The Oilers play their seventh game of the pre-season on Thursday against the Vancouver Canucks at Rexall Place. The game will be streamed live right here on edmontonoilers.com in the Oilers Broadcast Region (Alberta/Saskatchewan/NWT). Game time is 7:00 p.m. MDT.
EDMONTON, AB – Anton Lander recorded a hat trick, helping lead the Oilers to a 4-0 victory over the visiting Arizona Coyotes and giving them a 6-0-0 record this pre-season.
“I’m real happy about (the hat trick),” said Lander. “But the most important thing is we got the big win here. I think we played solid. We didn’t give up too much and, of course, when I look back at this game I’m going to remember it for sure.”
The Oilers controlled much of the pace and won the puck possession battle in the first period. They outshot the Coyotes 11-6 through the first 20 minutes.
However, they didn’t come out of the opening frame unscathed. Following a collision after the midway point of the first, Jordan Eberle slowly skated to the Oilers bench. The winger then left for the locker room for evaluation. He would not return to the game.
“We’ll have a better indication of where he is tomorrow,” said Oilers Head Coach Todd McLellan. “We’ll let you know then. I could guess tonight, but he won’t practice tomorrow for sure.”
1:25 into the second period, Oilers goaltender Anders Nilsson made a save at his blocker-side post and curled at the side of the net to protect the puck. The puck rolled out in front of him and sat there until an Oilers defender cradled it back underneath the goaltender’s glove. The game stayed scoreless, for the time being.
Coyotes forward Tobias Rieder roofed a breakaway chance over Nilsson midway through the second. Nilsson made a nice blocker save moments later on another chance in front. Mikkel Boedker set up Max Domi all alone in the face of Nilsson and the goalie shut the door. Ben Scrivens replaced Nilsson, who stopped all 11 shots faced, at 9:21 of the middle frame.
McLellan is not only pleased with the play of Nilsson, but of all three of the goaltenders in camp. Cam Talbot, Nilsson and Scrivens have all played competitively between the pipes. The head coach says the organization believes they have three NHL goaltenders on the roster right now.
“There’s pros and cons for each of them. All three of them have played well to this point,” said McLellan.
The Oilers took a 1-0 lead at 16:02 of the second, courtesy of Anton Lander. Nikita Nikitin sent a pass down low for Anton Slepyshev toward the side of the Coyotes net. The winger sent a nifty pass of his own out in from and Lander buried.
Lander scored again, his fourth goal of the pre-season, with 5.3 seconds left in the second. Lander banked the puck off the backside of goaltender Anders Lindback and in. Nikitin and Andrej Sekera recorded the assists on the power play goal.
Lander made it five goals for the pre-season and three for the game, netting the hat trick at 2:11 of the third period on the power play. Lander sniped a shot from the faceoff dot for the 3-0 lead. Slepyshev and Connor McDavid earned the helpers. It took 6:09 for Lander to score three goals.
A criticism of Lander heading into this pre-season was his slow starts in previous camps, but the Oilers forward has been the opposite this year, picking up where he left off last season.
“I just try to keep it simple and get the new system in and try to work hard and help my linemates,” he said. “I think I’ve been a little bit lucky to score those goals, but I’ll take that any day.”
The Oilers continued to pile on the offence at 15:13 of the third period. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins made it 4-0 when he ripped a shot far side from the right wing, assisted by Benoit Pouliot and Mark Fayne.
Scrivens made a big save on John Scott from point-blank range later in the third to keep the shutout bid alive. Scrivens stopped all nine shots he faced, as the Oilers led in that category 32-20.