Fresh Oil From The Rigs Help Edmonton Oilers Beat The Avs 4-1


First off, congratulations to Brandon Davidson for scoring his first NHL goal tonight. He is a great story and I am very intrigued to see how the rest of his career as an Oiler pans out. Kurt usually takes care of the post-game threads, but he is off at some place a lot nicer than where I am so that leaves me to take care of tonight’s game:

1. 40 seconds. That’s how long the line of Hall, Lander, Miller, Davidson and Aulie had the Avalanche 3rd line hemmed into their zone all before Lander had a sausy feed to Davidson for a great goal. The whole quintet did a great job of playing keep away from the Avs, all while getting three shots on net. They had multiple shifts of length over the course of the game. Great work.

2. The Oilers top line of Pouliot, Nugent-Hopkins and Eberle were held off the scoreboard, but that is okay. The trio still had their chances and even though they didn’t light the lamp tonight, they have contributed in big ways as of late. That allowed the Oilers 2nd and 3rd line to step into a larger role tonight where they each were able to contribute in big ways.

3. With that being said, boy did they ever contribute. Lander had himself another stellar night going winning 70% of his face-offs and also getting two assists. He also had the most shots (7) in the game. He has finally settled into a role he is comfortable in, and is no longer stressing about making mistakes on the ice. In turn, this has to be due to him playing under Todd Nelson in Edmonton, rather than Dallas Eakins.

4. The new call ups have all done well in their short, late season audition. Craig MacTavish was a man of his word, as after the trade deadline he said wanted to see Davidson and Miller up inOilers threads. He got his wish, and they’ve excelled. In Miller’s only six games inthe NHL, all with Edmonton on his recent call-up, he has scored six assists. Three of which came tonight. Davidson has done well in his own sense. The former 6th round pick in 2010 has just surpassed the 150 pro games mark (AHL/NHL), and he beat testicular cancer for heaven’s sake. I have more to say about Davidson, but we’ll save that for another article.

5. Nikitin had a shot early in the second that almost blew Semyon Varlamov’s glove hand off. Although he has struggled, the subsequent back and shoulder injuries he suffered are difficult for any player to come back from; I’ve yet to make up my mind about him.Nikitin is a smart player who knows where to go and where to be, but his lack of speed sometimes makes him look silly.

6. I am a Justin Schultz supporter. It’s apparent that Schultz has stepped up his game under Nelson, and whatever you may say or believe I feel that he can be an effective player for the Edmonton Oilers. Just look at the goal he scored tonight. He jumped that puck like crazy, put on the jets and did a great job of getting the proper body position to score that goal. Schultz is more suited to be a 3/4 defenceman rather than playing the high, sheltered minutes he does now.

7. Leadership, leadership, leadership. Keith Aulie and Derek Roy each showed great examples of what this team has been lacking. 6:00 into the 2nd, Jan Hejda laid a big hit on Taylor Hall that upended the winger. Seconds later, Aulie steps up laying a hit that almost sent John Mitchell into the bench. Late in the same period, Nick Holden took a liberty on Yakupov in front of the Oilers bench giving him a nice face-wash mid play. So what does Derek Roy do, he skates on by and gives Holden the gears. The camaraderie grows every day.

8. Richard Bachman earned that win tonight after facing 30 shots from the Avalanche. They threw everything his way, and he was often left scrambling around or recovering from being in an awkward position. His work ethic in practice over the last few weeks have been fantastic and it just goes to show in his play on the ice.

9. 15-19-7. That’s the record the Oilers have under Todd Nelson. Prorated over a whole season, that would leave the Oilers with 74 points on the season which would be the most the Oilers have had since the 2011-2012 season. This team is still a ways away from being a legitimate contender, but – and I know it’s early – if this group were to return with a few shiny new toys we could be in a position to be at least contending for a playoff spot sooner rather than later.