The Edmonton Oilers were victorious in Kris Knoblauch’s debut as their head coach, scoring a 4-1 win over the New York Islanders Monday night at Rogers Place.
“It feel amazing to get that first win,” Knoblauch said post-game. “I liked how we stayed patient and stayed the course–didn’t take unnecessary risks. There’s definitely things we need to tighten up, but I think the most important thing is we didn’t get desperate when things weren’t going well.”
The Oilers were sloppy early and fell behind after 40 seconds on a goal by Matthew Barzal. Leon Draisaitl was strong in the first period and put the Oilers on the board with a shot from the right wing with 5:43 on the clock.
“It’s been a crazy couple of days,” Oilers captain Connor McDavid said. “It was everything we’ve been missing. Special teams were good–we’ve definitely missed that. Third period offence–we’ve been missing that–and I thought Stu (Skinner) played really well. He was there when we needed him.”
The second period was scoreless.
The Oilers took control with two power play goals 1:58 apart in the third. Zach Hyman swatted in a pass from Connor McDavid. Later, Draisaitl sent McDavid in on a partial break down the left side. His shot squeaked through Ilya Sorokin to end an eight-game goalless drought.
“It’s nice to see one go in,” McDavid said. “Offensive guys like to score goals and I’m no different.”
Evander Kane added a shorthanded empty netter.
Draisaitl finished with a goal and three assists. Stuart Skinner was solid in goal with 32 saves.
“When you have a guy playing like that who’s backing you up, it gives you a chance,” Hyman said of Skinner’s performance Monday night.
It’s the first time this season the Oilers have won two in a row. It’s also their first win at Rogers Place after going 0-4-1 in their first five tries.
Dylan Holloway left the game in the second period with a lower body injury.
The Oilers, 4-9-1, will host Seattle on Wednesday (630 CHED, Face-off Show at 5 p.m., game at 6:30 p.m.).
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