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BLOG: Slepyshev's growth

Anton Slepyshev has been an important player for the Oilers in this playoff run

by Marc Ciampa /

Through six games, Anton Slepyshev has only one goal in this postseason. It was a key goal; ultimately the series winner against the San Jose Sharks in Game 6 of Round 1. However, what's really made everyone take notice has been the play of himself and his linemates David Desharnais and Benoit Pouliot in helping the Oilers keep or steal momentum with the fourth line on the ice. 

In particular last game, Slepyshev had two partial breakaways and stirred the pot with a goaltender interference call on John Gibson after bowling into the Ducks netminder. 

"He's looking comfortable. He's making some good plays and taking advantage of 10 minutes a night. That line has found a little bit of chemistry and it's been productive throughout the playoffs. We need that to continue," noted Oilers head coach Todd McLellan. 

The Edmonton bench boss went on to talk about Slepyshev's fit within the team environment over the past two seasons where he's spent time in both the NHL and AHL. 

"Based on my experience, every European player is a little bit different. Their own personal traits and personalities affect how they fit in. Language is a big thing. He knows more than he lets on," he said, going on to talk about Slepyshev's persistence and resiliency as he bounced up and down between Edmonton and Bakersfield (AHL) this season. 

"His work ethic and ability to stay with it," he continued. "Teammates notice it and are more accepting of it when he fights through it. He's very well received in the locker room. Teams appreciate what he does and how he does it."

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