While the Edmonton Oilers boast the two leading scorers in the league, it’s the contributions from other players that have given them a boost as they’ve moved through the final quarter of the season.
In Thursday’s 4-1 win over the Dallas Stars, a strong shift by Devin Shore and Derek Ryan put the Stars on their heels, eventually leading to a goal by Warren Foegele.
“I think it comes down to the work to keep plays alive. They win a lot of loose puck races. They also try to play towards structure on offence that we try to preach,” said head coach Jay Woodcroft.
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“It’s not always about the goal that goes in. Sometimes it’s about creating momentum for your team. Sometimes it’s about making the other team defend.”
In the last month, Foegele has put up ten points in 14 games. Ryan has three goals. Mattias Janmark scored twice against Dallas for seven points in the last 14 games. Shore has chipped in with six points in 12 games and has become a regular after being up-and-down to the American Hockey League earlier in the season.
“We’re putting an emphasis of really taking care of our end and spending more time in their end than ours. If you do that, then you let your instincts take over,” said Shore. “If you get down there with some time and space — just because you’re on the fourth line doesn’t mean you can’t make something happen.”
The Oilers visit the Seattle Kraken on Saturday afternoon (630 CHED, Face-off Show at 12:30 p.m., game at 2 p.m.). The Oilers lead the Kraken by one point for third in the Pacific Division. The Kraken have a game in hand.
“They have balance up front, four lines that can score. Their back end has been pretty much the same the entire season so there’s a chemistry between their partners,” said Woodcroft.
“Their record is not a fluke. It’s the result of a real cohesion in the way they want to play the game.”
Zach Hyman practiced on Friday. He’s missed the last two games. Woodcroft said it’s a good sign that Hyman was on the ice but didn’t commit to him being available in Seattle.