EDMONTON, AB - In the case of the Oilers, desperate times calls for desperate hockey.
On Friday, Oilers Head Coach Ken Hitchcock spoke to his team's defeat to the Devils and his players' ability to heighten intensity when playing afraid - a feeling for the Oilers bench boss that wasn't prominent enough on Wednesday.
"I think just having some urgency is really important," Hitchcock said. "At this point of the year there should never be a game where you're not urgent, but for whatever reason that happened and it's in the past now. You have to try to find a way to move forward. There should be no shortage of urgency coming into this game."
Video: RAW | Ken Hitchcock 03.15.19
The Oilers are on the road to take on the Arizona Coyotes this Saturday, searching of another vital two points in the playoff race while sitting eight points back of the final wild card spot with 12 games remaining.
"I think everyone knows at this point what the game means, and I think as a player you control your own game and make sure you're playing with passion and urgency," centre Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, slated for deployment on a line with Jujhar Khaira and Sam Gagner on Saturday, said. "I think every guy in our room does that."
Gaining ground despite a positive 6-3-1 record in their past 10 games has proven difficult, but the Oilers maintain the mindset of one game at a time.
"Every game is an emotional swing," Gagner added. "Every game is really important going down the stretch here, but all you can really control is focusing on that next one, taking care of the day at hand, and just going from there."
Video: RAW | Sam Gagner 03.15.19
A three-game road trip for the Oilers against Arizona, Vegas, and St. Louis spells out a crucial segment of the schedule against three outfits above them in the standings.
"All I look at is it's three opponents ahead of us in the standings, one is stumbling a little bit, and we have to take advantage of it," Hitchcock said.
"We know what we got to do. There's little segments and we know we need to win two of three on the road here. I look at it like that. We win two or three on the road, then we got to look at winning a lot at home. But we've got to get back home and still be in the race."