Sam Gagner figured it would take some time for him to get his game back up to speed after missing the season’s first 13 with a broken jaw. Consequently, The Edmonton Oilers centre is not about to start gripping his stick now that he’s gone 10 games without a goal. “I knew there were going to be some chances that wouldn’t go in this year, and it just so happens it’s all been early when I’m trying to get back from injury,” said Gagner, who had A-1 opportunities to end the skid against both the Columbus Blue Jackets and Calgary Flames only to come away with a pair of assists. “But I’m getting used to playing again. I’m feeling more and more comfortable every game.” Power play twistHead coach Dallas Eakins sent out a five-forward power-play unit consisting of Taylor Hall, Jordan Eberle, Nail Yakpuov, David Perron and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins against the Blue Jackets and got a pair of goals in return. Eakins had planned to try out the unit against the Flames, but the opportunity did not present itself. “We like the feel of that power play,” Hall said. “It’s not going to work that well every night, but if we can get shots and get chances and make sure we’re not breaking the puck out six or seven times, we’ll be fine. “With a defenceman, their thought is always to defend the net. As a forward — especially the guys we had out there — you want to go to the other end and take chances. Sometimes, you really have to take a deep breath and skate backward a little bit — something I’m really not used to doing. “As long as we’re in their end, it will be fine, but we have to make sure we’re not giving up the puck easily.” Win, lose or draw The Oilers’ faceoff numbers have dipped to the point where the club is converting at 49.5 per cent — something Eakins wants to rectify. He even went so far as to include a drill at practice on Wednesday that forced the wingers to play an active role. “It’s on everyone to get in and help, and we need to know what we’re doing off the draw,” Gagner said. “You saw how effective we were last night when we had the puck, so the more we can have it, the more successful we can be.” Boyd Gordon is still the strongest producer, winning 57.6 per cent of the 476 draws he’s taken.
Oilers’ Sam Gagner hesitant to panic over scoring slump
Edmonton Journal | Nov 21