The Oilers snapped an 11-game losing streak with their 2-1 win over San Jose on Sunday night. It’s amazing what a win can do for the atmosphere in a locker room. The Oilers players were smiling during morning skate in San Jose, a good sign of where the team is at mentally.
“We feel really good about ourselves,” Oilers centre Leon Draisaitl said. “Obviously, we did lose 11 in a row but, at the same time, we got points in five of our last six games. That’s a good sign and I think we’re definitely going in the right direction. A win against San Jose at home definitely did well.”
Oilers centre Boyd Gordon will not play tonight in San Jose, as he is dealing with a back injury.
“We didn’t even bring Boyd with us,” Head Coach Dallas Eakins said. “His back is as bad as it’s been. He actually woke up today even worse, so that’s not good news for a guy that we rely heavily on.”
Gordon has been excellent in the faceoff dot this season, taking the majority of defensive zone draws, and is a huge piece to the Oilers penalty kill. Matt Hendricks will shift from the wing to centre against the Sharks. Hendricks, who has played centre before in his time with Washington, says that Gordon is difficult to replace but players need to step up.
“You lose a leader in the locker room, you lose a very key element of our team in terms of defensive responsibility. That’s with faceoffs but he’s arguably one of the top penalty killers in the NHL, in my view,” Hendricks said. “We’ve got a lot of big skates, or shoes, to fill with him being out of the lineup but we’ve got guys in here who are capable of raising their game to help fill the void.”
Oilers rookie centre Leon Draisaitl knows the impact of having Gordon out of the lineup.
“It’s definitely a loss for us,” Draisaitl said. “He’s one of the top faceoff men in the whole NHL. It’s definitely a big loss for us. We have to make sure all of the centres we have right now, that we make sure we’re good on draws and help each other out. It’s definitely going to be a little hard with out him but I think we have a good enough team to still get away with two points.”
KLEFBOM IS “EXCELLENT”
21-year-old defenceman Oscar Klefbom has played seven games this year for Edmonton. The 2011 first-round pick has been showing encouraging signs of development this season.
“He’s been excellent. Quietly excellent,” Eakins said. “He’s able to close, he has a great gap. This kid is extremely strong and extremely fit and he can take on the minutes. I thought we did the right thing with him. He came up last year, he played a few games out of necessity, got a little bit of a taste and rather than rush him we were able to put him back down, get his feet under him and he was playing extremely well in the American Hockey League. It was time for him to get another shot and he’s played extremely well so far.”
Klefbom played over 24 minutes on Sunday night against San Jose.
The Oilers announced today that they have recalled Brandon Davidson from Oklahoma City.
“With back-to-back games, we’ll recall Brandon Davidson just to cover us off in case one of our d-men gets hurt,” Eakins said.
Davidson has played 14 games in the AHL, scoring a goal and two assists. The 2010 sixth-round pick has yet to play an NHL game.
QUICK NOTES: In 17 career games against San Jose, Taylor Hall has 17 points (8-9-17). Nail Yakupov snapped a 10-game goalless streak on Sunday against the Sharks. Ben Scrivens starts in net for the Oilers in San Jose.
-- Chris Wescott, edmontonoilers.com
OILERS (7-15-5) at SHARKS (14-11-4)
TV: SNW, CSN-CA
Season series: David Perron scored at 10:26 of the third period as the Edmonton Oilers defeated the San Jose Sharks 2-1 on Sunday. The victory ended the Oilers' 11-game losing streak and they avoided a ninth straight loss at Rexall Place. ForwardNail Yakupov scored for the Oilers and goalie Ben Scrivens made 20 saves.
Oilers team scope: Edmonton has the fewest points in the Western Conference (19). They have a difficult upcoming schedule, with games against the Sharks and New York Rangers, and twice against the Anaheim Ducks. The Oilers defense likely will be thin for the next few games. Defenseman Nikita Nikitin, who has not played since reinjuring his back last Wednesday, was placed on injured reserve Monday.
Sharks team scope: San Jose had their four-game winning streak snapped against the Oilers on Sunday. It was their third game in four nights. "I thought they had an extra step on us in the first period," coach Todd McLellan told the Sharks website. "By the time we got our legs underneath us, we had already wasted 20 minutes." San Jose begins a five-game home stand. Despite having a six-game home stand three weeks ago, San Jose remains one of the most well-traveled teams in the NHL, having played 18 of its 29 games this season away from SAP Center.