jesse because I thought over the last month, as he had some difficult times early in the year with some injuries, I really liked how he was fitting in on that line. I thought that line was getting some chemistry and Jesse was really using his body well. I thought he’d make some great strides with his game and so I feel for him because I know he was feeling good about his game. Him trying to get a puck out of our zone with no stick, a desperate play cost him possibly the rest of his season. I am encouraged that at least he finished on a good note with his play.”
The Edmonton Oilers have struggled on the power play, particularly on the road where they are converting only 10.3% of their opportunities. Justin Schultz ended both a personal and a team drought on Sunday with his power play goal at 9:01 of the third period against Carolina.
“Our power play has been struggling,” Schultz said. “It wasn’t that good in that game, at the beginning of the game either. We still have some work to do but hopefully that goal will get us going a little bit.”
Schultz became the first defenceman to score on the power play for the Oilers this season and scored his first goal since February 3.
“It was really nice,” Schultz said. “I haven’t scored for a while and to get one, a big one like that, sure gives me confidence.”
Schultz says it’s the finer details on the power play that need to be shored up and it’s those that have contributed to the defencemen not putting the puck in the back of the net.
“Not getting set ups, not shooting, it’s a bit of everything. It’s funny, I was talking to the guys saying I haven’t scored a power play goal this year and I was lucky enough to get one. Hopefully that starts changing.”
"That doesn’t show up on the stat sheet, other than Nail got himself a two minute penalty. We’ve got Hendy in there, actually quite handling himself quite nicely against two guys and then Nail’s the first one in. Then the rest of the guys are in," Eakins began.
"At the start of the year we had scrum where there were two guys in there pushing and shoving and there was nobody else coming. That’s what I’m talking about, this team coming together. They care about each other. They’re working hard with each other on the ice. The guys are in. That’s a huge thing for me for Yak and I’m proud that he was the first one in there."
Oilers head coach Dallas Eakins was asked after the game about what Matt Hendricks has added to the team with his play since joining the squad in mid-January.
“Hendy’s quietly become the heart beat of our team. He’s come in and led very well and as everybody can see, he lays it on the line every night. This guy is not afraid to sacrifice his body. He is 100% a team player and he’s rubbing off on our group,” Eakins began.
The head coach added that having what Hendricks has contributed to the squad on a nightly basis has been huge for the team’s recent resurgence.
“You can look at all the stats you want, but you have to have players like that on your team. They’re quietly off the stat sheets but they’re very loud in the game. They do a lot of the dirty work but a lot of their dirty work helps the team, inspires the team and it rubs off on the team. And that’s critical to us taking the next step.”
Hendricks talked about the team’s 2-1-1 road trip.
“I think it was a good road trip. We battled back in Minnesota to get two points there. We played 40 good minutes of hockey against a very good St. Louis team and then against Detroit we played the type of road hockey we have to play to win in this league. If you take out the 20 minutes in St. Louis it was a great trip. It shows we’re still trying to complete our game and be a more well-rounded group.”
Oilers head coach Dallas Eakins spoke to the media several hours before puck drop on Sunday in Raleigh, North Carolina. Eakins said that Sam Gagner will likely play today but he won't 100% commit to it until the Edmonton centre takes pre-game warm-up.
Gagner is encouraged how he feels today. He's going to try in warm up and see how it feels," said Eakins.
If Gagner plays, the question then goes to who sits. Eakins said that Mark Fraser is also healthy and ready to go.
"Fraser is going to play for sure," he said, adding that the odd man out will be Philip Larsen.