Edmonton Oilers: Bottom-Six, Russell Shine in Win Over Hurricanes

zThe Edmonton Oilers had to make a statement after Sunday’s performance and did just that against Carolina Tuesday. With an impressive 3-2 win, the Oilers put the past behind them, and rebounded nicely.

It was a workman’s type performance where the third and fourth line scored most of the goals and Cam Talbot won the game in the final minutes by shutting the door.

Three Highs:

1. Tyler Pitlick and Anton Slepyshev

Finally, Pitlick is starting to look like an NHL player. He has toiled in the minors and missed significant time with injuries over his career, but he’s finally pulling it together.

He scored another goal in the win and was flying all over the ice. Adding physicality and a strong two-way push, Pitlick is doing everything he should be in order to stay in the line-up.

Slepyshev scored his first NHL goal with a strong shot coming down his off wing. Not to mention, he did very strong work in the corners all night.

The Russian winger hasn’t been much of scoring threat since coming over to North America, but if he keeps it up, he could earn more time with the Oilers.

2. Kris Russell

Many fans that are part of the fancy stat crowd are still trying to put Russell in a bad light, but he was the best defenceman last night. He played a calm game, blocked shots and played the second most minutes of any Oiler in the win.

His blocked shots were him covering for teammate’s mistakes. After Mark Fayne left with an injury, the Oilers were forced to rotate their five defencemen, and Russell stepped up and took on extra minutes.One that came to mind was on a 2 on 1 where Russell took the pass away and then knocked the puck off Jeff Skinner stick before he could shoot.o

One play that came to mind was on a 2-on-1, where Russell took the pass away and then knocked the puck off Jeff Skinner’s stick before he could shoot.

3. Cam Talbot

Mandatory Credit: Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports

Talbot needed to come out and have a solid game against the Hurricanes after a rough night against Buffalo. He and his wife welcomed twins Wednesday, but before having two kids, he picked up two points.performance against Buffalo and that’s exactly what he did. He was solid through the first two  periods, then the wheels almost came off at the start of the third after allowing two goals in less than a minute. But he shut the door the rest of the way.

He made a brilliant save robbing Jeff Skinner with 2 seconds left to preserve the win. Talbot is going to have to shoulder the bulk of the workload for the rest of the season so the Oilers need him to play more games like last night if they want a shot at the playoffs.

The young netminder was solid through the first two periods, but the wheels almost came off at the start of the third. He surrendered two goals in less than a minute but bounced back well. rest of the way. He made a brilliant save robbing Jeff Skinner with 2 seconds left to preserve the win. Talbot is going to have to shoulder the bulk of the workload for the rest of the season so the Oilers need him to play more games like last night if they want a shot at the playoffs.

He made a brilliant save robbing Skinner with two seconds left to preserve the win. Talbot is going to have to shoulder the bulk of the workload for the rest of the season so the Oilers need him to play more games like last night if they want a shot at the playoffs.

Three Lows:

1. Mark Fayne

Mandatory Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

That could possibly be the last time we see Fayne in an Oilers uniform. He finally got into his first game of the season, had an assist and then left in the first period with an injury. No one could really pinpoint where the injury happened, but head coach Todd McLellan said they would know more soon.

Fayne has been leapfrogged by a lot of younger players this year so he needed a strong showing last night and injury almost certainly will derail any momentum he had at cracking the lineup on a regular basis.

Fayne has been leapfrogged by a lot of younger players this year, so he needed a strong showing last night. However, any kind of momentum he had at cracking the lineup on a regular basis seems to be gone now.

2. The Power Play

Mandatory Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

I understand the appeal of having four forwards and one defenceman on the power-play but whatever the Oilers are trying to do with it is not working. On Tuesday, the PP unit gave up a couple of odd-man rushes against them after turning the puck over in the offensive zone. Talbot had to make some tough saves while the team was on the power play not exactly what you want when on a man advantage. I know Jay Woodcroft is credited with improving the San Jose Sharks power play but he needs to try something different here because it has not looked good yet this season.

On Tuesday, the PP unit gave up a couple of odd-man rushes against them after turning the puck over in the offensive zone. Talbot had to make some tough saves while the team was on the man advantage. While Jay Woodcroft is credited with improving the San Jose Sharks power-play, but he needs to try something different here because it has not looked good yet this season.

3. The Top Lines

While the top lines weren’t terrible, they seemed unable to get any offense going. There were times where each line looked dangerous in the offensive zone, but very few times where they had sustained pressure.

Luckily for them, the bottom-six chipped in with goals which ended up being the difference. I expect this to just be a bump in the road.

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The Oilers ‘next game is Thursday and they welcome back Nail Yakupov and the St. Louis Blues for the first time since the trade. I expect this to be a very tough test for the Oilers and will be a measuring stick as to where this team is in its development.

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