The Oilers came back to win their fourth pre-season game, beating the Winnipeg Jets 4-3 in OT on Friday thanks to an impressive third period comeback. Here are five observations and storylines from the victory on the road.
1. FIGHTING ‘TIL THE END
The Oilers, under Head Coach Todd McLellan, have demonstrated a few times this pre-season their ability to stay in gems and fight through adversity even when trailing. Tonight, the Oilers battled back from down 3-0 to not only tie the game, but win in overtime.
“It’s important that we push the game further and further, that we don’t fold our hand,” said McLellan. “We talked about that. We never know what can happen. We were watching them in that situation. I thought a lot of players handled it well. It’s something that we need to learn to do game in and game out.”
So far, the Oilers have shown to be mentally tough when things aren’t going their way in these pre-season games. The result? A perfect 4-0-0 record thus far.
2. KLINKHAMMER’S NIGHT
Rob Klinkhammer was one of the Oilers who stuck out the most in the win. Early in the game, on the penalty kill, he skillfully stripped Mark Scheifele off the puck in the offensive zone. He pursued well on the PK, and was rewarded later in the game for his strong, steady play.
Klinkhammer potted the game-tying goal, shorthanded, at 16:33 of the third. He buried the rebound from a Lauri Korpikoski shot and made it 3-3, which was good enough to send the game to OT.
His goal and assist will stick out the most on the stat sheet, but he looked good throughout the game.
“I liked Rob’s game,” said McLellan. “He was effective with penalty killing, he was effective on the forecheck, he made good, smart and simple plays. He used his body, drove the net, didn’t over-extend shifts. A lot of things coaches appreciate, the little things, he did.”
3. SCRIVENS SOLID
Ben Scrivens got the start in net tonight for the Oilers, giving himself a chance to make an impression on the coaching staff. His steady demeanour in the third helped the Oilers secure the come-from-behind victory.
Scrivens finished with 31 saves in the win, including 11 in the third.
“I thought Ben was fine,” said McLellan. “When it’s 3-0 and a couple scramble goals go in, you have a tendency to sag. I thought in the third period he made some saves that allowed us to claw back in. I think he did a very good job of keeping it at three.”
4. THE POWER PLAY
The Oilers can say they won the special teams battle tonight, simply because their power-play goal and shorthanded tally were the difference in their rally and victory.
The Oilers went six straight man advantages without scoring, however, before Anton Lander made the seventh the charm at 12:51 of the third. Lander’s goal sparked the comeback, but it was Klinkhammer’s shorthanded score that sent the game to overtime.
The Oilers penalty kill continues to play well. They shut out the Jets on the man advantage (0-for-5).
5. GAME MANAGEMENT
Coach McLellan was displeased with certain parts of the Oilers game management in Wednesday night’s win over the Jets. As the Oilers got their second victory over Winnipeg on Friday night, there were some improvements, according to the bench boss.
“It was a lot better,” said McLellan. “There were moments when we made good decisions. The (Taylor Hall slashing) penalty at the end, that wasn’t great game management, but we’ll learn those lessons as we get older as a team and mature.”