The Edmonton Oilers have won ten of their last twelve games, are 13-8-0 this season, and sit second place in the North Division. Don’t expect them to just sit back and relax, however. The Oilers will play a desperate Vancouver Canucks team tonight before returning home to face the Toronto Maple Leafs for three straight games.
Yes, it’s true this recent stretch has been awfully kind to the Oilers. Yes, it’s also true that the Oilers still have work to do and can’t be satisfied with so many games remaining on their schedule. Bottom line is, there is still much to be done. Head Coach Dave Tippett is preaching that both in the room and to the media.
“There is lots to do on the to-do list.” Tippett told reporters on Wednesday after practice. “The game last night, if you watched it, I thought we started out a little cautious. Give them credit, they’re a desperate team. I thought we got better as the game went on. The players talked about it after the second period (saying), ‘Let’s make the third period our best of the game and see where it goes.’ And we were able to get out of a deficit. We’d like to start the game tomorrow like we played the third.”
Starts haven’t really been an issue for the Oilers this season. Entering Tuesday night’s game, the Oilers were the NHL’s most dangerous team when it came to first period scoring. They’ve lit the lamp early and often this season, but found themselves down 3-0 in Tuesday night’s game.
Sure, they got the two points, but it isn’t a hole they can continue to dig.
“There are parts of our game that you like and there are parts that we still have to continue to work away at,” Tippett continued. “That’s the way it is, an ongoing process all year. You try to zero in on things that are really important to your group to build consistency in it. That’s what we’re trying to do every day. You’re seeing some of the results. I wouldn’t say we’re 100 percent consistent in what we’re doing but we’re trying hard to get there.”
The Oilers are trying hard, and right now are getting results. They have a season-high four game winning streak going, and have won five straight games away from home. They’ll put both streaks on the line later tonight against the Canucks in the second and final game of this miniseries.