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Four Takeaways from Oilers 5-3 Win Over the Flames

The Edmonton Oilers picked up a much-needed win on Saturday over the Flames. Here are four takeaway from the game.

The Edmonton Oilers finally won a game. After a string of losses and in the face of real doubt the team or the coaching staff would look the same if they walked away having lost another contest, Edmonton picked up two points bringing their record to 9-2 in the Pacific Division, including a combined 4-0 against Calgary and Vancouver. It’s just one win, but there’s a different feeling in the air as the team has plenty of games left, their goaltending finally didn’t let them down and one of their stars showed up to play.

Related: Trade Hypothetical: Can Boston Offer Up Enough to Get Draisaitl from Oilers?

There was a lot to like from an Oilers perspective, even though the team was outshot by Calgary 47-31. Here are four key takeaways from the game.

Mikko Koskinen Deserved First Star Honors

Koskinen was taking a beating in the press and on social media heading into this game but the Oilers had no choice but to play him. With Mike Smith injured and Stuart Skinner coming out of COVID protocol, it was Koskinen or bust and Koskinen was tremendous.

Mikko Koskinen Edmonton Oilers Upper Deck
Mikko Koskinen Edmonton Oilers Upper Deck

He made key saves at key times and he absolutely kept the Oilers in the game so they could come back from a 2-0 lead after the first period. As Ryan Rishaug of TSN wrote, “What a gutsy night from Koskinen. Answers the bell with the weight of the world on his shoulders. Really really impressive stuff. This was a hugely needed win for this team. Shorthanded, under fire, they found a way to win a game.”

Koskinen knows he’s taking the brunt of the criticism in Edmonton. Still, he said after the game, “I feel like the boys are behind me.”

Evan Bouchard Needs to Be on the Power Play

That it took an injury to Tyson Barrie to force Dave Tippet’s hand and put Bouchard on the top unit power play is unfortunate, but it was potentially necessary so Tippett could see just how effective Bouchard is there. The defenseman score two goals in the second period from the point and he looked like a natural working with Leon Draisaitl and Connor McDavid.

Bouchard now has 8 goals on the season. If he keeps this spot on the power play, even after Barrie returns, he could double his goal total before the season ends.

Leon Draisaitl with 4 Points

Draisaitl’s pre-game media on Saturday was much more professional than his run-in with Jim Matheson earlier in the week. That may have had absolutely nothing to do with his mental state heading into the game against Calgary but he showed up with something to prove. He wound up with two goals and two assists and looked much more like the Draisaitl fans know and love.

Despite his four points, he gave all the credit to Koskinen and said in the post-game presser, “he saved the game for us. He was our best player, not even close tonight. It’s great for him, we love him in the dressing room, we love playing for him.” This was absolutely the right response on the ice and the right thing to say after the game.

Some may question Draisaitl’s leadership but Saturday’s game is clear evidence he understands how important his role on the team is in that regard.

Look Out For McDavid

This was now the first game in a row that McDavid hasn’t scored a goal. He had two points on the game and looked dangerous, drawing penalties and helping the team in other ways, but he’s due to break out. When he does, it’s bound to be a big night.

Some Calgary fans are claiming the calls against McDavid were in Edmonton’s favor, but they’re also forgetting that Matthew Tkachuk blatantly tripped McDavid and there wasn’t a call. For every penalty McDavid draws, there’s easily at least one call he doesn’t get.



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