The Oilers begin a stretch of seven-straight home games tonight against Vancouver. It’s an opportunity for them to shrug off the woes of their recent road trip and start with a clean slate.
“I think in here we are all still feeling pretty good,” Ryan Nugent-Hopkins said. “We know what we can accomplish and we feel like we’re playing some pretty good hockey. We just have some mistakes and we give up a little bit too many opportunities in the high-chance zone. Once we limit those I think we’ll be fine.”
The Oilers hope to get their home fans behind them early against a divisional rival.
“It’s good to be back home,” Taylor Hall said. “It feels good to be back here and we want to get our fans into it as early as we can. I think a really good start would be good for them and us. We need them on this homestand, but they’re not going to start cheering if we’re not playing well and we fully realize that. We’ve got to get our own game on track and I’m sure they’ll follow.”
NUGE IS BACK
The Oilers get a big bump to their lineup against Vancouver with their top centre Ryan Nugent-Hopkins returning from injury.
“I’ve been feeling really good the past few days,” Nugent-Hopkins said. “I’m excited to get back in the lineup here and hopefully get our first win of the season. It’s definitely a game for us, another divisional game, and we start the homestand tonight so it’s going to be a big one for us tonight.”
Nugent-Hopkins has one assist in two games this season. He had missed the previous two games.
SCRIVENS TO START
Oilers goaltender Ben Scrivens gets the nod in net tonight against the Canucks. He has so far posted a 5.22 GAA and .800 save percentage in 161 minutes this season. It’s a slow start compared to the .916 save percentage he posted last year.
Scrivens said after the Oilers last game that he had to be better. His head coach respects that.
“He’s taking ownership, he needs to be better,” Dallas Eakins said. “We like that when our players step up and say that. That being said, we have to be better in front of him.”
Scrivens wanted to get back in the net tonight, and seems eager for a bounce back game against the Canucks.
“Ben is in a good frame of mind,” Eakins said. “He desperately wanted the start. He wanted to get back in there. He knows he is the guy and we have confidence that he will play well.”
Eakins continued, “In my conversation with him he was like, ‘I’m going to win that game.’”
“The kid is a battler. He’s one of those guys, undrafted, has fought his way to this level. He’s earned his spot. That’s what you want out of your players. He’s not cowering from where we’re at right now, nor are any one of our players. That’s the kind of intestinal fortitude that you need.”