Oilers head coach Dallas Eakins was very happy with how the team played on the defensive side of the puck tonight, despite a couple of late goals which pushed the game into overtime.
“I thought we took some baby steps in the right direction defensively. We went in with a fairly detailed plan but with some simple, simple goals we wanted to accomplish and our guys did that,” Eakins said. “And we were rewarded for our defensive play with some odd-man rushes that we were able to convert.”
Eakins also liked that despite the adversity, the team never wavered from their game plan and ultimately it paid off with the OT victory.
“I liked that we stayed in the fight. We were up 3-1 in the third period and then they end up with a goal to tie it. It was a broken play, a fluttering curving puck. It was more bad luck than anything. I liked our third period and the way our guys dug their heels in.
“I thought we played a great third period. This wasn’t a period where we had two massive breakdowns and played on our heels. I highly doubt they had more than three scoring chances in the whole period. I was happy with our period.”
The head coach did let a few thoughts creep into his head as the late scoring play by the Panthers threatened to extend the Oilers five-game winless skid.
“All that was going through my head when they got the third one was ‘geez, what’s it going to take? We’ve played a real solid road game here.’
“After they got their second I thought our guys were good on the bench. I called a time out there and our guys were focused, they were saying all the right things. I liked it. It’s a different thing when you’re up 3-1 or 4-1 and start playing a careless game and you quit playing and we didn’t do that. That’s not what happened here tonight.”