In this edition of Edmonton Oilers News & Rumors, I’ll take a look at the events of Sunday’s game when the Oilers beat the Ottawa Senators by a score of 8-5. One highlight of the game was that Edmonton native Stuart Skinner was in net for his NHL debut and won the game.
The second highlight of the night included the scoring prowess of both Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl. Both had huge games – McDavid with a five-point game and Draisaitl topping that with a six-point game. They are now leading the NHL in total points this season.
Item One: Stuart Skinner Won in His First NHL Game in Goal
Stuart Skinner picked up a win in his first NHL start tending the team to that 8-5 victory over Ottawa. It might not have been the most spectacular NHL debut for a goalie, but Skinner hung in there and took advantage of a huge scoring night by his own team. At the end of the night, he had given up five goals on 38 shots to finish the night with a save percentage of .868.
But, there are two key points to this story. First, the 22-year-old goalie won the game. Second, he gave starting goalie Mikko Koskinen a rest. Koskinen had started every other game of the Oilers’ season thus far.
Skinner’s an interesting story. He’s an Edmonton native who is the youngest of nine children. Last season he played in 41 games during the 2019-20 season for the AHL’s Bakersfield Condors and had a record of 16-17-6 a goals-against-average of 3.31 and a save percentage of 0.892.
Item Two: Connor McDavid Records a Five-Point Night
Sunday’s 8-5 win over the Senators was like old-time Oilers’ hockey in the days of Wayne Gretzky, Jari Kurri, and company. When the ice chips had melted, McDavid had one goal and four assists. It was his highest single-game point total of this young season.
His five-point game also sends his point-scoring streak to seven games. Even more impressive is that he’s scored two or more points for five games in a row. His season’s totals now are eight goals and 14 assists (for a total of 22 points). He leads the NHL in both points and goals.
McDavid was chosen as the NHL’s second star for the week ending Jan. 31. The Vancouver Canucks’ goalie Thatcher Demko was chosen NHL’s first star. McDavid scored 12 points (four goals and eight assists in four games) during the week. As noted above, he ended his week by collecting his sixth career five-point game.
Item Three: Leon Draisaitl Scores Six Assists Without a Shot on Net
Leon Draisaitl had a huge six-point night during Sunday’s 8-5 win over the Senators. However, interestingly he didn’t register a shot on net. Draisaitl’s six assists made him the fourth Oilers’ player in history to have six or more assists in one game. Draisaitl’s 21 points – through the first 11 games of the season – places him second in the league in points behind teammate McDavid who leads the NHL with 22 points. Draisaitl leads the league with 15 assists.
Draisaitl’s six-point game extended his point-scoring streak to seven games; and, similar to his teammate McDavid, he’s registered multiple points during his past five games. Once again, he’s a part of Hart Trophy talk. He was named the NHL’s third star for the week ending Jan. 31.
Item Four: McDavid and Draisaitl Lead Oilers to Their Second Straight Win
In the video below, Gene Principe and Mark Spector discuss the Oilers 8-5 victory over the Senators and the nights that Skinner, McDavid, and Draisaitl had.
Item Five: Ryan Nugent-Hopkins Scores Three Points in Sunday’s Game
Any other night, it would have been an amazing game. However, in the shadow of his teammates’ six-point and five-point games, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins’ (RNH is his nickname) power-play goal and two assists seem lost in the soundtrack of cheering. That said, RNH now has five goals and five assists (for 10 points) this season.
Item Six: James Neal Scores His First Two Goals of the Season
Remember last season when James Neat got off to such an amazing start. He wasn’t able to play at the beginning of this season, but he came through on Sunday when he scored one goal on the power play and one at even strength for his first two-goal game of the season. Neal returned to the Oilers’ lineup about a week ago after being listed on the COVID-19 protocol.
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