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Edmonton Oilers News & Rumors: McDavid, Russell, Yamamoto, Klefbom, Neal, Chiasson, RNH & Koskinen

The Edmonton Oilers are not playing well, but there are getting points. What news is emerging from the team as the Oilers push for a playoff berth?

In this edition of Edmonton Oilers News & Rumors, I want to help Oilers fans keep up to the latest news emerging from the team as the team readies to face the Winnipeg Jets on Wednesday, March 11.

Item One: Connor McDavid Might Not Play Against the Jets

At the last minute, Connor McDavid wasn’t able to play Monday against the Las Vegas Golden Knights, and he might not even play against the Jets on Wednesday. Prior to the Golden Knights game, McDavid had been on a scoring streak after he came back from his quadriceps injury. In total, he had scored 15 points in his last eight games.

McDavid was a game-time call Monday and he might again be on Wednesday as well. He wasn’t able to practice on Tuesday but he was able to take part in an off-ice workout.

Item Two: Patrick Russell Has Been a Healthy Scratch for Five Games

Everyone needs players like Patrick Russell. However, they don’t need them every game. Now that Oilers’ regulars are returning from injuries, those players who have jumped in to take their place get to rest – perhaps not that they wish to; still, that’s hockey.

Russell has been one of those needed players, who will now become a healthy scratch. For the last five games, Russell has been in the press box as James Neal has returned to the ice. The 27-year-old Russell has scored five assists in 45 games this season.

Item Three: Kailer Yamamoto Scores an Assist Against the Golden Knights

For Kailer Yamamoto, size doesn’t hold him back at all. Against the Golden Knights, he scored an assist but he also had six hits in Monday’s 3-2 overtime loss. Yamamoto’s six hits are his personal best during a single game.

The young winger might be small, and that was apparent last week when he was interviewed after Hockey Night in Canada on Saturday; but, he’s a scorer and has totaled 25 points in 26 games this season.

A point-a-game for a rookie is an amazing pace. In total, the 21-year-old has 41 shots on net, 44 hits, with a plus-18 rating.

Related: Draisaitl First To Reach 100 Points This NHL Season

Item Four: Oscar Klefbom Scores an Assist

In his first game back, Oscar Klefbom (who’s been out with a shoulder injury) was plus-3, had four hits, blocked two shots, and played 22:11 in Saturday’s 4-1 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets. In his second game back after a comeback, the Swedish defenseman continued to prove he’s still a team leader.

After missing nine games with a shoulder injury, the veteran Oilers defenseman will see lots of playing time as an Oilers’ top-four defensemen. He has 34 points in 61 games this season and had an assist on Alex Chiasson’s first-period goal.

Item Five: James Neal Scores Assists Two Games in a Row

James Neal started the season smashingly and he’s still scoring, although an injury has limited his playing time and ability to score with as much regularity as he showed in October. He added an assist to his season’s totals in the 3-2 overtime loss to the Golden Knights.

Recently, Neal’s been skating on the Oilers’ fourth-line role but he’s still picked up assists in four of his last six games. The 32-year-old winger now has 31 points in 54 games with the Oilers.

Item Six: Alex Chiasson’s Scoring Is Rising

The 29-year-old Alex Chiasson had a breakout season playing with McDavid last season; and, although he’s not scoring nearly as much as he has in other roles this season, he still can offer the team secondary scoring. Against the Golden Knights, Chiasson scored the game’s first goal nine minutes into the first period. In his last four games, he’s registered three goals and an assist and for the season now has 11 goals and 24 points in 64 games.

Item Seven: Ryan Nugent-Hopkins Now Has a Six-Game Point Streak

The goal Ryan Nugent-Hopkins scored against the Golden Knights pushed his personal point streak to six games. During those games, he’s tallied four goals and seven assists. RNH has been around the Oilers’ dressing room for what seems like forever, but he’s still only 26 years old and the young forward is still growing in his skill set.

For the season, he’s now scored 61 points (22 goals, 39 assists) in 64 games. He’s been hot lately, not just counting the Oilers but as one of the highest-scoring forwards in the NHL.

Item Eight: Mikko Koskinen Stands Up Once Again to the Barrage

In a recent post, I wrote about Mikko Koskinen’s recent propensity to save shots on goal. Once again, he faced tons of rubber and stood tall. Although he allowed three goals against Vegas, those goals came on 48 shots on net. It was the second-straight game Koskinen had made 45 saves, but this time he wasn’t able to steal a victory.

For the season, the 31-year-old Finnish goalie’s record is now 18-13-3 with a goals-against-average of 2.75 and a .917 save percentage in 38 games.

Related: Edmonton Oilers Mikko Koskinen Stands Tall – Game After Game After Game

What’s Next for the Oilers?

To say it simply, regardless of whom they play, the Oilers’ defense has to start limiting shots on its goalies. Until they do, they’ll have to score a ton of goals to win games and with McDavid out that practice isn’t sustainable over the long haul.

The Oilers play a desperate Winnipeg Jets tonight. Oilers’ fans should hope their goalies are not overworked.

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