The Oilers were determined to have a better outing against the Capitals last night than they did a month ago in Edmonton. They did just that, limiting the Caps to just one goal when they scored seven in a 7-4 win on October 23.
Unfortunately for the Oilers, they couldn’t score a goal themselves and were shutout by goaltender Braden Holtby’s 33 saves.
The good news for Edmonton, is their game against Washington showed improvements on the defensive side of things.
“I thought we played a great defensive game,” said goaltender Anders Nilsson, who made 29 saves. “The guys helped me out a lot. We had a great penalty kill last night. Washington has a great power play but we were able to shut them down there. They didn’t have that many grade-a scoring chances. Of course they had a few, because they have a lot of good players, but we didn’t see a lot of backdoor plays. The guys took away that. I think our defensive game last night was great and hopefully we can keep that up.”
“I definitely think it’s getting better,” Ryan Nugent-Hopkins said of the team’s defensive game. “I think once we can do it consistently, then I think we’ll be a lot more successful. We show it for a lot of periods and a lot of games but it’s just about doing it consistently right from the get-go. That’s when we’ll start finding wins.”
With a few younger blueliners, growth takes time. However, progress is visible.
“I see them improving,” said Oilers Head Coach Todd McLellan. “Last night in Washington was a prime example. We couldn’t handle their skill level and their speed a month ago. Their movement, their motion in the o-zone, their power play. Specifically talking about our d-group, we did a real admirable job last night.
“We’re not perfect, but nor is any team in the league I see growth in young players. I see old dogs learning new tricks, which is a good thing for some of our veteran players as well. I think guys understand the parameters of what’s acceptable and not acceptable now, where at the beginning of the year they were trying to figure us out. all of those are positives. With that being said, we haven’t won enough games so we have to take it a step further.”
Justin Schultz is close to returning from his back injury, but it won’t be tomorrow in North Carolina.
The Oilers defenceman practiced fully with the team on Tuesday at PNC Arena but confirmed he wouldn’t be ready for game action right away. However, he is shooting for later in this road trip. The Oilers have stops in Detroit, Pittsburgh and Toronto this week.
“Doing contact. Today was the first time I really did any of that and felt pretty good,” said Schultz. “As long as I feel good tomorrow and keep improving, I’ll be ready to go soon.”
The Oilers are encouraged by the progress Schultz has made as he recovers from a bulging disc in his back.
“Today was a bit more of a practice than a pre-game skate and that’s a good sign for him to be involved in that,” said Oilers Head Coach Todd McLellan. “I haven’t got a post-practice report on him but the fraction I saw, he looked OK. Is he ready to play tomorrow? No, but we’re still hoping on this trip we can activate him and get him involved. Part of it is going to be the confidence that he has in his own body to play and play hard and to execute the way he would any other game.”
The Oilers are on the ice for practice at PNC Arena in Raleigh, NC.
No Hendricks today at practice in Raleigh.— Jack Michaels (@EdmontonJack) November 24, 2015
Klefbom not on the ice, either.— Jack Michaels (@EdmontonJack) November 24, 2015
- BLOG: Oilers channel Eskimos
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- THE PANEL | Presented by Sport Chek
- PRACTICE | Saturday at Rexall Place
- PRACTICE | Taylor Hall
- PRACTICE | Justin Schultz
- PRACTICE | Darnell Nurse
- PRACTICE | Teddy Purcell
- PRACTICE | Todd McLellan
|The Oilers show the Edmonton Eskimos some love by donning the green and gold jersey. Photo by Ryan Hrycun.|
Showing their support, the Oilers donned new colours at practice today, replacing the familiar blue, orange and white jerseys for the Edmonton Eskimos green and gold.
“They’re a huge part of the community here in Edmonton,” said Taylor Hall.
“You feel, when they’re playing, the whole city is kind of focused on them. I lived in Calgary for a long time, went to a lot of Stampeders games but I’ll certainly be cheering for the Eskimos. I fell obliged as an Edmontonian now.”
As the Battle of Alberta changes playing fields, the Edmonton Eskimos gear up to take on the Calgary Stampeders in the Western Final.
“Any time you’re within the same community I think it’s nice to show the other team support, especially when they’re going into a game in the magnitude that it is,” said Mark Letestu.
“The West Final hasn’t been here in a while so it’s a big game and we’re definitely behind them.”
With a 14-4-0 record, the Eskimos snagged first place in the Western Division and are looking to move on to the Grey Cup Final in Winnipeg.
“I always try to watch the Grey Cup, I think it’s something that’s kind of uniquely Canadian,” said Letestu.
“To be able to celebrate who we are and where we’re from, regardless of the teams that are in it. The fact that the Eskimos are in it adds little more of a vested interest for the city and for myself.”
Justin Schultz is rotating in.
The team will wear Edmonton Eskimos jerseys after practice for a team photo to support them in their quest for the Grey Cup.
The Edmonton Oilers announced today, they have assigned forward Andrew Miller to the American Hockey League's (AHL) Bakersfield Condors.
Miller, 27, has posted six points (2G, 4A) and six penalty minutes in eight games with the Condors.
The Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, native has appeared in six games with the Oilers this season.
“We didn’t play to our capabilities and the result was what it was,” said Devils Coach John Hynes.
A simple observation, Hynes said it appeared the team just couldn’t find the rhythm they were working hard to achieve.
“I don’t necessarily know if it was flow, we just didn’t really play well enough in any facet of the game to really be able to find a way to win, whether that was penalty discipline or five on five,” he said.
Losing 5-1 to the Oilers tonight and 3-2 to the Calgary Flames on Thursday, the Devils haven’t lost back-to-back games since the beginning of the season.
“I think you have to give some credit to Edmonton, I think they played real well, they got off to a good start and I thought they played solid even when they had the lead they did a good job,” said Hynes.
“On the flip side we didn’t have one of our better games or efforts I should say, but a lot of that is attributed to Edmonton also.”
The New Jersey Devils have arrived and according to Devils forward Mike Cammalleri, they’re ready to bring a fast-pace game to Rexall Place.
“We like to play a game that is a hard working game and up tempo game, a game where we’re pushing the puck and hanging onto it and doing a lot of good things,” he said.
“It’s a style that hopefully is hard for other teams to play against and one that we can enjoy playing.”
With the Devils ready to hit the ice, Cammalleri said he the team will have to be ready from the get-go to face the Oilers tenacity.
“They’re a team that has a lot of speed and a lot of skill and we’re going to have to be really sound in our structure to play a game that we want to play against them,” he said.
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