1. CAN'T STOP, WON'T STOP
Leon Draisaitl is on a tear.
The Oilers 20-year-old centre has been nothing short of sensational since being recalled from the American Hockey League’s Bakersfield Condors on October 29. He has 17 points (7-10-17) in 10 games this season.
On Friday night, Draisaitl potted a goal and added two assists to his season totals. He extended his point streak to five games and has four goals and six assists in that span.
In the win over the Devils, Draisaitl became the first Oilers player to record 17 points in his first 10 games of a season since the great Mark Messier (7-10-17) in the 1989-90 season per Elias Sports.
Draisaitl’s goal in the first period on Friday night was set up with an impressive pass by this next guy.
2. TAYLOR TERRIFIC
It is no secret that Taylor Hall is off to a great start to the season. The Oilers top left winger leads the team in scoring at the 20-game mark with 24 points (9-15-24).
His numbers have really picked up since the addition of Draisaitl. Since October 29, Hall has five goals and 11 assists in 10 games and has posted five multi-point outings.
On Friday, Hall had a goal and two assists. His lone goal was an empty-netter, but they all count the same on the stat sheet. He led all Oilers skaters with five shots on goal.
Hall is on a five-game point streak following his three-point night against the Devils. He sits at fourth in NHL scoring.
3. NOT AS POLISHED
The Oilers have been happy with the way they’ve played in their recent losses but have been searching for their reward. On Friday night they got their reward but weren’t too happy with the way they got it, compared to their play in other games of late.
But the club can’t complain too much considering the result.
“The ironic thing about tonight’s game, at least from my perspective, is I didn’t think we were as sharp or polished as we were in a number of the games we lost,” said Oilers Head Coach Todd McLellan. “We weren’t quite at the level we had played at and yet we won the game. When that happens with as few wins as we’ve accomplished over the last little bit, we can’t over-critique it but I think there’s areas we can sharpen up in. You’ve got to look at it fairly every night.”
4. NILSSON DEALS WITH DEVILS
Oilers goaltender Anders Nilsson had to make 19 saves to help his team to victory. It’s not the first time the netminder has stifled the Devils.
He boasts a .952 save percentage all-time against New Jersey. However, McLellan says the Oilers didn’t use his past success against the Devils as reason to give him the nod tonight.
“I don’t want to know about the past,” said the head coach. “I just want to know what we’re dealing with now and I wasn’t aware of that. We’ve just felt that Nilsson has been the guy the last little bit. Again, he played well tonight. Good sign for him and for us.”
5. PROTECTING THE LEAD
The Oilers have played from behind this season more often than not. They had led after the second period just two times this season heading into Friday night’s game.
For a team that had lost three straight games and saw six of their last eight defeats be decided by one goal, gaining and protecting a lead was on the to-do list. They did just that against New Jersey, jumping out to a lead 6:59 into the first period. After scoring to make it a 2-1 game at 7:12 of the second, the Oilers would not relinquish the lead again and then even padded that lead with three goals in the third.
That’s how they want to close out tight games moving forward.