The Edmonton Oilers are likely to get a big boost tonight as center Sam Gagner is expected to be available for their match against the Toronto Maple Leafs, according to TSN’s Darren Dreger and Bob McKenzie. This follows a recent report that Gagner is “much closer” to returning.
Edmonton could certainly use all the help it can get. The Oilers have limped out of the gate and things got to the point where forward Jordan Eberle declared Saturday and Sunday’s games “must-wins.” They proceeded to lose both of those contests.
With a 3-8-2 record, they are dead last in the Western Conference and already eight games out of a playoff spot. If they continue this descent for much longer then the hole they’re Oilers digging for themselves might start to look too deep to get out of.
It’s not clear if the Oilers would consider easing Gagner back into the lineup after missing their first 13 games of the season, but either way, they will eventually need to make a decision regarding Mark Arcobello.
The 25-year-old forward has been one of the few pleasant surprises for Edmonton so far this season with 10 assists in 13 games. Arcobello has also won 52.7% of his faceoffs this season.
Gagner is in the first campaign of his three-year, $14.4 million contract. He took a big step forward in 2013 with 14 goals and 38 points in 48 games.
Update 1:21 p.m. ET
Gagner is officially in tonight, as per the Oilers’ Twitter account.
Sometimes an angry Evgeni Malkin means a stray power play or two for his opponents, but it’s usually not the best idea to make him angry.
Giving a player that big and talented extra motivation just seems like a bad idea, right?
Joel Ward experienced that phenomenon on Tuesday, as Malkin responded to a blow from Ward with the goal you can see above.
This continues a red-hot streak for Malkin. Tonight’s goal and assist (and counting?) stretches his scoring streak to four games, each with at least one goal.
Malkin came into Tuesday with 10 points in his last six games as well, so … yeah, no. 71 is feeling it right now.
You know what they say: “What a difference a game makes.”
Even in the 82-game marathon that an NHL regular season is, that can be true.
Ryan Suter admitted he went too far with comments during tough times, yet there he was on Tuesday night, grinning ear-to-ear after scoring the 2-1 goal that ended up being the game-winner.
Heck, people were even joking about things. The healing powers of winning, right?
As of this writing, this win places Minnesota in the last wild card spot, and they’re close to elbowing in on the Chicago Blackhawks (who own a standings point advantage, but have played two more games so far in 2015-16).
Jeremy Roenick labels this 2-1 win as a “team win” for Minnesota, and it showed on that 2-1 goal, as the Wild showed off some picture-perfect passing and a willingness to crash the net for rebounds.
Let’s face it, though; Devan Dubnyk deserves plenty of credit, too.
It won’t be easy in the Central Division, and things may get heated again. Still, this is the sort of win that may just help Minnesota build up some confidence.
When you’re talking about bright sides, most people believe that they boil down to the light at the end of the tunnel for the Philadelphia Flyers.
Sometimes it’s nice to enjoy a little success in the present while waiting for that bright future, though.
The Flyers are providing at least a burst of sunshine lately, as Tuesday’s 4-2 win against the Ottawa Senators gives them … (drum roll) their first three-game winning streak of this season.
Even in recent darker moments, Philly’s been pretty impressive on offense, so Flyers fans are likely relieved to see a relative offensive outburst.
Sure, it wasn’t all rainbows and unicorns – Radko Gudas might have gotten himself into some trouble, for instance – yet this is still a nice sign of life for a team expected to finish in the draft lottery.
If that fails … hey, the future may require shades.
Here’s an understatement: things haven’t gone very well for Dougie Hamilton early in his first season with the Calgary Flames.
(It must feel like the opposite of Tyler Seguin in Dallas for Boston Bruins fans, but feel free to disagree in the comments.)
You could look at Hamilton’s meager offensive stats and break down his disappointing work through a very of “fancy” and traditional metrics …
… Or you could just fire up a projector and show this own-goal on a loop.
Update: Did Hamilton picture all the negative headlines and harness that energy for a greater good? He scored the game-tying goal as Calgary upset Dallas 4-3 via a shootout.