April 17, 2024

Edmonton Oilers defeat Anaheim Ducks behind a hat-trick from Evander Kane.

Like Tuesday night against the Detroit Red Wings. The Oilers looked sloppier than a pie-eating contest on a trampoline and watched a 3-1 second period lead dissolve into a 3-3 tie by the intermission.

Head coach Kris Knoblauch called it an entire month’s worth of odd-man rushes crammed into one period.

Then, just like they did during all of those 16 wins, they flicked that third-period switch, scored five goals and never looked back.

“It’s nice that we’ve seen our team is very composed, mature. When things aren’t going well we’re able to get back to the way we should be playing,” said Knoblauch.

“As a coach, sometimes you wish we didn’t need so much composure and were able to have a little more intensity so we didn’t have to rely on ‘OK, it’s not going well, NOW let’s turn it up.’

“We need a better effort all the time. But I like how we handle ourselves when things aren’t going well.”

The Oilers are still looking for better starts (they have just six first-period goals in their last 12 games, two of them coming Tuesday against Detroit) and more consistency over 60 minutes, but when time is winding down and a game is on the line they are vicious and ruthless.

They have 24 third-period goals over those same 12 games. They’re a different team in the final 20.

“If there’s a period that you want to be strong, it’s the third period,” said Knoblauch. “We’re saving our best but also it’s tougher to come from behind if you’re giving up that first goal. And we’ve been able to do it many times, but as the season goes on things are going to get closer checking, it’s going to be harder to score goals, we’re going to not be as fortunate.”

Giving up five power play goals on their last seven penalties is an issue that came out of nowhere. Prior to the bye week Edmonton’s PK was best in the league, having killed 36 of the last 37 penalties.

Now they’re running into all kinds of trouble. The Red Wings went two-for-three on the power play Tuesday, the L.A. Kings went one-for-two before that and the Anaheim Ducks went two-for-two in the game before that.

The Oilers won two of the three games (see third period outbursts) but this is something they need to keep a close eye on.

“There are some details that we’ve been missing,” said Knoblauch. “We needed the rest going into the break, we were kind of limping in. We came back and played pretty well for the most part, but one of the things we took a step back on was the penalty kill.

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