1) Evander Kane
Was there ever going to be any doubt about who the number one stud was for the Oilers on the night? It clearly had to be Evander Kane, who became the second player to score a natural hat trick versus the Kraken this season, following on from Zach Hyman last weekend.
In some ways, Kane almost dragging the Oilers to a win epitomises his importance of late. While the likes of Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl were struggling, he took it upon himself to lead this team, with 12 points in his past eight games.
In the process, the 2009 fourth overall draft pick is now looking like the player who impressed significantly during his first season in Edmonton. In fact, he played so well during the second half of the 2021-22 season, that the Oilers rewarded him with a four-year, $20.5 million contract extension.
Further speaking to how much Kane has thrived in Edmonton, Wednesday night’s hat trick was his sixth with the Oilers including playoffs. When you consider he has nine hat tricks for his career but has only played three of his 15 NHL seasons in Alberta, it is extremely telling.
There were less than seven minutes remaining in the third period, when the Vancouver native took over. The Oilers were trailing 3-1 at the time, before he scored on a tip-in at the 13:28 mark.
This started off a sequence of events, which saw Kane score three goals in less than 10 minutes, to turn a seemingly inevitable loss into an unlikely and exhilarating victory. He tied the game with just 46 seconds remaining in the third, then dominated during the extra period and was subsequently rewarded with the game-winner.
It’s the type of win which can galvanise a team, and Kane is one of the main reasons why they are in this position. Speaking to the media postgame, he said:
"“We talked about it in the second intermission, how we had to create some energy and flip the switch. I thought we did a pretty good job. … I think we did a good job of not being deterred and not having a letdown going into the third period after that second period, and pushing to get a victory.”"
Evan Bouchard and Draisaitl also deserve credit with three and two assists respectively, while McDavid scored a goal for the second consecutive game. Now, we will see if the Oilers can keep the momentum rolling as they head out east, for an important four-game road trip.