The Edmonton Oilers came up with a huge 6-4 win over the Seattle Kraken at Climate Pledge Arena on Saturday (March 18), overcoming some sloppy play with opportunistic scoring.
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Edmonton never trailed and led for 48:23 of the 60-minute contest, answering with the next goal each time Seattle either scored to tie the score or pull within one.
Evander Kane led the way with his first hat trick of the season, while veteran Oilers forward Zack Hyman tallied to reach 30 goals for the first time in his career, and teammate Connor McDavid added to his league-leading total with goal No. 58 of 2022-23.
Oilers winger Kailer Yamamoto also lit the lamp, as the Washington native scored a goal for all the family and friends that have come out to see him. Leon Draisaitl and Mattias Ekholm each picked up three assists in the victory.
Stuart Skinner stopped 33 of 37 shots fired by Seattle, which could have leapfrogged the Oilers in the Pacific Division standings with a regulation win. Instead, Edmonton takes a three-point lead over Seattle for third place and is four points back of the Los Angeles Kings and Vegas Golden Knights, who are tied for the division lead with 90 points apiece.
All in all, there is a lot to like with the statistics following Edmonton’s 39th win of 2022-23. Here’s a deeper dive into the numbers.
Milestone for Hyman
Hyman has been waiting a long time to score 30 goals. This is the eighth season of his career, and his previous career high was 27 in 2021-22.
He had last tallied on March 1, scoring the game-winner at Rogers Place in Edmonton’s 5-2 defeat of his former team, the Toronto Maple Leafs. Since then, the 30-year-old has been stuck on 29 goals. He went five straight games without scoring, then because of an undisclosed injury, missed Edmonton’s prior two games before Saturday.
Hyman joins Draisaitl, McDavid, and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins as Oilers to reach the 30-goal mark in 2022-23. The last time four Edmonton players scored at least 30 goals in an NHL season was 1989-90, when Jari Kurri, Mark Messier, Craig Simpson and Esa Tikkanen reached that benchmark. That’s notable, given that 1990 was also the last time Edmonton won the Stanley Cup.
Draisaitl and McDavid Go Old School
With a hat trick of helpers, Draisaitl went from 57 to 60 assists this season, to go with his 44 goals. This is the German forward’s second campaign with at least 60 apples, the first coming in 2019-20. McDavid, meanwhile, is up to a league-leading 76 assists after picking up two against the Kraken.
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The last time multiple Oilers players had at least 40 goals and 60 assists in the same season was 1985-86, when Paul Coffey, Wayne Gretzky and Kurri did so. It also happened in 1983-84 (Coffey, Gretzky, Kurri) and 1984-85 (Gretzky, Kurri), both of which were Stanley Cup-winning seasons for the Oilers.
Plenty of Goals When the Oilers Play
Saturday marked the 11th time in Edmonton’s last 18 games that the teams have combined for at least nine goals. The Oilers have scored four or more goals in all but five of those matches. If you’re a betting fan who likes to play the over/under, 15 of the last 20 Oilers games have gone over 6.5.
The victory was also Edmonton’s fifth in 2022-23 when allowing four or more goals, indicative of the Oilers’ potent offence. Can they continue to win with this formula in the postseason, or will the Oilers need to improve their substandard defensive play and perhaps get an elevated level of goaltending as well?
Oilers’ Goalies Are Up and Down
Following Saturday’s tilt, the Oilers have now played 32 games in the 2023 calendar year. In the first 16 games, Oilers goalie Jack Campbell recorded nine wins, while his counterpart Skinner recorded one. In the latter 16 games, Skinner has nine wins and Campbell has none.
Related: Oilers Walking Fine Line With Goalie Duo of Campbell and Skinner
Harkening back to the above question of goaltending, the glass-half-full perspective says that one goalie is always on his game at any time, while the glass-half-empty mindset says that both goalies are never on top of their respective games at the same time.
Oilers on a Roll with Ekholm
Since acquiring Ekholm in a trade with the Nashville Predators on Feb. 28, Edmonton has gone 7-2-0. The veteran blueliner has worked out tremendously for the Oilers, with seven points and an incredible plus-13 rating in nine games with his new team.
But despite their hot streak, the Oilers haven’t much improved their position in the standings. They wake up on Sunday (March 19) in the same place they awoke to on March 1: third from the top in the Pacific Division, four points behind the Kings and Golden Knights.
What the Oilers have done is create some space between themselves and the first team on the outside of the playoff picture, the Calgary Flames. Edmonton’s lead over its provincial rival has increased from five to nine points since the start of March.
The Oilers will look to keep up their winning ways and hopefully chip away at the gap for first place, when they are next in action, Monday (March 20) at Rogers Place against the visiting San Jose Sharks.