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GAME STORY: Flames 5, Oilers 2

Jesse Puljujarvi notches two assists, but the Oilers fall to the Calgary Flames 5-2 in the Battle of Alberta at Rogers Place on Saturday.

by Tony Brar / EdmontonOilers.com

EDMONTON, AB - Round three of the Battle of Alberta goes to the Calgary Flames as Mikael Backlund, Johnny Gaudreau, Sean Monahan and Mark Giordano each recorded a goal and an assist in a 5-2 decision. 

Jesse Puljujarvi recorded his first multi-point night of the season while Mikko Koskinen turned aside 28 shots in the loss. Flames netminder David Rittich made 21 saves for his 18th victory of the season. 

Both teams exchanged a number of chances on the power play as Edmonton had six opportunities - while scoring on one - while Calgary went 2-for-7 on the man advantage. 

"They capitalized on their chances and we didn't," said Leon Draisaitl post-game. "We didn't generate too much, we didn't really create too many chances for ourselves. We hung in there for a while, but you're not going to beat a team like that playing half the game."

"We were too casual. We have to be a lot better." 

With the loss, the Oilers record falls to 23-22-3 on the season, as the team remains two points out of the final Western Conference Wild Card spot.

Video: OILERS TODAY | Post-Game vs CGY 01.19.19

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MORNING SKATE REPORT: Oilers vs. Flames

The Oilers play the first of back-to-back games this weekend at Rogers Place in a key divisional battle

by Tony Brar and Marc Ciampa / EdmontonOilers.com

The Oilers host the Calgary Flames in the first of back-to-back games this weekend at Rogers Place. 

You can watch the game on Sportsnet or CBC and listen on the Oilers Radio Network, including 630 CHED. 

Read the game preview below and check back for regular updates, including line combinations, videos, our Morning Skate Report and more.

Video: OILERS TODAY | Pre-Game vs CGY 01.19.19

 

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BLOG: Hitchcock embracing "teaching moments"

"These are nothing but teaching moments. Getting angry at people who are emotionally disappointed, that's not my job. My job is to bring hope and coach," said Hitchock.

by Tony Brar / EdmontonOilers.com

EDMONTON, AB - With Saturday afternoon's loss to the San Jose Sharks, the Edmonton Oilers have dropped five consecutive games since Dec. 16. 

The players expressed their disappointment following the game, indicating their first opportunity to right the ship would come during Sunday morning's practice. 

For Oilers Head Coach Ken Hitchcock, this tough stretch is also an opportunity to create "teaching moments" with his club. 

"You have to make a decision in this league. You either have to coach or just want to win," said Hitchcock following Sunday's on-ice session. "If you just want to win, you won't last. These are coaching moments. Teaching moments. I like a lot of the things we're doing but I don't like the fact that we're trying to skill our way back into games rather than work our way like we were earlier. That's maturity. We're trying to get this team to grow up quick.

"These are nothing but teaching moments. Getting angry at people who are emotionally disappointed, that's not my job. My job is to bring hope and coach. I learned a long time ago I need to figure out the difference if I want to last long."

With an 18-17-3 record, the Oilers currently sit four points out of the second Wild Card spot in the Western Conference. The Oilers have been outscored 25-12 in their last five games (four games against conference opponents and the other against the league-leading Tampa Bay Lightning). 

"This is a very mature conference. A lot different than the East," said the bench boss. This is not effort based. It's my job to point out the difference between working and trying to play with too much skill to get back into games. When you play with skill, that's too much risk."

Edmonton will have another stiff test on Monday when they host the Western Conference-leading Winnipeg Jets for a New Year's Eve showdown.

Video: OILERS TODAY | Defensive Addition 12.30.18

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GAME STORY: Sharks 7, Oilers 4

Caleb Jones scored his first career NHL goal in a 7-4 defeat to the San Jose Sharks, stretching the Oilers losing streak to five games.

by Tony Brar / EdmontonOilers.com

EDMONTON, AB - Caleb Jones scored his first career NHL goal in a 7-4 defeat to the San Jose Sharks, stretching the Oilers losing streak to five games.

Erik Karlsson picked up one goal and three assists, as the defenceman was one of seven Sharks to record multi-point afternoons. Martin Jones turned aside 22 of 26 shots for his 16th win of the season.

The Sharks directed 40 shots toward goaltender Cam Talbot, as his record falls to 7-11-2 on the season. Edmonton is 1-5-1 in its last seven games and are now 4-6-1 against Pacific Division opponents.

Video: OILERS TODAY | Post-Game vs SJ 12.29.18

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BLOG: Hitchcock seizing opportunity to teach

"I thought we got better at talking on the ice and we got more automatic in our game. Now, we just have to make sure we find the energy to play the game," said Oilers Head Coach Ken Hitchcock.

by Tony Brar / EdmontonOilers.com

EDMONTON, AB - Practice days have become somewhat of an anomaly for Oilers Head Coach Ken Hitchcock since arriving in Edmonton.

Back-to-back sessions have helped the bench boss further mold the team's structure while improving overall communication amongst the players. This has been an opportunity that has been few and far between due to the team's demanding schedule (14 games in 26 days) since Nov. 23.

A few weeks into his tenure, Hitchcock commented on how the team was executing at a "60 percent clip" and that he looked forward to practice days to work on the finer details.

"The last two days have really helped us," said Hitchcock following Friday's practice at Rogers Place. "Some of the drills were the same from back-to-back practices. I thought we got better at talking on the ice and we got more automatic in our game. I think any time we could do what we have done in the last two days is going to do nothing but benefit us.

Now, we just have to make sure we find the energy to play the game."

Added forward Ryan Nugent-Hopkins: "Since he's been here, we really haven't practiced much at all. Just morning skates. The past couple of days have been good for us and him."

Video: OILERS TODAY | Team Progression 12.21.18

Hitchcock has acknowledged the players' progress in mental acuteness and "attention to detail" throughout his tenure so far. Defenceman Adam Larsson - who missed Thursday's practice after taking a shot off the foot in Tuesday's loss against St. Louis - feels the last two days will allow further growth for the team moving forward.

"I think we timed these practice days perfectly," expressed Larsson. "We haven't really seen practice in a long time and really work on the things that (Hitchcock) wants us to be good at. It's been really good.

"Obviously, we aren't happy with the games we've played lately but '60 percent' just means we have a lot to work on. That's what we'll do in practice and get it into our games."

Video: RAW | Ken Hitchcock 2018.12.21

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THROWBACK THURSDAY: 2016 Heritage Classic

Cam Talbot became the third goaltender in NHL history to record a shutout in an outdoor game as the Oilers blanked the Jets 3-0 at Investors Group Field.

by Tony Brar / EdmontonOilers.com

During the Oilers 40th Anniversary Season, EdmontonOilers.com is looking back at the history of the franchise weekly with Throwback Thursdays.

EDMONTON, AB - Oilers 3, Jets 0 | Box Score

It was the second outdoor game in the franchise's history. Thirteen years after Edmonton played in the NHL's first outdoor game in 2003, the Oilers faced the Jets at Investors Group Field, home of the CFL's Winnipeg Blue Bombers.

Some would call it the ideal conditions for a game outdoors. However, temperatures above zero degrees Celsius didn't stop Cam Talbot from rocking a toque on his helmet, just as Jose Theodore first did it back in 2003.

And with over 33,000 fans in attendance, it was number 33 between the pipes who stole the spotlight. 

Talbot turned aside all 31 shots he faced for the 12th shutout of his career, becoming the third goaltender in NHL history to record a shutout "under the lights."

 Video: Heritage Classic Recap on NHL Now

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BLOG: Puljujarvi gaining Hitchcock's trust

"Someone along the line when he was at a very young age taught him proper body positioning and checking. I really trust him," said Oilers Head Coach Ken Hitchcock.

by Tony Brar / EdmontonOilers.com

EDMONTON, AB - It was a critical moment in Sunday's game.

Up 1-0, the Oilers were trying to preserve their lead in the dying minutes. Along with the usual suspects was Jesse Puljujarvi, tasked to hold Calgary's top line off the scoresheet.

When asked about his decision to have the 2016 fourth-overall pick out in the final minute, Oilers Head Coach Ken Hitchcock made it apparent: he trusts his 20-year-old winger.

"I really trust him. I trust his conscience," said Hitchcock. "He's got a tremendous stick and you don't get to be as good on angles and stick positioning and being able to hide your stick like he is unless you're well coached at a young age.

"Someone along the line when he was 13, 14, 15 or 16 years old, at a very young age, taught him proper body positioning and checking."

 Video: RAW | Ken Hitchcock 12.10.18

With two goals on the season, Puljujarvi would likely be the first one to tell you that he can produce at a higher rate. Hitchcock - who has made it clear that he wants to be responsible for Puljujarvi's development - has seen growth in practice.

"When you see him at practice, he scores every time and you're hoping that leads into something in the NHL," explained Hitchcock. "But right now, he's a trusted player for me and we're working really hard with him on killing penalties.

"We're trying to get the swoop out of killing penalties, so if we get that then we've got a real top third-line player to start his career right now and we can build it from there."

 Video: OILERS TODAY | Inching Closer 12.10.18

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GAME STORY: Oilers 2, Golden Knights 1

Connor McDavid scored his 14th of the season while Ryan Spooner's first an Oiler propels Edmonton to a 2-1 victory over the Vegas Golden Knights.

by Tony Brar / EdmontonOilers.com

EDMONTON, AB - Ryan Spooner's first as an Oiler stood as the eventual game-winner as Edmonton closes out a perfect homestand, defeating the Vegas Golden Knights 2-1. 

Mikko Koskinen earned his third straight victory with a 31-save performance, improving his record to 8-2-1 on the season. The Finnish netminder now owns a 5-0-0 record on home ice. 

Connor McDavid was named the first star for the second straight game, as his 14th goal of the season puts him back in the top-five in NHL scoring with 35 points.

Video: OILERS TODAY | Post-Game vs VGK 12.01.18

With three straight victories - and a 4-1-1 record since Ken Hitchcock was named head coach on Nov. 20 - the Oilers improve to 13-11-2 on the season.

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MORNING SKATE REPORT: Oilers vs. Golden Knights

The Oilers look to make it three wins in a row when they face the Vegas Golden Knights on Saturday

by Paul Gazzola and Tony Brar / EdmontonOilers.com

The Oilers look to complete their three-game home stand perfect when they face the Vegas Golden Knights Saturday at Rogers Place.

You can watch the game on CBC and Sportsnet or listen on the Oilers Radio Network, including 630 CHED. 

Read the Preview then check back following gameday avails for the Morning Skate Report.

Video: OILERS TODAY | Pre-Game vs. VGK

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BLOG: Hitchcock pleased with the play of Lucic, Brodziak and Kassian

"There's a lot to look forward to and a lot to be positive about. As a line, we just have to keep going and find a way to get results," said Oilers forward Milan Lucic.

by Tony Brar / EdmontonOilers.com

Milan Lucic, Kyle Brodziak and Zack Kassian were united together in Ken Hitchcock's debut behind the Edmonton bench in San Jose.

Since being formed as the Oilers third line, the team has gone 3-1-1, picking up seven points out of a possible 10. While Brodziak's lone assist against the Sharks is the only point picked up by the trio since playing together, both Hitchcock and Lucic are confident in the line's ability to provide offense.

"I'm getting more from the line than I thought offensively," said Hitchcock. "I knew they were good defensively. I'd like them to finish more given the opportunities they're getting but I'm getting more than I thought offensively."

 Video: RAW | Ken Hitchcock 11.30.18

"It's been good, I think we've had some real quality games the last five games," said Lucic. "The only thing that's been missing is the results. We can't judge our game as a line on goals and assists. We just have to keep going with what we've been doing and with what we've been able to create offensively and the time we spend in the offensive zone. It's just a matter of time before it goes in.

"I know I've been saying that a lot lately but it's a new month starting tomorrow," chuckled the Oilers winger. "There's a lot to look forward to, and a lot to be positive about. As a line, we just have to keep going and find a way to get results."

 Video: RAW | Milan Lucic 11.30.18

The trio often provides Hitchcock with a dependable 13-14 minutes per night. While the newly appointed Head Coach has been pleased with the play from all three players, he's been most surprised by the play of Kassian.

"I didn't know him as a player that much before and I'm pleasantly surprised at how accomplished he is at a number of things that are coach related," said Hitchcock. "I'm pleasantly surprised at his efficiency on the ice.

"It's a good sign."

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