Connor McDavid scored a goal and two assists while Mikko Koskinen made 33 stops as the Oilers began their five-game trip with a 5-2 win over San Jose
SAN JOSE, CA - A week after being humbled by a 6-3 loss to the San Jose Sharks, the Oilers were given an opportunity at redemption.
An opportunity to clean up the mistakes they made one Tuesday ago, while simultaneously returning to the win column; an opportunity to begin a crucial five-game Western Conference road trip with a good start; and an opportunity to show they could swim with the big fish in a vast Pacific Division sea.
Tuesday night, with opportunities aplenty, the Oilers took the plunge at the Shark Tank, snapping San Jose's six-game winning streak with a 5-2 victory to improve to 14-6-3 on the season.
The Oilers five-game road trip continues Thursday against the Los Angeles Kings. The game can be seen on Sportsnet West & Oilers, and heard on the Oilers Radio Network, including 630 CHED. Puck drop is 8:38 p.m. MT.
"After last week's game, we had a mission coming into today," said Jujhar Khaira, who tallied his third goal in two games by beating keeper Martin Jones with a seeing-eye wrister from the point in the first.
"Top to bottom, everybody played well. We gave an honest effort and it paid off."
Tuesday night's start was a stark difference from seven days ago, with the Oilers diving in with a three-goal first period thanks to tallies from Markus Granlund, Zack Kassian and Khaira.
When the Sharks circled their prey in search of the early comeback, Mikko Koskinen bit back.
The keeper owned the opening 20 with 17 saves and battled every wave of offence that came at him, ending the night with 33 stops to improve to 8-1-2 on the season.
"We had a playoff mentality today," said the netminder. "I think we really showed that we're a good team."
For Head Coach Dave Tippett, it was a strong effort all around. The Oilers received depth scoring from Granlund and Khaira, solid netminding from Koskinen and ended the night 2-for-2 on the penalty kill and 1-for-2 on the power play.
"Everybody contributed," said Tippett. "We lost a defenceman (Matt Benning) early and five guys did a great job back there. Koskinen was real solid in goal and all four of our lines were working and doing their job."
The bench boss could also sense his club's preparedness heading into Tuesday's rematch. That, the coach believed, stemmed from leaders like Kassian. The winger was engaged physically, went hard to the paint and managed to strike for his eighth of the year.
"We were looking for a real response game," said Tippett. "Our team was good this morning, they were dialed in. Zack's a big part of that."
With a goal and two assists, Captain Connor McDavid has 20 points in his last eight outings while Leon Draisaitl extended his point streak to 13 games with a helper.
The only loss on the night was an injury to the aforementioned Benning. He left the game in the second period and did not return.
With Win 1 of the trip in the bag, the Oilers will look to their next opponent, the Los Angeles Kings.
"We talked about the importance of the trip and getting a good start," said Tippett. "It was a good win. Now we got to move onto the next and figure out what we have to do to be at our best that night."