3 Unlikely Heroes From Oilers’ 5-3 Win Over Kraken

The Edmonton Oilers defeated the expansion Seattle Kraken 5-3 at Climate Pledge Arena on Saturday (Dec. 18). It was Edmonton’s second consecutive victory following a six-game losing streak, and their first time winning in Seattle.

There was a lot to be proud of for Edmonton, which snapped its slump by beating the Columbus Blue Jackets 5-2 on Thursday (Dec. 16) and rose to the occasion again against the Kraken, even as the number of Oilers in COVID protocol grows by the day. On Saturday, Jesse Puljujarvi became the latest to join a list that includes Duncan Keith, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, and Ryan McLeod, as well as head coach Dave Tippett.

With Zack Hyman injured and Leon Draisaitl and Connor McDavid struggling to score at their usual prolific rates, the Oilers needed production from elsewhere in their lineup, and that’s exactly what happened in Seattle, where some unlikely heroes propelled them to victory.

Warren Foegele

Foegele scored twice, including the game-winning goal in the third period, and had five shots in 19:45 of ice time, the most he’s played since joining the Oilers via trade with the Carolina Hurricanes during the offseason.

His first goal Saturday came with Edmonton trailing 2-1 and on the power play late in the opening period. Foegele pounced on a rebound and buried it behind Kraken goalie Chris Driedger to pull the Oilers even at 2-2.

Warren Foegele Edmonton Oilers-3 Unlikely Heroes From Oilers' 5-3 Win Over Kraken
Warren Foegele, Edmonton Oilers (Photo by Andy Devlin/NHLI via Getty Images)

The winning goal came midway through the third period with Foegele causing havoc on Driedger’s doorstep in a fashion that might remind some of Oilers’ great, Ryan Smyth. Initially, the goal was waved off because Foegele fell into the goalie just as the puck went in the net. But after a review, the officials ruled Foegele had been pushed into Driedger by a Kraken defender.

After going the previous 20 games without a single goal, Foegele now has three in the last two games. It doesn’t hurt that he’s been moved on to Edmonton’s top line with McDavid but the 6-foot-2 winger is hardly riding the captains’ coattails: With at least four shots in three of his last five games, Foegele has been creating scoring opportunities going to the net and putting pucks on goalies and is now being rewarded for it.

Kailer Yamamoto

The native of Spokane, Washington seemed to have an extra gear playing in his home state on Saturday and provided one of the best individual efforts this season by an Oiler not named McDavid.

During Edmonton’s power-play late in the first, Oilers defenseman, Tyson Barrie coughed the puck up to Brandon Tanev, who took off with nothing but daylight between the Kraken forward and Edmonton goalie Stuart Skinner.

In a remarkable display of determination and athleticism, Yamamoto quickly closed a sizeable gap and caught Tanev just in time to alter Tanev’s shot, allowing Skinner to make the save. The play then turned up ice and Yamamoto rushed back, taking a feed from Draisaitl as he soared across the Kraken blue line and one-timing it on Driedger, who made a difficult save but had no chance on the rebound opportunity by Foegele.

That was one of two shots on the night for Yamamoto, who had gone the previous seven games without once getting the puck on net. It was an all-around solid game for the beleaguered winger, who was on the ice for 20:15, his first time playing more than 20 minutes in 2021-22.

Colton Sceviour

Speaking of solid all-around games, Sceviour delivered the quintessential bottom-six forward performance, with a goal, a fight, 5 shots, 5 hits, and a plus-one rating.

The veteran center, who is in his first season with the Oilers, took a stand when his team needed it after falling behind early Saturday.

In response to being checked from behind into the boards by Jeremy Lauzon, Sceviour dropped the gloves with the 24-year-old Kraken blueliner. While Lauzon got the better of the scrap, Sceviour’s fighting spirit set the tone for Edmonton’s eventual comeback.

Sceviour’s goal, which came in the second period and gave Edmonton its first lead at 3-2, was well earned. He threw a check to help keep the play in the Kraken zone, then smartly went to the side of the net and deposited a neat feed from McDavid on the edge of the blue paint. It was the second goal in three games for Sceviour, who had gone without scoring in his first 17 times in the lineup this season.

Related Link: 6 Reasons Oilers Snapped 6-Game Losing Streak In Win Over Blue Jackets

Depth scoring has emerged as the theme of Edmonton’s back-to-back wins. On Thursday against the Jackets, Brendan Perlini got his first goal of the season and Derek Ryan scored for the first time in two months. Ryan had another strong game Saturday, as did his linemate Tyler Benson, who remains in search of his first goal but is finding other ways to make an impact.

With an unpredictable COVID wave rolling through the NHL, it’s anyone’s guess who will be in the Oilers lineup for their next game. And it’s also anyone guess when that game will be. Presently, the Oilers are scheduled to face the Anaheim Ducks on Monday.

Should that game go ahead, there is one thing that can be said with a degree of certainty: Edmonton will once again need contributions from up and down the lineup to keep this win streak going.

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