Benoit Pouliot missed eight games due to injury in early December. Now with him back in the lineup, it’s time to get him going. There have been signs that he’s getting closer to where the Oilers want him to be. He had three goals in two games on December 27 and 29.
Against Arizona on Saturday, Pouliot had five shots on goal and chipped in two points. However, it wasn’t all smiles for Pouliot in that game. A pair of penalties in the first period had Todd McLellan considering scaling back Pouliot’s ice time.
In the end, he sided with continuing to push the big winger out there in hopes he’d turn the afternoon around for himself, which he inevitably did.
“I’m trying to get Benny going,” said McLellan. “I think Benny is a tremendous player. I think he’s really important to our team. I talked to him yesterday and some of the things we talked about, he used tonight. Other than the penalties, I thought he was dangerous. He stripped pucks, he got in on the forecheck, he won body-position battles, he was really engaged, which was good to see. He was engaged on the bench. It was a catch-22. Do I strangle him and take that away or do I try and keep promoting his play and try to get him back in? I went the other way and maybe, hopefully, it was the right thing.”
Pouliot has 17 points (8-9-17) in 31 games this season.