There are a few stipulations from Edmonton's dominant win over the Colorado Avalanche. a rookie goaltender, some key injuries, but that didn't stop Colorado from beating other good teams like Winnipeg and Nashville. Hold your heads high Oilers fans, you have reason to be proud today.
You know it's a good game when no one is talking about the fact that Ryan Nugent Hopkins scored 2 goals in that game due to the fact that the performances by both Draisaitl and McDavid were so unbelievable. Both of the Oilers elite forwards hit career highs for points in a game withi 5 from Drai and 6 from Connor, including his second hat-trick in 3 games. Both players are currently on pace for more than 150 points which is simply incredible.
I've spent plenty of time in the last few blogs comparing other teams through 10 game stretches. With a quarter of the season in the bag, it's no much more reasonable to look at these trends to make assumptions on which teams are and are not for real. The Stars area great team to look at because while they started the season flat, they have been one of the best teams in hockey over the last 10 games.
The Stars were a mediocre 2-7-1 through their first 10 games. Nothing seemed to be going right for them. It has been almost a complete shift over their last 10 with a record of 8-1-1. Only the New York Islanders have a better record over that time period. They have managed to hold that record without the player who still leads the team in goals in Roope Hintz. Afternoon games have never been Edmonton's forte and the Stars have been red hot. Edmonton needs to channel that energy they had against the Avalanche and use it today.
Where are all the people who want to trade Nuge at now? Connor McDavid leads the team in goals through the last 5 games with 7, but it is Ryan Nugent Hopkins who is right behind him in second with 6 goals in the last 5 games. RNH is back on pace for a 58 point season which would be his second best career season.
STARS PLAYER PROFILE - JAMIE BENN
Are we witnessing in real time the beginning of the end for Jamie Benn. Benn's point totals have trailed off in the last couple years but he has fallen off a cliff thus far with only a single goal through 20 games. Another fun fact, Benn has scored more goals against the Edmonton Oilers than any other team in his career.
3 KEYS TO VICTORY
1.) Not Your Dad's Backup - Tonight Edmonton faces Khubodin in net instead of Bishop but that isn't any reason to feel extra confident. Khubodin has gone 4-0-1 in his last 5 starts and has been an integral part of the Stars recent run.
2.) Unforced Turnovers - In the next few days or so I'm going to put out a blog about Darnell Nurse. Last game against Colorado, the two goals scored against were directly related to Nurse giving the puck away behind his own blue-line. Nurse is by no means the only culprit and it's something Tippett needs to work with his guys on and get out of their game immediately.
3.) Scoring By Committee - Seguin leads the Stars in points with 13. That would be good for 7th on the Oilers behind McDavid, Draisaitl, Neal, Kassian, Nugent Hopkins, and Klefbom. The Stars have 7 players who have scored at least 4 goals each...Edmonton has 5. It isn't only the top two lines putting up points for Dallas and Edmonton needs to treat every line that steps over the ice as a scoring threat.
FILM OF THE DAY
Apologies for getting away from some films over the past few games. Allow me to reward your patience with an absolute classic. Due to the fact that Edmonton is playing the Stars, of course I am going to select a sci-fi flick (stars...space....get it). As well, because the Stars have so many different players scoring right now they should all been seen as a massive threat, a horde as it were. .. like insects. Oh yes.... it's time for some Starship Troopers.