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BLOG: Granlund building belief

After going goal-less in his first 17 games of the year, Oilers forward Markus Granlund has struck three times during Edmonton's current road trip

by Paul Gazzola /

SCOTTSDALE, AZ - Markus Granlund is feeling it.

'It' is that special sense of personal belief and confidence that comes from scoring.

After opening the season with no goals in his first 17 outings, the Oilers winger has found the back of the net three times on Edmonton's current five-game road trip.

Granlund got the ball rolling for the Oilers in the first tilt of the trip, depositing a perfect Oscar Klefbom pass against the San Jose Sharks in what finished as a 5-2 victory. 

Since then, the Finn has scored twice more during the Orange & Blue's extended getaway, tucking home a backhander in the club's 4-2 win over Vegas then tallying a clutch equalizer with under 10 minutes to play in a comeback 4-3 shootout W against the Arizona Coyotes.

Video: RAW | Markus Granlund 11.26.19

Thanks to Granlund's contributions, the Oilers have fared well on the current road swing, going 3-1-0 with the final contest coming Wednesday in a clash with the Colorado Avalanche.

"I feel like I'm getting my confidence back right now," Granlund told media following practice at Ice Den Scottsdale.

"I think I've been playing pretty good lately. Those last three games have been big wins for us."

Big wins indeed, as the Oilers sit first in the Pacific Division with a 16-7-3 record and 35 points.

The forward admitted there were times during the season when he was frustrated by the lack of production. During then, he's maintained a steady work ethic that's helped pave the way for his current scoring ways.

"It's just a need to keep working," Granlund, who notched career point No. 100 with his backhand strike on Marc-Andre Fleury in the match with Vegas, said.

"That's the key. You have to skate and have to battle for every puck. It's harder when you're not scoring but right now, it's going pretty good."

Oilers Head Coach Dave Tippett considers Granlund one of many 'glue guys' on the team. Those type of players that go to the dirty areas, can kill penalties and help the squad achieve their goal of winning in ways that aren't always quantified by points.

But of course, the offence always helps.

"A veteran player like that, he understands that the opportunity is earned," Tippett said on Tuesday. "He knows that early on, he wasn't playing as well as he would have liked. He worked on his game, worked on it in practice and when he missed a few games, he worked that much harder. 

"When he got his opportunity, he took advantage of it."

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