Mikko Koskinen makes 35 saves, and both Leon Draisaitl and Alex Chiasson tallied a goal and assist on the power play in a 2-1 victory over the Los Angeles Kings
EDMONTON, AB - The Oilers readied a response.
After Wednesday's defeat to the Ottawa Senators, Head Coach Dave Tippett supercharged the Oilers internal wiring at a Thursday meeting with points of emphasis that needed to be addressed in order to ransack the Los Angeles Kings on Friday.
The Oilers didn't let the opportunity to ascend back to the top of the Pacific Division pass by in a 2-1 victory over the Kings at Rogers Place, even when a late push by the league's worst road outfit at 2-10-1 had them on the defence for the game's final 6:28 after Michael Amadio pulled the visitors back within one.
"With our lineup the way it is now, we're trying to grind out some points," Tippett, alluding to the absence of Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Zack Kassian from the lineup, said of his team's performance.
"We knew we needed a tight, hard-checking game just to get us set in the right direction. We got that tonight."
Goaltender Mikko Koskinen pulled a hard restart in his third-consecutive start - a first for any Oilers puckstopper this season - backstopping the Oilers with 35 saves on 36 shots for his 11th victory of the campaign to improve to 11-3-2.
"We have to learn about that Ottawa game," Koskinen said. "We have to be better now and keep building. Win after win. That's how the good teams are doing it, and now we have seen we have the ability to bounce back. But we need to keep winning."
Friday's result was a collective bounce back, but an even bigger one for the 6-foot-5 Finnish netminder after giving up three goals on 12 shots and being pulled against Ottawa.
"He's a fighter," Alex Chiasson said of Koskinen post-game after adding a goal and assist. "I think a lot of us players have noticed that, and it shows in the net. He's been tremendous all year and it's great to see a guy get a second chance to bounce back and play like he did tonight."
Tippett didn't need to rewire his league-best power-play. A switch goes off when the Oilers head to the man advantage.
"That's what the power play is for, right?" forward Leon Draisaitl, who notched a goal and assist, said. "You want to make them pay on their penalties."
Any one of the five shots they sent the way of Jonathan Quick on their initial power play presented a dangerous opportunity, but it was a Draisaitl's back-door pass for Chiasson that redirected off Drew Doughty's skate and past Quick for the German's 19th goal of the season and the 1-0 advantage.
The Oilers were 13-4-1 coming into their contest with the Kings in games where they notched a power-play tally.
A Kings equalizer was overturned for offside before the two-goal lead and the Oilers league-leading eighth game with multiple power-play goals was secured on their next opportunity when Chiasson dropped to one knee and converted the back-door tap in off the feed from Connor McDavid.
"Obviously today, we score those two early goals and that kind of set the standard a little bit," Draisaitl said. "It was a good night for us on the power play."
Both Draisaitl and Chiasson finished the night with a goal and assist, with McDavid and James neal tallying lone helpers.
Koskinen's bid for a shutout was broken after 33 saves by Amadio in front on the second effort in the third period, leaving the Kings over a quarter of the final frame to ready a response of their own late in the contest.
The Kings' bid to ascend to the throne late was stamped out, as the Oilers held on to win the second game of their four-game homestand and improve to 18-10-3 and 37 points on the year.
Answering back from regrettable defeats this season has become a bit of a regularity for the Oilers in '19-20. Friday's result was another reinforcement, but it's become too much of a regular occurrence to the locker room.
"We've been doing it all year. We've probably been doing it too much," Draisaitl said. "Obviously once in a while, every team has an off night. But it happened a little too often over the last couple of weeks here, so we've got to clean that up.
"It shows that we've got character in here and we know it's not acceptable to play that way. We set high standards for ourself, so we're looking to keep those standards and push forward."
The Oilers host the Buffalo Sabres on Sunday in the third game of a four-game homestand.