EDMONTON: two nights before, with less than two seconds in a 0-0 match, Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin were left alone in the Edmonton Oilers slot. I had scorn written everywhere, a long night of struggle, and not a point to prove it. I had seen Benn Seguin, it was an open network timekeeper.
But, on the other hand, Benn shot and Mikko Koskinen gave Edmonton a vital salvation and the chance to win a game in overtime. Two points, instead of points.
On Thursday, at 3:54 in the third period of a 2-2 match, Koskinen left his first chopper as an Oiler, diverting a centered step towards his own cage. But the Oilers were saved when they faced the challenge outside the home.
Then, in the third, Alex Iafallo, barely in his own area, shot a pair at the track width and seats near Oilers' blue line. It was the kind of delay penalty you'll see once every two months, but whatever it is: Edmonton scored in the power game and won a match 3-2.
Two points, instead of points.
The breaks, right?
"It seems that it was a goal game in the last four or five here," said Drake Caggiula, basically adding the new Ken Hitchcock training in five games played (3-1-1). "We have to learn to win these games, and I think we're starting to do it right away. We're playing a good hockey ticket right now and we're playing the right track for the most part and we're getting results very good ".
This old cliché about "playing the game in the right way"? Defined, it is reduced to playing an honest game, not to cheat on the possibilities, to bring the lumps when it is necessary and to avoid shortcuts.
Do all these things and, still, the rewards are not always points in the classification. But teams that "play the right way" end up getting their good participation at good breaks, in general more. And those breaks, when capitalized, become more tangible, in the form of goals, wins and points.
For this hockey writer, it has almost been converted into a barometer that indicates if the team you are looking at is playing well. A bad team will have a good break from time to time, and vice versa. But a great image, on the big show, the defective teams are those who leave the track complaining: "We bake", while the good ones jump with a laugh and a gesture of complicity.
And the two points, of course.
"Since I've been here, we have achieved a much better destination in a couple of games, and we have not achieved it," said Hitchcock, who scored four in five games since his arrival. "We have seen a break today. We left a getaway at the end (Tyler Toffoli). We must be more comfortable in these games. You have to get points from nearby games … and we do not want to be the first to break.
"We did not lose much in the third period, but those who resigned were pain."
Look, we get the reputation of Hitchcock as a defensive coach. It's as much as he said since he came to the stage: when a player has the can, it's "I time," which means it can be creative. But when the other team has the album "It's not negotiable. We play my way," says Hitchcock.
Some will say it is very heavy. We would say that it's how you win, especially with a list of oligarchs that gets very strong after the first three forwards.
"It is pushing us to be our best," said Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, after another two-point night. "It's difficult to reach a quarter of the season paths and try to change things, but it has done a good job of reminding us of the things we already know, but also to boost and honor us."
Hitchcock entrusted the second line to Nugent-Hopkins, and the center delivered 24 points in 25 games. And during the last two games, Hitchcock and Trainer Assistant Trent Yawney have played defense defender Oscar Klefbom 28:30 against Dallas and other 25:14 against the Kings.
Klefbom responded with consecutive goals to win the game. He has five points in his last three games.
"When you play calmly, you can play many minutes," said Hitchcock. "I think 25 (minutes) is the floor. You'll see it playing more than that."
Klefbom has been on the other end of many of these games close to their 280 games in an Oilers uniform. But Thursday against Los Angeles, his club played a little better than good, and they won.
In a strange form of hockey, this is a good sign.
"These victories can feel better than when you win 5-1 and play very well. It gives us a lot of confidence," said Klefbom. "We can play much better, but that's still two points and it's very good."