Now it’s time for the Edmonton Oilers to take their winning ways on the road.
The Oilers (39-25-5, 83 points) have won nine straight home games. However, they kick off a three-game swing through California, beginning with Sunday’s road clash at Anaheim (28-30-12, 68 points), looking to snap a five-game road losing skid (0-3-2).
Further, the Oilers are well aware that a repeat of Friday’s 6-5 overtime win over the St. Louis Blues is not a recipe for success, despite it being their third straight win.
The Oilers staked to a 4-1 first-period lead and were up 5-3 heading into the third period but needed Connor McDavid’s 12th career overtime winner to claim victory.
“We say never critique a win, but we critique every game, so the result doesn’t matter,” said McDavid, who boasts a 12-game point streak in which he’s collected 10 goals and 13 assists. “I’m sure we’ll go back and we’ll figure out what might’ve happened there, but ultimately, we found a way to get a win.”
What happened is an issue long associated with the Oilers — substandard defensive play. Plus, a Blues team that was embarrassed about their slow start took advantage.
“St. Louis, who has won a cup, they’re a veteran team, they play hard, and they play that playoff-style hockey,” said forward Zach Hyman. “Those are games that are good for us, and games that we have to find ways to win.”
Amid their struggles of holding leads, the Oilers are rolling offensively. Hyman has collected six points in a five-game streak (3-3-6) and Leon Draisaitl is on an 11-game run with 20 points (11-9-20).
The Ducks, who will likely need to run the table over their final dozen games and get plenty of help to make the playoffs, return home after a memorable 5-0 road victory over the Arizona Coyotes on Friday.
On top of snapping an 11-game winless skid (0-8-3), Ducks rookie forward Trevor Zegras scored a lacrosse-style goal for the second time this season, his 17th tally of the campaign.
Instead of elation, the Ducks left the arena worried for leading scorer Troy Terry, who was left bloodied after Arizona’s Jay Beagle — who has three inches and 25 pounds on Anaheim’s rising star — delivered a beating during a scrum. Terry required several stitches and had a swollen face around his left eye.
“It was cowardly,” Ducks coach Dallas Eakins said. “(Terry) was cut wide open and basically defenseless. Not a good sight. There was a scrum at the front of the net and usually that just turns into a scrum, and our 31-goal scorer is there. I’ve coached Troy Terry for four years now, and I’ve never seen him in any kind of a fight. A guy who’s got two goals is pounding away on him.”
There was no word Saturday whether Terry would be in action to face the Oilers.
Zegras was incensed about what transpired, with many believing Beagle was sending a message about his goal embarrassing the last-place Coyotes. Beagle’s cross-check on Zegras brought Terry into the scrum in an attempt to protect the rookie.
“One of the best players, in my opinion, in the whole league comes in to help me,” Zegras said. “I get that (Beagle) is going to maybe punch him once, but the fact that he’s down and not engaged in the fight and you’re going to hit him three more times. I think it’s embarrassing. I think he (Beagle) should be embarrassed.”
–Field Level Media