BY CRAIG MORWOOD – FAN FUEL BLOGGER
A busy past week in Oil Country saw the Edmonton Oilers continue to get excellent performances by Nail Yakupov and Sam Gagner, while goalie Devan Dubnyk has stepped up his game.
1. Nail Yakupov: From Russia with snipes! It’s one thing to have an excessive celebration that got Don Cherry’s blood boiling. But this man has continued to pack the ammunition to back up the passion. Lately it seems like a foregone conclusion that the big Yak will hit the score sheet in every game that he suits up in.
2. The Dub Man cometh: During the first bit of the season, Devan Dubnyk’s goaltending prowess and worth came into question. Obviously he was listening, as he has been on a roll lately. Even though the Oilers went 2-2 this week, one of the losses came in a shootout. Edmonton was outshot in every game, yet Dubnyk kept them in every one. It’s clear that he’s up to the challenge, let’s hope his teammates follow suit.
3. Sam Gagner’s evolution continues: For the first few years of his Oiler career, some viewed Sam Gagner as underachieving; some viewed him as being a by-product of his premature initiation into the NHL. This season has been a turning point for Gagner, as he has started to show more consistency. Although he could still work on his faceoff capabilities, he has really helped solidify Edmonton’s scoring with great puck movement and points of his own. In the four games during the past week, he scored one goal and tallied four helpers as well.
4. Will the bombardment continue?: Edmonton was outshot in all four games last week. Thankfully Dubnyk stepped up, but how long can he continue to succeed, while he’s under constant siege?
5. Faceoff amateurs: It’s true the Oilers continue to improve in many facets of their game, but one area that needs to be addressed quickly is faceoffs. They lost the faceoff matchup in three out of four games last week, only succeeding in the vaunted circle during their 4-1 win against Colorado, where Shawn Horcoff won 10 faceoffs.
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