Tyler Pitlick is back on his feet. The Edmonton Oilers winger skated with the team Tuesday for the first time since injuring his knee. Pitlick, 22, took part in the morning skate prior to the encounter against the Phoenix Coyotes. He’s hoping to be cleared to play by the weekend. “I’ve been skating for a week and-a-half, but this is my first time with the team,” Pitlick said. “It’s good, I’m feeling better. (Tuesday) was the first time I really felt comfortable. It was good to get out there and do some passing and not just thinking about my knee.” The Oilers second pick in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft, Pitlick was called up from the Oklahoma City Barons in late October. He played in three games before injuring his knee. The Minneapolis, Minn., product had scored his first NHL goal in the Oilers first encounter against the Coyotes in Arizona, before having to leave moments later due to his injury. “I went from highest of highs, scoring my first NHL goal, to a torn ACL.” Pitlick said. “It was tough mentally to take that. But those things happen, you just have to stick with it. We still have lots of season left and hopefully I can come back and start off where I left off.” Having been unable to work out during the first few days of the injury, Pitlick tried his best to keep in shape during his rehab process. Skating with the team should help speed up the process. “I think I still have a little bit of work to do,” he said. “I’m in pretty good shape for what I’ve done since I’ve been hurt. I spent a lot of time sitting around in the first few weeks and then I’ve been getting it back up in the last couple. I think I have a little bit more work to do, but I’m feeling good.” Finding the power The Oilers tinkered with their power play prior to Tuesday’s game with Coyotes and were rewarded for it. While the team didn’t get a power-play opportunity in the first period, they finally connected on their fourth late in the second. David Perron took a pass from Hemsky and beat Mike Smith to cut the Coyotes lead to 3-2. Coming into the game, the Oilers had scored once on their previous 19 opportunities. Something different Under Dave Tippett, the Coyotes have traditionally been a stingy team. However, this season the Coyotes have been struggling keeping the puck out of their own net. They’re making up for it, though, by scoring a lot of goals of their own. “There are some areas of our game that we’re not going to survive if we give up as many chances and if we give up as many shots as we have been,” Tippett said prior to the contest. “The shots can be deceiving at times, but our team hasn’t played as well defensively as we’re going to need to play going into a real, hard playoff push in the spring. Those are things that we continue to address and those are areas that we’re going to have to improve.” Heading into Tuesday’s contest, the Coyotes had conceded 84 goals through their first 26 games. Only the Oilers and Calgary Flames had given up more. They’ve also scored 85, the fifth-most in the Western Conference.
Tyler Pitlick back skating with Edmonton Oilers
Edmonton Sun | Dec 4