Can the Edmonton Oilers continue to overcome their weaknesses?

In Monday’s edition of Daily face-to-face live, hosts Tyler Yaremchuk and Steven Ellis discussed the Oilers’ historic achievement of having four separate 30-goal scorers. The two men discussed whether the Oilers’ powerful offense would be enough to propel them to the Stanley Cup.

Tyler Yaremchuk: The Edmonton Oilers have won 7 in their last 10 games and they are on a three game winning streak. The Oilers became the first team in over 30 years to have four different 30-goal scorers. When you look at the NHL, there have only been 39 30-goal scorers this season; four of them are on the Oilers with Zach Hyman catching his 30th. It’s also pretty crazy to think that if Evander Kane could have stayed healthy, they could have ended up with five. He has netted 13 goals in 29 games so far this season.

So much love goes to the top end of this team and it’s understandable: This team has led the NHL in goals per game pretty much wire-to-wire this season, and they probably have better top-end skills than anyone in the league. What about everything else? The blue line, the last six and the goalkeeper. This team has overcome its problems lately, Steven. Can they keep doing it in mid-April when things get tighter?

Steven Ellis: They’re going to need good performance on the backend, that’s for sure. Obviously we watched Mattias Ekholm and saw what he was able to do and I’m still a big fan of Evan Bouchard. On paper, this is an Edmonton team that I have a lot more confidence in than I have in recent years. I know goalkeepers have been a hot topic, but in a one-game scenario, I trust Stuart Skinner. At the same time, I know that the goalkeeper can sometimes crumble, especially if Jack Campbell is in net. If any team can outplay their opponents, it’s the Edmonton Oilers.

We have to give huge credit specifically to Nugent-Hopkins. He was someone who had the potential to be special at the junior level and he never quite reached those heights. This year he looks so comfortable and plays a huge role for this team. You don’t get a lot of guys who start to peak nearly a decade after being first overall, but he peaks at the right time. The same goes for Zach Hyman, who went from Junior A to NHL stardom.

One of the biggest knocks on this team was that « they have these two superstar players but nobody else scores ». Now they are attacking and performing well in all positions. It’s their time to shine.

Tyler Yaremchuk: It will be interesting to see. I think Mattias Ekholm really took that blue line to the next level. Stuart Skinner had a tough stretch near the All-Star break, but other than that he was consistent. We’ve been saying for years that all the Oilers need is a .905+ save percentage and they’ll be fine. Skinner seems to give them that. Right now Edmonton, Los Angeles and Vegas are all playing great hockey.

You can watch the full episode here…

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