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BLOG: Lessons learned from emotional highs

by Chris Wescott / Edmonton Oilers

When the Oilers beat the Penguins in Pittsburgh on Saturday, everything was awesome. The Oilers knocked off a good team in a hostile environment and set their sights on turning a corner and finishing a long road trip at .500.

Unfortunately, they couldn’t build off the win and dropped a disappointing 3-0 loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs on Monday.

Last night, the Oilers beat a surging Boston Bruins team 3-2 in a shootout. The win was a quality one, but the club wants to rein in their excitement given past experience with coming off a win. This morning, the Oilers had a much different attitude than the one they had following the Pittsburgh win. Happy, but not satisfied with the results.

“That’s one of the keys we talk about, is we can’t be on a roller coaster continuously and we can’t play to the level of the opponent that we’re playing against,” said Oilers winger Matt Hendricks. “Last night was a great game for us and it was a good thing we weren’t as high as I’ve seen us in other wins. We beat Pittsburgh that night and were a pretty high team, feeling pretty good about ourselves. We learned a bit of a lesson. We came in with more of a working demeanour and were detailed in our meetings and we’re looking forward to tomorrow.”

Oilers Head Coach Todd McLellan says the Oilers haven’t put themselves in a position where they can be over-confident or high on themselves after a win. The challenge is for Edmonton to tune out outside opinion and focus on building on their games.

“We know the task ahead of us on a nightly basis is very tough. We have the ability and capability to handle it,” said McLellan. “I felt the mood with the team yesterday before the game was one of, maybe not so much in the locker room but around the locker room, despair and disaster. We have to watch that we don’t let that come into the room. We are going to keep doing the things that we do, try to get better every day and the outside world is going to have their opinion. They’re certainly entitled to it, and almost 100 percent of the time it’s accurate, but we have to keep marching on and doing what we’re doing. Our physical and emotional state has to be taken care of so we’re focused on playing.”

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