3 Takeaways as Oilers Bounce Back with 6-3 Win Over Predators

After a night in which they were outworked and out-skilled in nearly every facet in a 2-1 loss to the Minnesota Wild, the Edmonton Oilers bounced back against the Nashville Predators with a 6-3 win. While there were some areas that could use some cleaning up, it is tough to complain about the effort and result, which improved the Oilers’ record to 17-13-0.

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The win also gave the Oilers a two-point cushion over the Wild for the top wild card position in the Western Conference, and has them just one point shy of the Los Angeles Kings for third in the Pacific Division. Suffice it to say, it was a big two points on Tuesday night.

Oilers Overcome Slow Start

Stop me if you’ve heard this before, but the Oilers gave up the first goal of the game and did so early. Cody Glass was able to send a shot through traffic that beat Jack Campbell along the ice on the first shot he faced, causing many to believe it could be a long night for the struggling netminder. Instead, he was able to settle down, and his team responded with three goals before the end of the first to find themselves up by two.

Whatever the reasoning is behind the Oilers’ slow starts, they need to figure it out. While they showed great resiliency in this one, playing from behind is not a recipe for success, especially when it comes to playing some of the league’s top teams. Continuing to do so will eventually come back to bite them, especially once the playoffs come around. Head coach Jay Woodcroft and his staff need to figure out what is causing this and make the adjustments necessary to fix it moving forward (from ‘David Staples: Can the Edmonton Oilers not give up the first goal of the game?’, Edmonton Journal, 11/18/22).

Hat-Trick for Hyman

Prior to a goal on Monday night (Dec. 12) against the Wild, Zach Hyman had found himself in a nine-game goal drought. It wasn’t all bad, of course, as he had netted nine assists over that span, but nonetheless getting off the schneid had to have felt nice for the 30-year-old. As it turns out, it was just the beginning of him heating up.

Zach Hyman Edmonton Oilers
Zach Hyman, Edmonton Oilers (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

Hyman was all over the ice on Tuesday and was easily the best player on either team. By the time the final horn sounded, he had managed three goals and an assist in the valiant effort. He is now up to 13 goals and 33 points in what is shaping up to be a career year. Though it’s just the second season of a seven-year deal, he has been an excellent addition to the Oilers so far.

Oilers’ Penalty Kill Comes Up Clutch

So far in this 2022-23 season, the Oilers’ penalty kill has been downright awful, ranking among the worst teams in the league. With how bad it has been, had you heard beforehand that they would take five penalties on the night, you may very well have expected the Oilers to lose the game. Instead, their kill was perfect on the night.

Yes, you read that correctly. The Oilers were able to kill off five of five, which will hopefully motivate that group and get them going moving forward. Worth noting, of course, that the Predators’ power play ranks bottom five in the league, but nonetheless, the penalty kill unit was exceptional in this one and they deserve plenty of credit.

Looking Ahead for the Oilers

As mentioned, the Oilers are now just one point shy of surpassing the Kings for third in the Pacific, while also having two games in hand. They will have a chance to build on their solid stretch of play as of late in a game on Thursday night versus the St. Louis Blues, before taking on an Anaheim Ducks team on Saturday that has just one regulation win all season. Both are winnable games, and ones that the Oilers need to capitalize on if they hope to close the gap between themselves and the Pacific Division-leading Vegas Golden Knights.

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