The Edmonton Oilers came into Monday night’s game versus the Arizona Coyotes having picked up points in their previous six games and were able to make it seven as they were able to squeak out a 5-4 victory. It was by no means their finest effort, but helped them get back into the win column after losing to the Vegas Golden Knights in overtime two nights prior. Here are the three main takeaways from Monday’s outing at Mullett Arena.
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Campbell With a Solid Outing
Jack Campbell has taken plenty of criticism for his play this season, and rightfully so. He simply has not lived up to the five-year, $25 million deal he was handed by Oilers general manager Ken Holland in the offseason. In fact, he has found himself in a backup role as of late behind rookie Stuart Skinner. That said, he had a solid performance on Monday night.
While his four goals against on 33 shots don’t look pretty, they don’t tell the tale of how good he truly was. He made plenty of great saves in this one, particularly in the first and third periods. If not for some of those massive saves, the Oilers lose two in a row. Perhaps this performance allows Jay Woodcroft to give Campbell a few more starts before the end of the regular season.
Power Play Surge Continues
While the Oilers are a scary team in a number of ways, their bread and butter is their power play. Their play on the man advantage has been incredible for a number of years now, and their success rate of 31.6 percent leads the NHL by a wide margin. Going up against a team in the Coyotes with the 22nd-ranked penalty kill, they were able to continue producing.
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Zach Hyman put home the Oilers’ first power play marker of the night just seconds into the man advantage on a great passing play between Connor McDavid and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. Then, in the third with things knotted up at four, Nugent-Hopkins got his team’s second power play marker which also served as the game winner.
Oilers’ Slow Starts Continue
It seems I continue to write this point when doing takeaways for the Oilers, but it is simply impossible to ignore. Yet again in this one, they found themselves trailing early, as Matias Maccelli scored less than four minutes into the outing to give the Coyotes a 1-0 lead. Hyman was able to answer on the power play less than a minute later to get things squared at one apiece, but nonetheless, it was an early goal given up by a team who seems to continually have this same issue.
During the regular season, and particularly against inferior opponents such as the Coyotes, this may not be a major issue for the Oilers. The firepower they possess throughout their lineup is good enough to dig them out of the holes they put themselves in. However, once the playoffs start and teams are able to prepare more for their opponent, these comebacks won’t come as easy as they have seemed throughout the season.
Looking Ahead for the Oilers
Thanks to the two points picked up in this one, the Oilers now sit three points shy of the Los Angeles Kings for second in the Pacific Division and five points shy of the Vegas Golden Knights for first. Clawing their way back into first place won’t be easy, but if they wish to do so they will need to take two points from the Golden Knights on Tuesday night at the AT&T Center. Once that wraps up, they will take on the other team they are chasing in the Kings on Thursday at Rogers Place before finishing their week off with a Saturday night tilt against the Anaheim Ducks.