What a difference the last few days have made when it comes to the mindset of the Edmonton Oilers. The team’s previously fragile confidence is now brimming thanks to a three-game win streak that began with a critical come from behind win against the Calgary Flames. The Oilers seemed destined to see their winless streak hit six, as they trailed 2-0 entering the final period. However, Edmonton would erupt for four goals in the final frame and have used that win as a springboard to triumphs over the Columbus Blue Jackets and Florida Panthers.
While the quality of opposition during this stretch of success hasn’t exactly been elite, when you are looking to climb out of as big a hole as the Oilers dug, you will gladly take the W’s. One of the major storylines the last three games has been the play of netminder Devan Dubnyk. Up until now, the season had been a very disappointing one for the Oilers No. 1 netminder. The team was expecting him to build off a solid 2012-13 NHL season but that didn’t happen. He struggled early and lost confidence and also got hurt. With Dubnyk and Jason LaBarbera struggling, the team finally took a gamble by signing veteran Ilya Bryzgalov to try and shore things up.
The message was a direct one, Dubnyk hadn’t been the goalie that the team had been counting on, and they needed more. Well, since the Bryzgalov signing, Dubnyk has stepped up his game in a big way. He made some key saves in the game against Calgary that held the fort, until his teammates finally awoke offensively to earn the victory, and was solid against Columbus and Florida. Dubnyk has turned aside 71 of the 74 shots he has faced during the three-game win streak and is making it tough for head coach Dallas Eakins to change up a hot hand.
Obviously Dubnyk is now getting some much-needed support from the team as the Oilers’ offense has finally ignited with 15 goals in their last three games. David Perron and Jordan Eberle have led the charge as they both have four goals during this stretch. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins has added five assists as the Oilers are finally getting most of their expected key contributors on the score sheet for a change.
While the Oilers still have an enormous hill to climb because of their extremely poor start, a win streak that has gotten them to 7-15-2 has brightened the mood considerably. If Dubnyk can continue to be solid between the pipes, and the offense continues to produce, the team should be able to at least continue pushing in the right direction.
Rick LaFitte is an NHL Writer for Rant Sports