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In this edition of NHL Talk, the Edmonton Oilers’ newest addition scores in his team debut, and the Philadelphia Flyers get a huge win to end a franchise record-breaking skid.
Kane Makes Good First Impression, Scores Game-Opening Goal in Oilers Debut
Evander Kane scored his first goal in an Oilers uniform just 11:21 into the first period of a 7-2 victory over the Montreal Canadiens on Saturday. Edmonton signed the 30-year-old forward to a one-year deal on Thursday and placed him on the team’s top line with Connor McDavid and Kailer Yamamoto in his season debut.
“When you get on the ice, you kind of put everything else to bed, and hopefully that continues,” said Kane. “It was great to get back out there.”
He brings of wealth of NHL experience to the Oilers, with 506 points (264 goals, 242 assists) in 769 career regular-season games and 13 points (six goals, seven assists) in 29 playoff matches. After the San Jose Sharks terminated him earlier this month for a breach of his contract and violation of COVID protocols, he wanted to make a good first impression on his new organization.
“It’s nice to contribute on a new team coming in,” said Kane. “And you want to show what you can do, and obviously it was great to get the boys on the board early, and everybody kind of took off after that.”
Kane’s teammates noticed the positive effects of having him in the lineup on Saturday. He completes a promising set of forward lines for the Oilers, who are looking to make a push for the postseason. Edmonton extends its win streak to four games, which comes directly after ending a seven-game winless skid.
“I think you were able to see how spread out the lines were today and how we were able to get contributions from all four lines,” said Oilers forward Zach Hyman. “I think that when you’re able to roll four lines, it wears on teams and you’re able to be fresh. And it’s not fun to play against when you have a new set of guys who are just dangerous going out every shift. So, [Kane] adds to that for sure.”
Flyers Put an End to 13-Game Losing Skid, Look to Build from Latest Win
The Flyers defeated the Los Angeles Kings, 3-2 in overtime, at home on Saturday. The game marked Philadelphia’s first win since Dec. 29, 2021. In the span between its last two wins, the Flyers carried an abysmal 0-10-3 record, the longest winless skid in franchise history. Despite allowing the Kings to score with 38 seconds left in Saturday’s game, the Flyers seized the opportunity and secured victory in extra time.
“It’s been a long time coming,” said Flyers forward Cam Atkinson. “I hate losing. We all hate losing. It’s one of those things where I didn’t want to lose this one. They scored one late there, but we found a way to stick with it and ultimately get the job done.”
There were definitely some nervous Flyers fans out there when Kings scored its late game-tying goal, but Philadelphia made sure to rectify things with a dominant display in overtime. Scott Laughton potted the game-winning goal at 2:22 of overtime to seal the Flyers’ first win of 2022.
“Once overtime started, guys didn’t feel sorry for themselves,” said Flyers head coach Yeo. “They got right back on the attack and I felt like we were dangerous every shift out there.”
The Flyers carry a 14-22-8 record on the season and find themselves ranked 26th in the NHL and tied with the New York Islanders for sixth in the Metropolitan Division. Philadelphia looks to build off its win over the Kings in hopes of climbing its way back up the standings.
“It’s extremely important for a number of reasons,” said Yeo. “It allows us to play the game without that big story of what’s out there. We won a game today, and that’s really good, and that’s what we want to accomplish every night we play a game. Now the challenge is to make sure we get better from this one. Let’s make it two now.”
Tom Pepper is an NHL columnist at The Hockey Writers. He lives in Toronto and is a diehard fan of the St. Louis Blues.