INSIDE THE OILERS
POSTED ON Wednesday, 01.6.2016 / 11:19 AM MT
By Meg Tilley - edmontonoilers.com / Inside the Oilers

The Oilers hit the ice for practice this morning with Pakarinen-McDavid-Yakupov participating, creating a line of injured players.

Matt Hendricks is absent and still no Oscar Klefbom or Andrew Ference.

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POSTED ON Tuesday, 01.5.2016 / 11:12 AM MT
By Chris Wescott - edmontonoilers.com / Inside the Oilers

The lone Oilers prospect participating in the 2016 IIHF World Junior Championship is 2014 fourth-round pick William Lagesson. The defenceman plays for Sweden, and we will have updates on his performance as the tournament unfolds.

USA 8, SWEDEN 3



It was a bitter-sweet ending to William Lagesson’s World Junior Championship run. The Oilers defensive prospect scored to pull Sweden to within one of the U.S. in the first period of the bronze medal game. However, the U.S. rallied and scored six unanswered goals before eventually downing Sweden 8-3.

Lagesson drove the net and buried a rebound at 17:39 of the first, to cut the Americans’ lead to 2-1.

Sweden tied the game less than a minute later with a goal from Carl Grundstrom.

Unfortunately for the Swedes, that would be the end of their celebrations for the game. The United States potted six straight to take an 8-2 lead.

Axel Holmstrom scored Sweden’s lone response and the Americans coasted to a bronze medal finish to the tournament.

Lagesson was among the +/- leaders for the tournament. He went +7 in seven games. He finished this year’s tournament with two goals and an assist, as well as four penalty minutes and eight shots on goal.

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POSTED ON Monday, 01.4.2016 / 10:58 PM MT
By Meg Tilley - edmontonoilers.com / Inside the Oilers

“Well [it was] a tight game…there wasn’t a lot of chances either way,” said Carolina Hurricanes Head Coach Bill Peters.

A scoreless game that saw both the Oilers and Hurricanes battling to get on the scoreboard, Edmonton became the eventual victor, coming away with a 1-0 overtime win over the Hurricanes.

“[Edmonton] got some chances in transition when we turned it over. I thought we had a hard time making plays as the game went along. I thought we started on time but from that point on I thought we struggled with execution,” said Peters.

Cam Talbot stopped 29 shots, four of which came from Hurricanes rookie Noah Hanifin, who fired two shots on net during regulation and two more in the overtime period.

“He’s got a chance to be a star — simple as that,” said Peters.

“He ended up with two shots in overtime, very impressive young man, very mature young man — no different from Jaccob Slavin, no different than Brett Pesce. The more we give him, the better they are so we’ll continue to build around those guys.”

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POSTED ON Monday, 01.4.2016 / 10:51 PM MT
By Chris Wescott - edmontonoilers.com / Inside the Oilers

The Oilers improved to 9-3 on the season in games that have gone beyond regulation, with their 1-0 overtime win over Carolina on Monday.

Edmonton seems to have a knack for 3-on-3 overtime, and they have the skill to score in the shootout as well. Head Coach Todd McLellan touched specifically on their overtime successes after the game against Carolina.

“We do have some skill,” said McLellan. “We have some guys with the ability, when they’re given space, to really hold onto the puck. They’re creative. Once you take a couple players off the ice, I don’t think size and strength is nearly as important as finesse and sense and spatial awareness and hand skills, and some of our players that have that talent really shine in those situations.”

Andrej Sekera scored Monday’s game-winning goal. The defenceman has either scored or assisted on the goal in four of the Oilers six overtime wins this season.

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POSTED ON Monday, 01.4.2016 / 10:50 PM MT
By Chris Wescott - edmontonoilers.com / Inside the Oilers

The Oilers signed Andrej Sekera to a multi-year contract in free agency this off-season and the defenceman is showing why he can be an integral part of the club’s blueline.

“He is really starting to perform the way we thought he would,” said Oilers Head Coach Todd McLellan. “Takes a little while to adjust to two things. One, from going from East to West, a new team. Sometimes when a free agent joins a new club he’s joining a mature coaching staff and a mature team and he just slides in. He had to learn, like the rest of us, how to act around each other and how to behave and how we’re going to play. It takes a little while, but he’s been very good.”

Sekera, 29, is also becoming a veteran leader for the Oilers young, back-end group.

“A real important one,” said McLellan. “Providing leadership and stability there. He’s a very competitive guy. He wears his heart on his sleeve so it’s good for players to see that, but he can also calm things down and make smart plays. He shows it both ways. It’s nice to have that in a leader.”

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POSTED ON Monday, 01.4.2016 / 10:40 AM MT
By Meg Tilley - edmontonoilers.com / Inside the Oilers

The lone Oilers prospect participating in the 2016 IIHF World Junior Championship is 2014 fourth-round pick William Lagesson. The defenceman plays for Sweden, and we will have updates on his performance as the tournament unfolds.

FINLAND 2, SWEDEN 1



It was penalty trouble that led to Sweden’s eventual 2-1 loss to Finland.

It was the first time Oilers defensive prospect William Lagesson and Sweden found themselves trailing in the tournament.

Though the Swedes took a 1-0 lead midway through the first period on a goal from forward Rasmus Asplund, it was a Swedish defensive mix-up behind the net in the second period that led to the Finns 1-1 equalizer.

Two minutes later, Sweden found themselves in penalty trouble that edged the Finns in front with a 2-1 lead on power play goal from Finland’s forward Antti Kalapudas.

The third period saw no scoring, with Finland outshooting Sweden 7-3.

Lagesson and Team Sweden will play for a bronze medal on Tuesday at 7 a.m. (MT) and will play the loser of Russia vs. USA.

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POSTED ON Saturday, 01.2.2016 / 6:24 PM MT
By Meg Tilley - edmontonoilers.com / Inside the Oilers

It was a howler of an afternoon game between the Oilers and Coyotes — the first game into the New Year — that saw both teams vying for the victory.

Edmonton came out on top, securing a 4-3 shootout win.

Though the Coyotes have been struggling with absent players due to injuries they’ve sustained, with goaltender Mike Smith being on of them, out with a core muscle injury, Arizona’s Louis Domingue stepped up.

“He was outstanding tonight,” said teammate and Coyotes forward Max Domi.

“He made some huge saves and kept us in the game. Unfortunately, we couldn’t pull it out there in the shootout for him.”

Arizona kept pace with the Oilers, matching them shot-for-shot. By the end of the second period each team had 22 shots on goal.

Regardless of the loss, Domingue is appreciative of the fact he was able to help his team gain the point.

“Every point matters — it was huge to get one tonight,” he said.

“Of course we didn’t get the result that we wanted in the shoot out but it’s still a point and we’re going to take every point we can get, especially on the road like that.”

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POSTED ON Saturday, 01.2.2016 / 6:18 PM MT
By Chris Wescott - edmontonoilers.com / Inside the Oilers

Benoit Pouliot missed eight games due to injury in early December. Now with him back in the lineup, it’s time to get him going. There have been signs that he’s getting closer to where the Oilers want him to be. He had three goals in two games on December 27 and 29.

Against Arizona on Saturday, Pouliot had five shots on goal and chipped in two points. However, it wasn’t all smiles for Pouliot in that game. A pair of penalties in the first period had Todd McLellan considering scaling back Pouliot’s ice time.

In the end, he sided with continuing to push the big winger out there in hopes he’d turn the afternoon around for himself, which he inevitably did.

“I’m trying to get Benny going,” said McLellan. “I think Benny is a tremendous player. I think he’s really important to our team. I talked to him yesterday and some of the things we talked about, he used tonight. Other than the penalties, I thought he was dangerous. He stripped pucks, he got in on the forecheck, he won body-position battles, he was really engaged, which was good to see. He was engaged on the bench. It was a catch-22. Do I strangle him and take that away or do I try and keep promoting his play and try to get him back in? I went the other way and maybe, hopefully, it was the right thing.”

Pouliot has 17 points (8-9-17) in 31 games this season.

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POSTED ON Saturday, 01.2.2016 / 6:18 PM MT
By Chris Wescott - edmontonoilers.com / Inside the Oilers

No NHL team can rely on one line to always provide the offence, which is why it is imperative the Oilers get the line of Benoit Pouliot, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Jordan Eberle playing with the consistency they’ve shown they can achieve, particularly last season.

“Obviously, we’re working as a team here,” said Nugent-Hopkins. “We need contributions from everybody, from D to forwards. Our line definitely needs to keep producing. Since the break here, we’ve done a little bit better job of it.”

That line combined for five points against the Arizona Coyotes on Saturday. They scored one of the Oilers two goals on December 29 against the Los Angeles Kings, and combined for six points against the Calgary Flames on December 27.

“It’s much better now, that’s for sure,” said Pouliot. “We’re trying to get back to what we were doing last year together. We’re finding each other a little bit more. We’re talking more too, which is nice. In the offensive zone, we know where we’re going.”

Oilers Head Coach Todd McLellan was happy with that line’s performance against Arizona. Eberle scored twice, while Pouliot finished the game with two assists and Nugent-Hopkins had one helper, as well as a shootout goal.

“I felt confident with that line,” said McLellan.

“Just that group alone, I thought was our most effective group throughout the night.”

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POSTED ON Saturday, 01.2.2016 / 6:17 PM MT
By Chris Wescott - edmontonoilers.com / Inside the Oilers

Todd McLellan was bullish when he talked about the performance Ryan Nugent-Hopkins had against Arizona on Saturday.

“He wanted the puck tonight. He wanted it on his tape, he was ready to shoot it, guys were getting it back for him. That’s good for those three and that’s good for our team,” said the head coach.

The centre finished the game with an assist and three shots on goal in 21:30 of ice time, adding a shootout tally at the end of the game to win it. He also came close to ending it in OT with a speedy rush down the right wing.

“I thought Nuge had a really good game,” said McLellan. “I don’t know what anybody else thought. But standing back there, I kept wanting to put him on the ice. He battled, he stripped pucks, he created a great opportunity for (Jordan Eberle) on the (game-tying goal) and I felt confident with him.”

Nugent-Hopkins has four assists in his last four games.

“There’s been games where I could have had a few but didn’t get the bounces and a few where it’s kind of gone the other way too,” said Nugent-Hopkins. “You’ve just got to try to stay positive.”

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INSIDE THE OILERS BLOG