Zach Hyman had a goal and three assists as the Edmonton Oilers downed the Vancouver Canucks 4-2 Saturday night.
“He’s effort personified,” Oilers head coach Jay Woodcroft said when asked about Hyman’s play after the game. “You know what you’re getting every day he gets to the rink, whether it’s a practice or a game. He’s at a career pace. We’re proud of that, that he’s finding his stride in Edmonton. I think he makes us a better team. I used the term to describe him before as easy to play with, but hard to play against. I think that sums him up perfectly. He’s a great teammate. He’s got a big voice in the room and we’re happy he’s on our team. The only thing that was negative was that he had a goal called back tonight, he might lead the league in that.”
The Oilers have won six in a row.
Connor McDavid notched his 40th of the season on a breakaway 1:26 into the game. He took a pass from Hyman and beat Spencer Martin between the legs. McDavid played setup man on the Oilers second goal, sliding a pass to Hyman for a power play goal on a two-on-one.
“I think we’re showing a lot of good depth,” McDavid said. “We’re getting contributions from everybody, whether it’s on the score sheet or playing physical or blocking a shot or being solid defensively. I think we’re getting contributions up and down the lineup. And then a little maturity — we found ourselves in some tight games and finding a way to close them out and that’s a big part of winning.”
Stuart Skinner, making his first start since January 9, came up big early in the second period, stretching out his right pad to deny Lane Pederson on a two-on-one. Halfway through the second, Leon Draisaitl swept in a pass from Hyman to make it 3-0. Andrei Kuzmenko got in behind the Oilers defence and beat Skinner to put the Canucks on the board with 3:14 left in the second.
J.T. Miller fired a shot past a screened Skinner to make it a one-goal game 3:26 into the third. The Oilers briefly celebrated a fourth goal with 5:27 remaining, but the Canucks successfully challenged for goalie interference committed by Hyman. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins would seal it with an empty netter in the final minute.
Hyman has 12 points over the course of a five-game point streak.
“Whenever you come to a new team it’s a little bit difficult in the beginning, obviously,” Hyman said. “I shouldn’t say difficult, but you’re trying to figure out how you fit in. And I got off to really good start last year, but you’re still figuring out how you play with certain players. How certain players play. How your game fits in with the overall team. Obviously, we had a coaching change. A lot of different changes that go into things and I felt like I had a really strong year last year and felt good. Felt really strong in the playoffs and wanted to kind of just take it into this year and, yeah, I feel comfortable here, obviously.”
Skinner made 27 saves to improve to 13-10-2. Nugent-Hopkins had a goal and two helpers.
The Oilers, 27-18-3, will host Columbus on Wednesday (630 CHED, Face-off Show at 6 p.m., game at 7:30 p.m.).