BROOKLYN, NY - The Oilers flew to New York hoping to hit the refresh button on their game.
After a 6-3 victory over New Jersey, Edmonton saw the progress they made slip to the the tune of a 4-0 shutout loss to Detroit. The Oilers open this four-game road trip against the Islanders in Brooklyn.
"The first game on the road is always very important, but certainly now," said Oilers defenceman Oscar Klefbom. "We want to get off to a fresh start. Last game was not the way we wanted to play. Everybody feels like we need to step up and play a very solid game, and hopefully get the win tonight."
Edmonton says they have a lot of areas to improve in, and the Islanders will be a tough team to do that against. They have quite a bit of firepower.
"They're a tough team to play against," said Oilers goaltender Cam Talbot. "They have a lot of good forwards up front and play with a lot of skill and pace. It's never an easy game against these guys."
"They've got a lot of good offence," said Klefbom. "We can't start thinking too much about how they're playing and how many guys they have that can score. We have to just focus on our game because we haven't been playing the way we want to. Compared to last season, we seem a little slow. We want to play a fast game and get back to our roots tonight."
STROME COMES HOME
For the first time as an Oiler, Ryan Strome returns to New York to face an Islanders club he used to play for. Strome was selected fifth overall in the 2011 NHL Draft, and was acquired by Edmonton in a trade this summer.
"Obviously, a lot of mixed feelings," Strome said of playing against the Islanders. "Especially with seeing friends last night, it definitely brings back a lot of good memories. Excited for the game… it will be fun, and I'm looking forward to it."
"It can be an emotional night," said Talbot. "You spend so much time with the guys across the hall and you've built a lot of friendships and stuff like that. I'm sure it will be a fun night for him and bring back a lot of memories as well. It'll be a special night for him, for sure."
HELLO AGAIN, JORDAN
The player the Oilers sent to New York for Strome was Jordan Eberle. The long-time Oilers forward will be a friendly face in a different shade of orange and blue.
"It's a little bit different, but it's always fun to play against those guys," said Klefbom. "They're really good players in the League. It's always more special when you were very close to them. You're almost like a family when you play together with the same guys for a number of years. You get very tight. So to play against Jordan Eberle tonight, it's going to be special."
Eberle has four goals and seven assists in 14 games as an Islander this season.
Tonight's game is the first of two meetings between the two teams this season. Their second and final game against each other will be March 8, in Edmonton.
Oilers team scope:
The Oilers are coming off a five-game homestand that saw the team go 2-3-0. They defeated the Dallas Stars and New Jersey Devils and lost to the Washington Capitals, Pittsburgh Penguins and Detroit Red Wings.
The Red Wings beat the Oilers 4-0 on Sunday. "I don't think we defend quick enough," Oilers Head Coach Todd McLellan said post-game. "Our penalty kill isn't reacting fast enough, our power play doesn't react quick enough... We need to play faster."
On Monday, Edmonton assigned rookie Kailer Yamamoto to the Western Hockey League's Spokane Chiefs. The 22nd-overall selection in the 2017 NHL Draft had three assists in nine games this season. Edmonton also recalled forward Brad Malone from the Bakersfield Condors.
Islanders team scope:
The Isles defeated the Colorado Avalanche 6-4 on Sunday but Islanders Head Coach and former Oilers forward Doug Weight wasn't necessarily satisfied. "We've seemed to get away from our structure in certain zones," he said, per Cory Wright of NewYorkIslanders.com.
The story this season in Brooklyn is scoring. The Isles average 3.79 goals per game, which ranks third in the National Hockey League. They've scored six goals in a game four times this year.
By the Numbers:
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins leads the Oilers in goals with six and shooting percentage at 21.4 percent. Connor McDavid leads the team in points with 16 (5G, 11A) in 13 games.
The Islanders are third in Goals For with 53 and 15 different Islanders players have scored this season. Isles forward Josh Bailey is on a career-high nine-game point streak, which is the longest active streak in the NHL. He's tallied two goals, 14 assists and 16 points in those nine games.
Rookie Islanders forward Mathew Barzal recorded five assists in his club's 6-4 win over Colorado on Sunday. He sits third in rookie scoring with 13 points, and is currently on a five-game point streak.
OILERS -Andrej Sekera (knee) is out; Anton Slepyshev (undisclosed) is day-to-day.
ISLANDERS - Adam Pelech (upper-body) is day-to-day; Shane Prince (lower-body) is out.