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.
- PRACTICE | Rookie Blue
- PRACTICE RAW | Darnell Nurse
- PRACTICE RAW | Brandon Davidson
- PRACTICE RAW | Todd McLellan
The ultimate reward in hockey, or sports for that matter, is a win.
Moral victories only get a team so far, but as the Oilers continue to progress under Todd McLellan in his first season as head coach, it’s all part of the process.
“We, me, I, the players and the coaching staff come to the rink every night wanting to win and that’s the ultimate reward,” said McLellan. “Even some nights when you don’t play a real good game and you win you can take something away from it and you bank some points. That’s the ultimate goal. We haven’t been obtaining that very much lately.”
The Oilers once again came from behind to tie a game late last night, but they fell to the Chicago Blackhawks 4-3 in overtime. Even in a loss, it’s one the players and coaches to see the progress and continue to push.
“We also have to look at some of the things implement systematically and individually as players,” said McLellan. “They have to be rewarded with some of the things they do well on nights we don’t win. It’s called progress. It doesn’t show up in the wins and losses but we are moving forward. We had a good video session today where we picked out a couple things I thought we did a really good job at and we needed to do that against Chicago or they would have created a lot more and spent a lot more time in our zone. They need to be rewarded and recognized for doing things well in those areas. Still many areas we have to improve on to eventually get the wins, but baby steps right now.”
The players see the positives and that’s why the mood in the room remains upbeat.
“I think we’re improving,” said Taylor Hall. “It seems every week we get better and better, but there’s a fine line between winning and losing and we’re experiencing that right now.”
But the Oilers can’t get comfortable with close.
“There’s a bit of a turning point,” said Hall. “We’re at that line right now where it’s ‘are we going to go back or forward?’ and I think we all know what we want to do. The signs are there. We can’t get discouraged. We have to keep doing the things we think we’re doing well. Eventually the wins are going to come if we play well. That’s just the way it works.”
Mentally, Hall says the Oilers, who sit at 6-12-1, are still in a good place mentally despite their record.
“I don’t think we’re too bad,” he said. “I haven’t really looked at the standings and I’m not too concerned with it to be honest. In the past, it would discourage me a lot looking at our record. But this year, not so much. I think that’s a good thing for our group. Saying that, we have to get some wins.”
The Oilers will continue to look for the ultimate reward when they host New Jersey tomorrow night.
The Oilers are on the ice for Thursday practice at Rexall Place.
Andrew Miller also on the ice in dark blue.
After trailing Chicago most of the night, the Oilers ended up clawing their way back to make it a 3-3 finish, sending the game into overtime.
On his second breakaway of the night, Blackhawks forward Marian Hossa ended up clinching the 4-3 overtime win for his teammates.
“On the first breakaway I tried to make room for myself to go blocker side and (Nilsson) got a piece of it,” said Hossa.
“Now my goal was basically to take off a little bit, get a little cushion and I saw a little opening so I tried to clap it and this time I hit it.”
Hossa credits ’Hawks goaltender Corey Crawford for providing his line with renewed energy after robbing Oilers forward Taylor Hall of the chance to secure the win for his team.
“Obviously it was an unbelievable save and that’s why we won the game,” said Hossa.
“It kind of gave a boost to the bench when you’ve got next shift, it gives you an extra boost.”
The Edmonton Oilers announced today, they have activated winger Lauri Korpikoski from Injured Reserve.
Korpikoski, 29, has appeared in 10 games with the Oilers this season, registering three points (2G, 1A) and six penalty minutes.
The Oilers also announced today they have placed winger Luke Gazdic on Injured Reserve.
- Inside the Oilers Blog
- BLOG: Tuesday Updates
- BLOG: Nugent-Hopkins returns from the flu
- BLOG: Purcell hitting his stride
- BLOG: Nilsson starts Wednesday
- PRACTICE | Tuesday at Clareview
- PRACTICE RAW | Ryan Nugent-Hopkins
- PRACTICE RAW | Teddy Purcell
- PRACTICE RAW | Todd McLellan
As the Oilers continue to feel their way out in net and try to get both goaltenders going, they will start Anders Nilsson against the Chicago Blackhawks tomorrow.
Nilsson started two games on this most recent road trip and went 1-1-0 with an overtime win in Anaheim.
“We have confidence in both of them,” said Head Coach Todd McLellan. “We are trying to develop two goaltenders that are figuring their way out and trying to establish themselves as starters in the league. They’ve both proven they can play and play well. To say ‘win and stay in’ or ‘win and you’re in’ isn’t accurate. It will continue to be our job to develop both, get them both confident and get them playing. We’re just going to go one game at a time and Nilsson is playing tomorrow.”
Nilsson is 3-4-0 on the season with a 3.21 goals-against average and .902 save percentage.
Oilers winger Teddy Purcell didn’t like his start to the season and sought to change that. He has a candid discussion with Head Coach Todd McLellan after a handful of games.
“I didn’t like where I was at and he wasn’t pleased, he knew I had more to give,” Purcell said. “He talked about moving my feet and executing. That’s two things that are easily correctable and I’ve been trying to build off that. When I move my feet more, I am more involved in the play, I come up with more pucks and you have the puck more so you feel good about yourself. It can change pretty quick. This game can get nasty at times so you’ve got to keep it simple, keep going, keep trying to build that chemistry.”
Purcell has been playing better hockey in the recent stretch of games. He has points in three of his last four games and goals in two of his last three, including an overtime game-winning goal against Anaheim last Wednesday.
“I’m feeling good. I’m feeling more confident out there and moving my feet. I’m not the fastest guy anyways and I think when I missed 12 days in camp I kind of fell behind a little bit. It took me a little bit to get up to game speed where guys had some more exhibition games. Anytime you get the chance to play with two guys that are feeling it right now, in Leon and Taylor, it’s nice when the coach puts you up there and puts you in different situations. It can change pretty quick so you’ve got to ride the momentum and keep building.”
Purcell has eight points (4-4-8) in 18 games this season.
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins has missed some time with the flu but was back on the ice on Tuesday at Clareview Arena.
“I know a few guys on our team (had it), I think it was getting passed around a little bit, but feeling a lot better now,” said Nugent-Hopkins. “It was good to get out there and actually skate and get my legs going. It was a pretty intense practice. Pretty high pace, so it was good to get back.”
Sometimes coming back from illness it is hard to breathe and get up to speed out there on the ice, but Nugent-Hopkins was able to finish an intense practice.
“It was a high-paced practice but there weren’t too many battle drills or anything like that. It wasn’t too tough on the lungs but just good to get the legs back under me and get the lungs going again a little bit.”