Don’t look now, but the Edmonton Oilers might just be the hottest team in the NHL at the moment.
The Oilers earned their sixth straight victory Monday night, registering a rare road win against the Boston Bruins. The last time they won in Boston? November 1996.
In case you need a little musical context…
(The Buffalo Sabres stopped a similar skid Monday night when they won in regulation in Detroit for the first time since March 1994.)
Though it was Andrej Sekera who scored the overtime winner to claim the W, it was goaltender Cam Talbot‘s remarkable play that kept the Oilers’ win streak alive. He made a team-record 47 saves against the Bruins — including this amazing reactionary pad stop — to bail out the sorely outshot Oilers on many occasions.
“We’re not naïve enough to think we were the better team tonight,” coach Todd McLellan said after the game. “We’ll put it in the bank and get out of here as quick as we can.”
Despite their less-than-perfect performance against the Bruins, the Oilers remain perfect in the month of December. Can they keep it up? We’ll find out Tuesday when they face the New York Rangers for the second time in five days.
Yes, it’s only December. Yes, we’re getting ahead of ourselves. But we’re going to say it anyway: The Oilers are in a playoff spot right now. We’ll just leave this here…
Hoffman still hot
Mike Hoffman‘s hot streak continued Monday night, scoring two goals and adding an assist to lead the Ottawa Senators to a 5-3 win over the Los Angeles Kings. The 26-year-old winger now has a league-leading five multi-goal games this season, and nine on his career.
According to Sportsnet’s stats department, all of those multi-goal games have come against Western Conference teams.
While Hoffman is certainly having the best season of his young career so far with 17 goals and 30 points in 27 games, the year 2015 as a whole has been kind to his point total, too, having registered 31 goals since Jan. 1, 2015.
Hoffman picked the perfect time to step up his game, as he has been riding one-year deals for three straight years now, and will be a restricted free agent at the end of this season.
Two other Senators also had big nights on Monday:
Goalie Craig Anderson earned his first regulation win against the Kings after seven straight losses. While he did let in one gaffe of a goal when the puck took a bad bounce in favour of Tyler Toffoli, he turned that trend around with a strong 33-save performance.
Forward Mark Stone had one assist in the game to reach the 100-point career milestone.
Stamkos still cold
There’s a lot of talk about Steven Stamkos these days: Is his situation a distraction? (Dave Andreychuk says no.) Will the Tampa Bay Lightning make a big move? (Steve Yzerman says we shouldn’t hold our breath.) Is he deleting his Twitter account? (OK, no word on that one.)
It’s tough to think all the chatter isn’t getting to him — especially considering his goal drought of late. Stamkos has now gone nine games without finding the back of the net after being held scoreless again Monday night — this time by rookie goalie Joonas Korpisalo, who made his NHL debut with the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Despite Korpisalo’s strong 27-save performance, the Lightning still came away with the victory, delivering the troubled Blue Jackets their fourth straight loss.
Plenty of change in Pittsburgh
“We were stressing it quite a bit before the game, that they were going to come out with some intensity, they’re going to try to impress their new coach,” T.J. Oshie, who scored twice, said after the game. “I thought we did a good job of matching their intensity and having a good start.”
Though they came out strong, it’s clear there’s still a long way to go.
“We can’t get discouraged,” said Sullivan. “Just more determined.”
Aside from the new face behind the bench, there were plenty of other happenings in Pittsburgh Monday.
Shortly into the first frame, the Penguins took a moment to honour the just-retired Pascal Dupuis with a video tribute.
Later on, as the game continued, news broke that the Penguins had acquired defenceman Trevor Daley from the Chicago Blackhawks in exchange for Rob Scuderi.
The team may also be without Beau Bennett “for a little while” after he was checked hard into the boards by Oshie. The incident occurred late in the first period, and Bennett remained out for the rest of the game.