A breakdown of the Oilers game in Seattle, as they finally return to winning ways with a much-needed and impressive 4-1 victory over the Kraken.
Entering Saturday night’s game tied for the fewest points in the NHL, the Edmonton Oilers were undoubtedly in an extremely desperate situation. On a four-game losing streak and having equalled their worst ever start to a season through 12 games, surely the only way was up?
Fortunately for everyone concerned, the answer proved to be a resounding ‘Yes!’, as the Oilers finally broke out of their funk. Playing a Kraken team which has similarly started poorly compared to expectations — albeit not as poorly — they managed to (finally) win their third game of the season.
Whether the 4-1 win serves as a springboard to get the season back on track remains to be seen, but for one night at least, the fans had reason to cheer. Here are three takeaways from the game in Seattle, which we’re glad to advise will (mostly) be more positive than usual:
1) First period goal flurry sets the tone
No matter how poor the Oilers have played, they’ve also been extremely unlucky so far this season. Consider that they entered the Kraken game averaging the most shots on goal per game, but also tied just 27th in scoring.
This had been best exemplified during the four-game losing streak prior to the trip to Seattle. Despite 49 shots on goal versus Dallas, 35 against Nashville, 43 in Vancouver and 41 versus San Jose, the Oilers only scored a combined nine goals.
Surely, the team’s luck had to change soon? Well, that was exactly the case at Climate Pledge Arena on Saturday night.
Per the same as recent games, the Oilers came out firing in the first period, dominating the Kraken 17-5 in shots on goal. This time around though, they actually managed to take advantage of their opportunities.
It took nearly half the opening 20 minutes to get going, but when the Oilers did, the floodgates opened. Zach Hyman started the scoring spree at the 9:56 mark and by the end of the first period, the visitors had forged ahead to a four-goal lead from which the Kraken could not recover.
Hyman understandably got the majority of the offensive headlines, with his first hat-trick of the season and just the second natural first period hat-trick in franchise history. (Surprise, surprise, Wayne Gretzky has the other one.) However, Dylan Holloway also deserves credit, with both his best game and first goal of the 2023-24 campaign.
Admittedly there’s still plenty to be concerned about on offence. Most pressing of all, Connor McDavid has now not scored a goal for eight games, while Leon Draisaitl has just one in his last nine.
However, for one game at least, the Oilers were able to overcome this lack of production from their two superstars. In fact, as per Sportsnet, Saturday was just the eighth time the team has won since 2015 when McDavid and Draisaitl have been held without a point.