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