Let's take a look at a few stats to start your day feeling warm and fuzzy.
Last year it wasn't until January 2nd that Cam Talbot had 6 wins.
Edmonton's 4th win against the Western Conference last year came on March 16th.
The first 7 games last year Edmonton's Defense had 6 points this year they have 13.
And the most important stat of all the Oilers have gone from last years 3-4-0 start to 6-1 and are currently sitting at the top of the Western Conference. Will it last? Who knows but for once in this past long decade, enjoy it.
Ignore the people who are still beating their chests about the Hall trade, or how Russell is a bottom pairing guy at best. Forget about the return on the Yakupov trade. Would this team be better with those guys in the lineup? Can't say. It's irrelevant because they aren't here. The roster you see is the roster you get and so far it's been great to watch.
A few quick hits.
Puljujarvi has probably bought himself some more NHL time with his performance in Washington. While I have not thought Puljujarvi has looked bad, I've seen some rookie mistakes. Watching him last night he was agile, he wasn't afraid to go into the corners and he has a great release on his shot. Last night he saw some time with McDavid and I wonder if McLellan might try to JP with him on a few more shifts.
Leon Draisaitl started the year strong quickly scoring 6 points but has been quiet since. RNH started out slow until the performance him and Pouliot had yesterday. The good thing is these "slumps" (remember it's game 7) haven't occurred at the same time. Every line has contributed to the scoreboard and if one line is having an off night there are three others to step up.
If I had to pick the three most important players to the Oilers early season success in order I would say Talbot, McDavid, and Russell. I was 100% against the signing of Russell when it happened but I'm happy to say I was proven wrong. Russell leads the team in shot blocking, of this there should be no surprise. However I am amazed at how effective he is at getting the puck out of the zone and making crisp, tape to tape passes. This season could very well hinge on the continued success of the Sekera-Russell pairing.
Mental fortitude is one of those terms that is the reason the game can't be played on paper. As the third period started and Ovechkin scored that quick goal, who else thought "here we go again." A minute later, Maroon scored. Confidence is a huge factor. McLellan himself has said that when the opposition scores he doesn't see his guys hang their heads. Instead, they're talking about how they have to get the next one. Other teams are noticing. Players have said the Oilers are a tougher team to play against; that they aren't the same Oilers of the past few years.
So enjoy it fans. Block out the trolls and pessimists. It's still a long way until April but a strong October could go a long way.
If you don't entirely hate what I write check out our podcast Downtown Hockey. A couple weeks ago we interviewed Jason Gregor from Oilersnation and TSN1260. https://soundcloud.com/downtownhockey/episode-28