Not the ideal way to win your third straight game, but that’s what matters in the end. Down 3-1 late in the third period, and then Evander Kane becomes a hero with the hat-trick. Before this comeback win against the Kraken, remember that Edmonton had a decisive 4-1 win against them on the road last weekend. The Oilers are usually on the losing side of that endeavor, and they flipped the switch during this current little winning streak that they have going on. Stuart Skinner is continuing to rebound with solid play in net compared to the first month of the season. The Oilers defense is still making costly mistakes that sometimes lead to goals and/or scoring chances. This should be eradicated a little bit eventually with the roster still getting used to the coaching change. I will say this, though. Whether or not he scored, seeing Cody Ceci go on a breakaway was not on my 2023/2024 season bingo card. Even though this team is second in goals by defensemen, it’s bold to have these kinds of blue-liners attacking more, just so long as they don’t get caught. For all the understandable backlash that Darnell Nurse’s contract gets, praise is also in order where it’s deserved. About a minute and a half left in the game, Seattle had a chance to seal it with an empty net goal. But Nurse made a diving effort to prevent it, thus setting up the tying goal moments later.
When the NHL and Sportsnet YouTube channels uploaded the highlights of the game, it would’ve been nice to see that play. It didn’t count on the scoresheet, but it made Nurse an unsung hero in the moment. One really interesting move by the coaching staff was separating Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl in Overtime. It’s better to have those two driving their own lines in regulation, but having them on the ice together in the extra five minutes was always the usual exception. If this idea leads to a couple more wins, I kind of like it. I think McDavid, Draisait, and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins should each be a center to their own wingers in OT. It never hurts to balance out the offense around your key forwards.
The Oilers start a four-game road trip in the Sunshine State. They need to build on the positive things they’ve had in the last three games. They look like an emotionally different group than before the coaching change happened. Changes in vibes are normal when this happens, but they can’t just let it be a phase. They lost a lot of winnable points to start the year, and they need to keep the focus if they’re going to gain ground in the standings. The keys to the game are…
The Jonas Brother: No, he’s not one of the actual Jonas Brothers who were cheering for the Oilers at Rogers Place on Wednesday night. He is Jonas Johansson, the 28-year-old Swedish goaltender who started the season taking the net for the injured Andrei Vasilevsky. His SV% and GAA don’t show it, but he must be doing something right if the Lightning still find themselves in a Playoff spot without the league’s best goalie.
NOW What Can Brown Do For You?: I made Connor Brown’s return a key to the last game because I thought that was going to be his return… Oops. Oilers media sources have been saying that he will make his return for this game and on the top line with McDavid and Nugent-Hopkins. As I said in the previous article, he’s needed time to get back to speed since his injury from last season. Maybe being reunited with his and the other Connor’s junior coach is the spark he needs.
Not Another Broken Kane: It’s been a full year around this time since Evander Kane had his wrist cut against this same opponent, and that was also on the road. Of course, it was a freak accident. But I address this because lately, Kane has finally been playing like the version of himself that we saw before that injury happened. We expect him to show the swagger along with putting up points. But he should pick his spots. He shouldn’t put himself in a situation where such an ugly injury might happen again.