The Edmonton Oilers closed a 6-1-1 preseason with a 3-2 win in Vancouver, ending a team without their top two players and top defensive pair, while still managing to win comfortably, building a 3-0 lead that lasted until the last minutes.
“Not as stable as we would have liked, but every time you win it’s good,” said Brendan Perlini, who again scored for Edmonton. “Pre-season, regular season, playoffs… A win is a win. It gives confidence to everyone. Hopefully this can continue in the regular season. “
Let’s face it: in a season where everything the Oilers accomplish in the regular season means next to nothing – where the playoffs are everything for an Oilers club that has flopped in the last two playoffs – Edmonton finished a Nearly perfect preseason with a win over a Canucks lineup that was pretty close to what they’ll get in their first game of the season on Wednesday in Edmonton.
So what did we learn from the last audition, where Edmonton got goals from Kailer Yamamoto, Perlini and a bombshell from Evan Bouchard? Okay, a few things …
Head coach Dave Tippett went with his six fourth-line prospects, featuring a Ryan McLeod line between Tyler Benson and Colton Sceviour, and another Devin Shore unit with wingers Perlini and Kyle Turris.
While Perlini scored one goal, it was Sceviour’s pass that really stood out. He pulled the ladies towards him, then returned a puck through the high lunge to a wide open Perlini, who buried his sixth goal in six preseason games.
It was the kind of pass Leon Draisaitl would have been proud of.
“He was screaming,” Sceviour said with a laugh. “I got this: such a hot guy, you put him on his stick in any way you can. It worked.
The Oilers are light on the right wing, with Josh Archibald (myocarditis) out long-term and Zack Kassian in concussion protocol. This should open the door for Sceviour to get a contract. He was on a power take-off at camp, but earned a spot on Edmonton’s fourth line.
“I’m happy with my performance, but it’s all working,” said the 32-year-old. “My offensive numbers… they’re never going to jump on you. The Oilers don’t need me to play a lot offensively. They can score. But if you play in the bottom six and score, you won’t have much ice time.
The other guy who just played his way on the opening day roster is Perlini. How do you cut a guy who scores six goals in six preseason games?
“I had a good one in Chicago a few years ago,” he recalls. “I’m just trying to take the opportunity. “
Perlini is a day-long fourth-row left winger on this team, behind Zach Hyman, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Warren Foegele. But you have to admit he outclassed each of those guys in the preseason, winning his sixth in six preseason games thanks to a nice assist from Colton Sceviour in the second period.
Not bad, for a former Arizona first-round pick who went through Chicago and Detroit, then ended up in the Swiss league last season.
“Sometimes you have to take a step back to take a step forward,” he said. “I went there, I learned a lot. It was a different experience. You realize how beautiful life was in Canada or the United States. I also come back with great humility and gratitude to be here again.
Around programming: Stuart Skinner played the last 40 minutes between the posts and looked a lot like a goalie who could come from Bakersfield and come back skillfully if need be. He scored two goals on 17 shots, but looked more like an NHL goalie than ever… Bouchard scored on a point strike. He’s just got one of those big shots, like Sheldon Souray. The puck jumps off his stick, stronger than most NHL defensemen. “He looks like a (real) player now,” said head coach Dave Tippett. “He is now a player you can play in any situation. He still has growth to do, but he’s a good player now. He’s played six of the seven preseason games and has been solid throughout. It’s really positive for us. … Yamamoto scored his first goal of the preseason, a nice roof job on a shorthanded pass from Derek Ryan… Duncan Keith and Cody This had their best preseason outing. Without Darnell Nurse and Tyson Barrie, the Keith-This duo played 25 minutes and scored one for and one against. They killed nearly five minutes on penalties. “They will be a real solid pair for us,” Tippett said.