3 Takeaways From Oilers’ Scoring Outburst in Win Over Ducks

The Edmonton Oilers exploded onto the scoresheet with an entire team effort, coming back from down 2-0 early to win at home vs. the Anaheim Ducks 7-3. They are now a perfect 4-0-0 under coach Jay Woodcroft and have outscored their opponents 18-6. Lines are rolling more smoothly, and more players are getting some more playing time to keep them engaged and in the game, while also taking the pressure and allowing rest for the top players.

The Oilers move to 13-3-0 in the Pacific Division and have jumped into the third spot past all three of the California teams they just swept in makeup games. Even if they are mediocre against the rest of the league, which the Oilers are, divisional play is the most important, and we’ve seen it with this team. There were a lot of good things that happened in the game, but still a little bit of concern.

Oilers’ Offence Finally Broke Through in a Big Way

The Oilers scored seven goals in a game for the second time this season, and they are tied in the league lead for scoring five or more goals in a game this season 20 times. The Florida Panthers have as many, while they have accomplished this four more times than the next closest, the Calgary Flames.

By the way, the lines ran, they were pretty much playing with three lines and rolling them, getting contributions from each of them. Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl stayed atop the scoring race, with two assists from McDavid and two goals from Draisaitl. Both have 68 points and now lead Jonathan Huberdeau by two.

Leon Draisaitl Edmonton Oilers
Leon Draisaitl, Edmonton Oilers (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

Seven Oilers’ players recorded two points and every forward, but Devin Shore got on the scoresheet. Only two defencemen got on the scoresheet, but they were definitely a factor at the other end, and all seven of their ice times ended between 12:20 and 20:12.

Oilers’ Third Line was Great Again

Two of the three members of the third line were stars of the game, and the line combined for two goals and three assists. Both of the goals scored by the line were at even strength again. This makes five goals at five on five for this line in four games.

Related: Oilers’ Woodcroft Getting Most Out of Newly Formed Third Line

Once again, this line got bodies in front of the net, and this time there was no doubt that Derek Ryan deflected the shot from the point, resulting in a goal.

Ryan said in postgame, “I think we’re just working hard, playing together, supporting each other. I think we’ve been good on the forecheck getting pucks back. I think that’s huge, especially this time of year…you have to score ugly goals, and I think we’ve done a little bit of that…gets the confidence going.”

Especially for players like Ryan and Warren Foegele, it’s important for them to get their confidence up since the third line is as important as any, and they both have struggled greatly in the scoring department at times this season. Both players are also signed on with the Oilers for next season, and it would be beneficial if that was just two less spots to worry about upgrading.

With Ryan Nugent-Hopkins centering that line and the scoring spread out at even strength, the way the third line plays will continue to create chances and make opponents cough up pucks in the offensive zone.

Oilers’ Special Teams Still a Concern

Both the Oilers’ penalty kill and power play continue to struggle, even though the five-on-five play has been amazing and carried them to victories. The penalty kills almost cost the Oilers the game early when they allowed two goals in the first period to go up 2-0. Let’s hope this is just an anomaly because the penalty kill was actually very good the past two games, killing off all nine in back-to-back games versus the San Jose Sharks and Los Angeles Kings.

Luckily, the Oilers got one back on the power play themselves, scoring for the first time on the man advantage since their win over the New York Islanders in Woodcroft’s first game as head coach on a goal from Evander Kane. The top power-play unit continues to struggle, and even though they may still be the most dangerous unit in the NHL, they have had a hard time keeping the puck in the zone and putting the puck in the net.

Evander Kane Edmonton Oilers
Evander Kane, Edmonton Oilers (Photo by David Kirouac/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

The second unit got a good amount of time, even starting a power play in the third. It is important for everyone to feel like they are a part of the game and be rewarded, especially when they’ve played well. There was no harm in starting the second unit as well, seeing as they scored the goal earlier in the game and nothing was going for the first unit. The entire second unit got over two minutes of power-play time.

The Oilers’ next game comes Saturday against the Winnipeg Jets, who have been average all year. It’s not a divisional game, but every game is a big one down the stretch. The Oilers will look to extend their win streak under Woodcroft to five.


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